Discussion: The Draft, Dominican Age Investigations

There's been a lot made of this year's draft bonuses and the age investigations of international players such as Miguel Angel Sano over the past few months. Is it time for a change? Ed Price from Fanhouse.com and Charles S. Farrell from the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy Informer offer their takes on both of these controversial issues:

  • As Price points out, Chipper Jones signed as the #1 overall pick in 1990 for a bonus of $275K. Not only that, but the bonus was agreed upon the night prior to the actual draft. Nineteen years later, Stephen Strasburg signed for a deal that could be worth over $15MM more than Chipper's. Jones says that he feels you should earn your money at the big league level, and his former teammate, Jeff Francoeur wants something to be done to stop escalating bonuses. This raises the question, should MLB move towards an NBA-style slotting system, where bonuses are locked in depending on where a player is drafted? Price uses Rick Porcello as an example – a pitcher thought to be a top-10 pick who fell to the Tigers at 27th, because of reports that he was seeking a $7MM deal out of high school. MLB Executive VP of Labor Relations and Human Resources says they've worked to prevent slips like Porcello's in the future; Scott Boras, not surprisingly, agrees. Craig Counsell, a member of the executive board of the players' union says that changing the draft goes against what they've been working for – the free market. What do readers think?
  • Another issue in MLB is the questionable ages of some International prospects. Farrell suggests implementing a fingerprinting system in the Dominican Republic for when children reach fifth grade, the last mandatory grade of education in the Dominican. Farrell says this idea was suggested to him by a baseball executive, who pointed out that Venezualan children are fingerprinted when applying for their national ID cards. Farrell explains that baseball brings in roughly $350MM annually in the Dominican Republic, and that the country cannot continue to tarnish the reputation of its players through age investigations. He says that while fingerprinting is not a flawless plan, it's a step in the right direction – protecting the industry of baseball in the Dominican Republic.

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