Major League Baseball is joining the elite baseball exposure market, and unlike others, MLB will be doing it for free.
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On Wednesday, MLB issued a release announcing it would offer a series of free player development camps for high school students age 16-18. The new camps are an addition to the current player development/exposure scene, which includes companies like Perfect Game which offer players exposure to scouts, development, competitive tournaments and a brand name that continues to attract most (if not all) of the nation’s top prospects.
Yet circuits like Perfect Game cost money, often times a lot of it, That has led to claims of unethical and imbalanced opportunities for teens who don’t have the resources to pay for their entry to the tournaments. MLB will aim to circumvent Perfect Game and others by offering similar services without a hefty price tag In fact, there’s no price tag at all.
Officially, MLB’s Player Development Pipeline will consist of 17 different events in the form of one day workouts for any invited high school seniors. Each event will host scouts for all 30 MLB teams and, eventually, a 16-team national scout team tournament in Cary, N.C. All of the events are being planned and produced in conjunction with USA Baseball.
Clearly, the access to the MLB scouts is a very good thing for any teens who might be in contention for the MLB Entry Draft. On the other hand, the focus on 16-18 year-olds means that the incoming MLB system won’t cater to any younger players, which is understandable in the name of scope, but still leaves plenty of room for companies like Perfect Game to own an entire slice of the market.
And while MLB certainly has its hands in a number of major events, the annual MLB postseason and the World Baseball Classic chief among them, they haven’t exactly organized an effort like this before on a league level. That means the actual events themselves are likely to go through some growing pains, something which obviously won’t impact the likes of Perfect Game or other competitors.