TOP 10 MLB CONTRACTS (as of Feb. 2016)
Giancarlo Stanton - $325 million
Alex Rodriguez - $275 million
Miguel Cabrera - $248 million
Albert Pujols - $240 million
Robinson Cano - $240 million
Joey Votto - $225 million
David Price - $217 million
Clayton Kershaw - $215 million
Prince Fielder - $214 million
Max Scherzer - $210 million
How do I get noticed by a scout?
It doesn't matter where you're located or what team you play for...if you're good enough, a scout will find you. Scouts work hard to create networks of trusted sources eager to tip them off on talented players. A scout's job is to find players and we scour our areas searching for that "diamond in the rough." Players come from all different areas, big and small, and there are major leaguers from every round of the draft.
What do scouts look for in a player?
Scouts use a 20-80 (or 2-8) scouting scale for measuring everything a player does. A grade of 50 (or 5) represents average at the Major League level. For position players, the basic tools graded include hitting for average, hitting for power, running speed, fielding, and arm strength. Because it's exceptionally rare to go straight from the draft to the Major Leagues, projection is also factored in—we're looking for players who have room to improve. For pitchers, we grade each pitch type, control, as well as mechanics. We also factor in what we call "makeup"—how competitive a player is, what kind of teammate they are, what kind of person they are off the field, work ethic, etc.
How many scouts are there?
There are 30 Major League Baseball organizations. Each organization has a full-time scout responsible for scouting the Pacific Northwest, which may include all, or part of, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii, and Western Canada—depending on how each organization splits up the country. Some organizations also use part-time scouts, because it's such a big area with so many players to see in a limited amount of time. Each area scout also has "crosscheckers"—supervisor scouts responsible for seeing the best players in a region. There are also National Crosscheckers and Scouting Directors—senior-level scouts within an organization responsible for seeing the best players throughout the entire country.
What is the basic information on the MLB Draft?
The MLB Draft has been in place since 1965. Each team takes turns picking players in reverse order of last year's standings. The draft is now limited to 40 rounds. Players can be drafted from the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. To be eligible, a player must be a senior in high school, any year at a junior college, or a junior or senior at a 4-year college or university. Exceptions are made for college freshmen and sophomores who are 21-years-old within 45 days of the Draft. The Draft takes place over three days in early June. Players drafted have until July 15 to decide whether or not to sign a contract. More information can be found at MLB.com.
What is the MLB College Scholarship Plan?
Because players can be drafted from all levels of school—high school, junior college, or a four-year university—Major League Baseball has been committed to providing money for a player's education, in addition to any signing bonus or salary he receives. This is a negotiable part of the first-year player contract. However, many players receive enough money for 100 percent of their education: tuition, books, and living expenses. The money is set aside and players have up to two years after their playing career is finished to begin using it. Players can also use their scholarship money for classes online! More information can be found at MLB.com.
My son already has a college scholarship. How is this different?
Unfortunately, baseball is extremely limited in the scholarships that are available to college players. With 35 players on a typical Division-I roster, fully-funded programs are limited by Title IX to just 11.7 scholarships. Therefore, scholarships for players are almost never 100 percent, and can change from year-to-year. The following Division-I sports currently have more scholarships available than baseball: football-FBS (85), football-FCS (63), women's rowing (20), men's ice hockey (18), women's ice hockey (18), women's cross country / track (18), women's basketball (15), women's equestrian (15), women's soccer (14), women's swimming (14), men's basketball (13), men's cross country / track (12.6), lacrosse (12.6), women's field hockey (12), women's gymnastics (12), women's lacrosse (12), women's rugby (12), softball (12), and women's volleyball (12).
If my son is drafted out of high school, should he sign a pro contract or go to college?
It's a different decision for every player, with many factors to consider. However, the benefits to beginning a professional career out of high school are numerous. While the NCAA sets limits on how often college players are allowed to practice, professional players are working at improving all day - from the best instructors in the world. As a professional, you are able to focus 100 percent of your time on baseball when it's time for baseball, and then—thanks to MLB's College Scholarship Plan—focus 100 percent of the time on education when it's time for that, rather than trying to balance both.
