06/06/2004 11:12 PM ET
MLB.com Draft Show a sure pick
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
When the Padres make the first selection in the First-Year Player Draft on Monday, it will mark the 40th consecutive year that Major League Baseball has combed the land and divided up the best available prospects in an event that has evolved from a relatively routine conference call to an increasingly popular interactive-media showcase.
|Kevin Towers (right) signed David Wells in January. Tune in on June 7 to see his 2004 draft choices. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
The bottom line for fans following along on MLB.com is that the draft has become a truly made-for-PC experience that demonstrates how far the selection process and technology have come since the Oakland A's took Rick Monday with the first draft pick back in 1965.
Baseball's annual draft, plain and simple, is now an Internet extravaganza, racking up record visits each of the last three years. The 2004 free "MLB.com Draft Show," presented live from New York in streaming video, will take you inside the event with exclusive pick-by-pick coverage of the first five rounds as well as all-access features, exclusive highlights and interviews.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo will be the show's host, joined by analysts Fred Claire (Dodgers general manager from 1987-98) and Darryl Hamilton (Milwaukee's 11th-round pick in 1986). They will go live at 12:50 p.m. ET Monday, with a preview of the draft, giving a look at the top prospects as well as an interview with Roy Krasik, senior director of Major League Operations, who will explain how the process works.
Then the draft begins at 1 p.m., and MLB.com is the only place where behind-the-scenes scouting video of the majority of players is made available for viewing on demand. So you not only see which players your club picked for the future, but you will have your own idea about what talent to expect. In addition to that footage and the live Draft action, here are more of the features at fans' fingertips in MLB.com's special section dedicated to the event:
A video flashback of the top 10 No. 1 overall picks of all-time. Watch the "MLB.com Draft Show," and you can see how the experts chose from a four-decade crop that has included Darryl Strawberry (1980), Ken Griffey Jr. (1987), Chipper Jones (1990) and Alex Rodriguez (1993).
Features on projected top overall pick Jered Weaver, and on two Princeton players --outfielder B.J. Szymanski and pitcher Ross Ohlendorf -- who are expected to go within the first two rounds.
An interview with Dodgers director of amateur scouting Logan White, who has put together some of the top drafts in the Majors the last two seasons. There are plenty of people wondering how the Dodgers will handle this draft, now that Paul DePodesta, a Billy Beane disciple from Oakland, is their general manager.
Draft memories from Scott Podsednik (third-round pick by Texas in 1994), Jarrod Washburn (second-round pick by Anaheim in '95) and Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi.
A video flashback to the top 10 players from the 1984 draft. Notables from that group included Mark McGwire (first round), Tom Glavine, Al Leiter and Greg Maddux (all second-round choices).
A video flashback to the top 11 players from the 1994 draft. That group included 2004 Reds sensation Paul Wilson (No. 1 overall), Nomar Garciaparra (first round), Podsednik (third round), Danny Graves (fourth round), Javier Vazquez (fifth round) and Keith Foulke (ninth round).
"The draft has all the ingredients for phenomenal content; it's a jewel event that brings fans of every team and every prospect online," said Dinn Mann, senior vice president and editor-in-chief at MLB.com. "The draft gives us the privilege of collaborating with scouts, front-office executives, coaches and players at every level for information and insights that are second to none. Further, it provides a real-time, breaking-news stage, marrying the power of our searchable database with the depth and speed of our original text, audio and video coverage."
As always, the Major League clubs take turns selecting players in reverse order of their won-loss records at the close of the previous regular season, with National and American League clubs alternating selections. So San Diego is on the clock first, immediately followed by Detroit. The draft concludes at the end of the 50th round of selections.
In addition to the "MLB.com Draft Show" for viewers, MLB.com Radio will exclusively broadcast the entire draft. That will include the live draft conference call throughout the event. Seth Everett will be the radio host and will be joined by Dave Rawnsley, scout/writer for Perfect Game USA, and also by Mayo. Everett and Mayo will be the commentators for the second day of the draft on MLB.com Radio.
MLB.com visitors also can find a recap of the draft on June 9, with Mayo's appearance on "The Show To Be Named Later." That addition to MLB.com's 2004 programming lineup airs at 1 p.m. ET each Wednesday.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.