Proposed MLB Draft Changes Could Hurt Dominican Republic

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How Domincan players, such as Toronto's Jose Bautista enter the big leagues may change with a new international draft. (AP)
If draft rules change, Dominican prospects might have to follow a different path than the one Toronto's Jose Bautista and others took to the big leagues. (AP)

Nearly 10 percent of Major League Baseball players and 25 percent of all minor leaguers call the Dominican Republic home. MLB has begun implementing changes that could affect the way organizations select Dominican prospects.

The first change came as a part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association, which was negotiated last fall. The new CBA placed a cap on the amount of money teams could spend to sign international amateur players.

Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal told Bill Littlefield the strategy was designed "to bring down the wild, unregulated spending on Dominican teenagers, and to try to bring some sort of semblance of order to the system so that you don't have teams spending millions and millions of dollars on a single promising 16-year-old."

Another proposed change would expand the amateur draft, which currently includes players from the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, to also include players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and other countries.

According to Futterman, that could eventually make Dominican players less attractive to big league clubs.

"The great advantage that that Dominican players have is that they can do nothing but play baseball under the eyes and under the management of the Major League Baseball teams from the time that they're 16 years old," he said. "If you institute a draft, and you're drafting 18-year-olds who aren't developing under professional coaching, you [will] probably see a decline in the ability of these kids."

This segment aired on April 14, 2012.


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