Just because Utah doesn't have a Major League Baseball franchise doesn't mean the Beehive State doesn't have aspiring sluggers.
Unlike the drafts for the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS, Major League Baseball holds its draft midseason. And also unlike the draftees of other leagues, many MLB draftees come straight out of high school, though in recent years, an increasing number have come from the college baseball ranks. Because of the obscurity of MLB draftees, the draft receives significantly less media coverage than other American professional sports drafts.
The MLB draft also differs from other professional drafts by size. The NFL draft, the second-largest professional sports draft, has seven rounds and 256 picks. By contrast, the MLB draft has 40 rounds and 1,200 picks — plus compensatory picks if owned.
Because of the size of the draft, and the value of professional contracts offered to draftees — miniscule compared to other professional sports draft contracts — many draftees, particularly high school players, refuse to sign a draft contract, opting for college first. College players, however, will sign contracts if they intend to make a run at the majors.
Very few players drafted over the next few days will be playing on a major league diamond in the near future, if at all. Yet being drafted does give a player the opportunity, if successful at lower-level pro ball, to achieve stardom.
Chris Conran is a baseball player for Utah Valley University, Major League Baseball draft enthusiast and Deseret News contributor. Follow him on Twitter.com/chrisconran.