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MLB in an Alternate Universe

So I've been thinking..I'm always thinking. I can't turn my brain off as long as I'm awake, so I followed my crazy idea.

What if MLB was a little more like NFL with it's developmental system. What if NCAA baseball was a big deal and most of the prospects that make an impact were in the NCAA? Most players would have to be at least 21 to play in the majors. Maybe even 22. This would hurt some guys. Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and others wouldn't make impacts in the majors. Mike Trout would be patrolling CF for East Carolina. Bryce Harper would be in RF, maybe even catcher for South Carolina. The OF would have Mason Williams, Jackie Bradley and Wil Myers. A pitching staff with Taylor Guerreri, Jordan Lyles and Chris Owings at SS. Hell yeah, that would be fun to watch. I'm confident they wouldn't even be ranked #1. The players coming out of college would make an immediate impact. They would be placed on the 40 man roster (may need to bump up to 50, I haven't ran the numbers) and would get guaranteed 3 year MLB contracts. Players would go to arbitration after that, just as the current MLB system works. The draft would only be 5 rounds. Players would be 21-22, so the best of the best would be better easier to pick out and the success rate should be much greater.

The problem is that college isn't the path for everyone. There would still need to be another level. A league for those who don't want to deal with school. The second league would be different. No school, no education benefit so the players have to get something. They would get paid. It wouldn't be great pay but the payday would be coming. They too wouldn't get to play in the majors until 21-22. They would play in this league until then. They would be insured at a level requisite of their talent in case they blow out their arm and never make it to the majors so players from the Dominican or Venezuela would still be able to help their families. Since the league would be small, players would have to be invited into the league by teams. Tryouts could be held. It would be similar to a team signing a player, just not to a specific team, just this league. This league would be a 10-12 team league of 18-21 year olds and each year a 3 round draft would occur. The order would be the same as the college draft order. Poor teams would be able to turn it around much, much quicker. This would really help teams turn around losing seasons quickly and they wouldn't have long runs of horrendous play...I'm looking at you Pittsburgh.

There would be a lot of players that wouldn't get into this league and many that wouldn't get drafted out of college. These players would make independent leagues very strong and another feeder league to the majors at no cost to MLB. This would replace the current minor league system. Some minor league teams would fold. This would really be a drastic change. The point is to bunch up talent into smaller areas to create more interest and make more immediate impact on the majors, so if a bunch of MiLB teams fold, that is collateral damage to me. Many employed by MiLB could get jobs in the college ranks because that could potentially turn into a cash cow.

A few more details. Players would not be eligible for the draft unless they are 21 years old as of 7/23 (the date curretnly used to determine sophomore draft eligibility).

The College World Series would be held as it is now with the finale on 6/26. A combine would be held from 7/5-7/7 and the drafts would be held on 7/13, 7/14 during the All-Star break. Players would have to declare for the draft. Once they declare for the draft, the team that drafts them gets their rights for 6 years. They sign the deal that is slotted or they go home. No restrictions on trading picks or players at any time but teams can't trade future picks, only current year picks. Just think, instead of your favorite team trading a prospect for a veteran to make a run, they could add a 21 year old college stud or an elite international player to make a playoff run and you'd have him for at least 6 years, if he deserves it.

25 players would be active for each game with the rest of the 40(50) man roster available at any time. Players would be paid $75,000 annually given in the signing bonus at draft time which would guarantee 3 years worth of pay. Anyone who would play in an MLB game would get paid at $500,000 prorated for every game that they play in the bigs.

Taking a look at how it could work, it is interesting. I used my top 2000 rankings for each age range and lined up last seasons draft order, which wouldn't be the norm because of all the comp picks, but the Blue Jays would have spent about $13 million and acquired these players:

Matthew Davidson 22 3B Southern California
Andrew Heaney 22 P Oklahoma State
Damien Magnifico 22 P Oklahoma
Brian Adams 22 OF Kentucky
Marcus Semien 22 SS California
Cameron Perkins 22 3B Purdue
Steve Nyisztor 22 2B Rutgers
Chris Taylor 22 SS Virginia
John Kuchno 22 P Ohio State
Edinson Rincon 22 3B
Carter Capps 22 P
Josh Sale 22 OF
Tyler Linton 22 OF
Rory Rhodes 22 1B
Dakota Bacus  22 P
Boss Moanaroa 22 1B

The Twins would have spent over $18 million and acquired these players:
Kevin Gausman 22 P LSU
Sam Selman 22 P Vanderbilt
Nolan Fontana 22 SS Florida
Jeffrey Gelalich 22 OF UCLA
Luke Bard 22 P Georgia Tech
Robert Refsnyder 22 2B Arizona
Krey Bratsen 22 OF Texas A&M
Bryan Mitchell 22 P North Carolina
Hak-Ju Lee 22 SS
Tyler Heineman  22 C
Zach Collier 22 OF
Alexis Aguilar 22 2B
Hector Hernandez 22 P
Tanner Peters 22 P

5 of them are upgrades over what they are running out there this year.

The Astros would improve for sure:
Wil Myers 22 OF South Carolina
Max Stassi 22 C UCLA
Pierce Johnson 22 P Missouri State
Eddie Butler 22 P Radford
Buck Farmer 22 P Georgia Tech
Josh Conway 22 P Coastal Carolina
Julio Teheran 22 P
Adrian Salcedo 22 P
Carlos Contreras 22 P
Cesar Galvez 22 2B

The Orioles would have got a little boost for their playoff run. Since Manny Machado would have been  starring for Florida International for another year yet, they would have got Kolten Wong instead and added Yordano Ventura to their bullpen and Brian Johnson as well as a RP/PH.

