KPT Sports Blog

Draft Eligibility for Amateur Baseball Players

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Most baseball fans and sports fans in general understand that professional sport drafts are based on the teams’ previous season’s standings, in reverse order. Less well known are the specific rules about what amateur baseball players are actually eligible for during the MLB draft. KPT Sports can help navigate you through the complexities of the process. First, you have to be a resident of either the United States or Canada. Players that come from Central America and Cuba are in an entirely different category, and are not eligible to be drafted. Second, you are not eligible if you have ever signed a major or minor league contract before.

If you are a high school player, you must graduate and cannot have attended college yet. If you are attending a four year college, you become eligible at the end of your junior year or after you turn 21 years old. Players at a junior or community college are eligible any time.

Many times, teams will use this to their advantage. A talented amateur baseball player that is a junior in college may very well get a better contract than a more talented senior: the junior will be eligible for the draft again next year, so he can hold out for or negotiate a better contract. A senior, on the other hand, is in his last year of eligibility and may feel forced to sign a contract that is noticeably less than he is worth.

Do not forget the NCAA rules! You do not want to sacrifice your eligibility to play college ball because you didn’t know the rules. Because you do not have to “declare” for the MLB draft, you retain your baseball draft eligibility to play college ball after your junior year unless you sign a contract or hire an adviser. As the draft is approaching this June, take a close look at the rules at both the NCAA and MLB levels.