Nobody knows who any of these people are
The NBA may want to preserve the integrity of the league with an age limit, but that’s a half-truth. The league has an ingrained star-maker in the NCAA Tournament, which introduces the country to many of the nation’s most tantalizing prospects. It allows fans to develop allegiances and opinions about players on the biggest stage. The buzz for the NBA Draft starts building in mid-March, when fans get treated to Lonzo Ball vs. DeAaron Fox and other high-level matchups of top prospects.
(Except for, weirdly, last season’s No. 1 overall pick and the odds-on favorite to be 1-1 this year. The NBA is a weird place sometimes.)
MLB can’t make the same claim. In giving high schoolers a chance to earn a wage at their chosen craft—THE WAY OUR FOUNDING FATHERS INTENDED—they lose a lot of the potential for people to connect early.
Of the 36 people selected in the first round and first supplemental round, 16 made their way into the NCAA Regional round.
Nine got to the best-of-three Super Regional.
Four—Louisville’s Brendan McKay (Tampa Bay), Florida’s Alex Faedo (Seattle), LSU’s Alex Lange (Chicago Cubs) and Oregon State’s Drew Rasmussen (Tampa Bay in the supplemental round)—have made it through to Omaha.
This is nobody’s fault, but it’s certainly to MLB’s detriment. Ideally, you’d like your future stars shining on their biggest stage, which happens to coincide quite nicely around your draft. But unlike basketball, which can more heavily rely on individual stars to guarantee team success, baseball needs talent around talent to make a deep postseason run. Of the 20 players from four-year schools among the first 36 picks, just as many didn’t even make the NCAA field as advanced to Omaha.