Professional baseball offers the opportunity to play with players from around the world, and having professional experience goes a long way on a resume for other baseball-related, post-playing career opportunities. Professional players receive year-round health insurance coverage immediately after signing a professional contract.
Players signed out of high school also have more earning potential at the Major League level. Cot's Baseball lists the highest baseball contracts ever issued—the 76 top contracts in the sport's history, as of February, 2016. The contracts range in total expenditures from $325 million to $90 million for a grand total of $10.9 billion. Players signed out of high school have proven to have nearly twice the earning potential as players signed out of college. Of the 76 players on the list, 35 were signed out of high school, for a grand total of $5.4 billon earned. Twenty-two of the 76 players were signed out of a 4-year college, for a total of $2.7 billion. International players (who typically sign as young teenagers) account for 15 players on the list and a grand total of $2.1 billion. And finally, players signed from a junior college (Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp, and Chris Davis) have signed contracts totaling $661 million in their careers.
There is nothing better than getting paid to play the game you love!
What will life be like for my son as a minor leaguer?
First, let's provide an overview of minor league baseball. Beneath the Major Leagues, there are six levels of minor league baseball, split into 16 leagues. Major League organizations have affiliations with the minor league teams. So, for example, all players for the Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A, Pacific Coast League) are minor league players in the Seattle Mariners' organization. From the lowest level to the highest, it goes: Rookie (Arizona League, Appalachian League, Gulf Coast League, and Pioneer League), Short Season (Northwest League and New York-Penn League), low Class A (Midwest League and South Atlantic League), high Class A (California League, Carolina League, and Florida State League), Double-A (Eastern League, Southern League, and Texas League), and Triple-A (International League and Pacific Coast League).
As for what the minor leagues are like, that varies slightly depending on the organization and classification level (A-ball, Double-A, Triple-A, etc.). At the lowest levels, where players are entering professional baseball for the first time, players typically stay at team-arranged facilities, such as furnished apartments, or with local host families. It is a structured work environment where the focus is on personal growth and improvement as a player. Players have access to not only the best instruction, but professional nutritionists, trainers, and specialists. Players are supervised by the coaching staff. Individual organizations, as well as Major League Baseball, hold seminars to educate the young players on topics such as nutrition and cooking, talking to the media, social media responsibility, alcohol, gambling and drugs, domestic violence, and more.
My son is considering playing football in college, instead of baseball. What do you think?
Everyone should follow their passion, but there are two big reasons to play baseball rather than football, especially if you have the opportunity to do so professionally: long-term health and salary earning potential.
More and more research is coming out about the long-term effects of football-related brain trauma, such as concussions and CTE. Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El recently said if he could replay his life, there's no way he would play football. "If I could go back, I wouldn't," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn't play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don't get me wrong, I love the game of football. But, right now, I could still be playing baseball."
Major League Baseball's minimum salary is $507,500 per year. The average salary is $4 million, and the highest-paid player (based on annual-average value) is Dodgers lefthanded pitcher Clayton Kershaw at $32.5-million per year. The average Major League Baseball player has a longer career (5.6 years) than any of the other major sports, and MLB is the only major sports league without a salary cap in place.
Here is the guaranteed contract money for the highest-paid players in MLB, versus the highest-paid players in the NFL...
To put that in perspective, the top five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL would have to combine their salaries to be guaranteed more money than the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball.
Professional Baseball Scouts Association
TOP 10 NFL CONTRACTS IN 2015
Eli Manning - $65 million
Philip Rivers - $65 million
Colin Kaepernick - $61 million
Ben Roethlisberger - $60.7 million
Russell Wilson - $60 million
Cam Newton - $60 million
Ndamukong Suh - $59.9 million
Tony Romo - $55 million
Aaron Rodgers - $54 million
Jay Cutler - $54 million