Kolten Wong 22 2B Hawaii
Josh Elander 22 C TCU
Brian Johnson 22 P Florida
Kevin Taylor 22 2B St. Joseph's
Jeff Ferrell 22 P Pitt CC
Yordano Ventura 22 P
Hansel Robles 22 P
Michael Clevinger 22 P

The First Round:
Team Name POS Commit - history
Houston Astros Wil Myers OF South Carolina
Minnesota Twins Kevin Gausman P LSU
Seattle Mariners Mike Zunino C Florida
Baltimore Orioles Kolten Wong 2B Hawaii
Kansas City Royals Tyler Skaggs P Cal State Fullerton
Chicago Cubs Shelby Miller P Texas A&M
San Diego Padres Trevor Bauer P UCLA
Pittsburgh Pirates Ryne Stanek P Arkansas
Miami Marlins Anthony Gose OF Arizona
Colorado Rockies Gerrit Cole P UCLA
Oakland Athletics Marcus Stroman P Duke
New York Mets Garin Cecchini 3B Louisiana State
Chicago White Sox Mark Appel P Stanford
Cincinnati Reds Nolan Arenado 3B Arizona State
Cleveland Indians Jacob Turner P North Carolina
Washington Nationals Chris Stratton P Mississippi State
Toronto Blue Jays Matthew Davidson 3B Southern California
Los Angeles Dodgers Brian Goodwin OF Miami-Dade College
St. Louis Cardinals Billy Hamilton OF Jones County Junior College
San Francisco Giants Jake Marisnick OF Oregon
Atlanta Braves Tommy Joseph C Arizona
Toronto Blue Jays Andrew Heaney P Oklahoma State
St. Louis Cardinals Drew Hutchison P Stetson
Boston Red Sox Nick Franklin 2B Auburn
Tampa Bay Rays Miles Head 1B Georgia
Arizona Diamondbacks Deven Marrero SS Arizona State
Milwaukee Brewers Tyler Naquin OF Texas A&M
Milwaukee Brewers Slade Heathcott OF Louisiana State
Texas Rangers Austin Maddox P Florida
New York Yankees Tyler Matzek P Oregon
Boston Red Sox Steven Rodriguez P Florida
Minnesota Twins Sam Selman P Vanderbilt
San Diego Padres Richie Shaffer 3B Clemson
Oakland Athletics Joe Panik SS St. John's
New York Mets Garrett Gould P Wichita State
St. Louis Cardinals Keyvius Sampson P Florida State
Boston Red Sox Michael Wacha P Texas A&M
Milwaukee Brewers Jordan Lyles P South Carolina
Texas Rangers Robbie Erlin P Cal Poly-SLO
Philadelphia Phillies Dane Phillips C Arkansas

The Other First Round:
Houston Astros Julio Teheran P
Minnesota Twins Hak-Ju Lee SS
Seattle Mariners Oswaldo Arcia OF
Baltimore Orioles Yordano Ventura P
Kansas City Royals Martin Perez P
Chicago Cubs Manny Banuelos P
San Diego Padres Bruce Rondon P
Pittsburgh Pirates Rymer Liriano OF
Miami Marlins Jonathan Galvez 2B
Colorado Rockies Marcell Ozuna OF
Oakland Athletics Avisail Garcia OF
New York Mets Yasiel Puig OF
Chicago White Sox Leury Garcia SS
Cincinnati Reds Cesar Puello OF
Cleveland Indians Daniel Corcino P
Washington Nationals Arodys Vizcaino P
Toronto Blue Jays Edinson Rincon 3B
Los Angeles Dodgers Julio Rodriguez P
St. Louis Cardinals Jonathan Villar SS
San Francisco Giants Jose Rafael De Paula P
Atlanta Braves Reymond Fuentes OF
Toronto Blue Jays Carter Capps P
St. Louis Cardinals Jae-Hoon Ha OF
Boston Red Sox Elvis Araujo P
Tampa Bay Rays Enny Romero P
Arizona Diamondbacks Nick Tropeano P
Milwaukee Brewers Christian Villanueva 3B
Milwaukee Brewers Rafael Ortega OF
Texas Rangers Jefry Marte 3B
New York Yankees Daniel Santana SS
Boston Red Sox Kennys Vargas 1B
Minnesota Twins Tyler Heineman  C
San Diego Padres Cristhian Adames SS
Oakland Athletics Theo Bowe OF
New York Mets Mitch Haniger OF
St. Louis Cardinals Michael Almanzar 3B
Boston Red Sox Robinson Yambati P
Milwaukee Brewers William Beckwith 1B
Texas Rangers Kyle Simon P
Philadelphia Phillies Jeff Soptic P

The best players that wouldn't have been drafted:
Ian Krol 22 P Arizona
Madison Younginer 22 P Clemson
Navery Moore 22 P Vanderbilt
Lex Rutledge 22 P Samford
Scott Griggs 22 P UCLA
Ian Gardeck 22 P Alabama
Cameron Coffey 22 P Duke
Jayce Boyd 22 1B Florida State
Alexander Lavisky 22 C Georgia Tech
JaDamion Williams 22 2B Maryland
Stetson Allie 22 3B North Carolina
Dylan Floro 22 P Cal State Fullerton
Anthony Gomez 22 SS Vanderbilt
Devon Travis 22 2B Florida State
Tanner Bushue 22 P John A. Logan College
Max White 22 1B Oklahoma
Arby Fields 22 OF Cypress Col
Mitch Garver 22 C New Mexico
Kyle Wren 22 OF Georgia Tech
Ryan Tella 22 OF Ohlone Col

Looks fun to me. What do you think?


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