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Archive for June 7th, 2011

The Rule IV major league baseball draft used to be an afterthought, so it’s nice to see the process gaining more notoriety. One reason for the increased level of interest has been the proliferation of amateur baseball coverage. Once the exclusive domain of outlets like Baseball America, the field now includes a variety of respected observes, including Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein and countless others who specialize in keeping tabs on draft day prospects.

Before becoming a standout prep player in Florida, Dante Bichette Jr. starred in the Little League World Series.

Because more fans now have at least a cursory knowledge of the players being selected, it’s only natural that more attention would be paid to the draft. Sometimes, however, a small amount of knowledge can be even worse than ignorance.

As much as baseball would like to have its draft attain the same level of recognition as the NBA’s and NFL’s events, there are too many obstacles to overcome. For starters, even though more fans have heard of the names being chosen, very few have ever seen them play. What’s more, even the very best prospects are still ticketed for at least a year or two in the minors, which dilutes the event’s impact. Finally, unlike the NBA and NFL, actual games are being played at the same time, so when faced with watching their team or the draft, most fans probably opt for the former.

For all the reasons cited above, the baseball draft is really a different animal. However, that hasn’t stopped many from reacting to various selections in a similar manner to followers in the other sports. The Yankees’ selection of Dante Bichette Jr. with the 51st pick in last night’s supplementary round is a perfect example.

When it finally came time for the Yankees to make their first pick of the night, most people were expecting, or hoping, the team would take one of the more high profile names, like Josh Bell and Daniel Norris, who had fallen into their lap. However, when the relatively unknown Dante Bichette Jr. was announced, the initial reaction was disappointment followed by anger. With certitude, so many people who had never even heard of Bichette were now convinced the Yankees had made a poor selection.

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