One of the most interesting debates in baseball is whether it’s better to take a risk on a high school player or draft an experienced college athlete.
The argument can be made for both sides that superstars have come either way. There are many baseball stars who didn’t play in college such as Miguel Cabrera, reigning Triple Crown winner, Mike Trout, reigning rookie of the year, and Chris Davis, this year’s breakout player.
While college can mature these athletes, would teams rather have them molded into their system by picking them out of high school?
The risk may be too large for some teams to take a player who has never played against anyone over the age of 18 and put them in an organization with players ranging from 18-40. It’s hard for anyone to adjust to major league life, and for a college athlete, that struggle to adjust would be the same as for a high school one.
Being drafted out of high school comes with more pressure. An organization thinks you are good enough at a young age to take you and make you a star. If you don’t make it, then it’s almost impossible to find another career and start over. The pressure on these high school athletes with no college experience or degree is immense.
The money may entice these players way too much because coming out of high school, they have never seen thousands of dollars in their hands before.
In my opinion, taking the risk on high school players isn’t quite worth it, even though they can be molded to the style of player that an organization wants. College players are the safest choice because they know what it’s like to be away from home, play almost everyday and handle the temptations, like money, that come with the job.
As I noted earlier, many superstars have gone straight to MLB from high school, but there are just as many players that have come from college. Justin Verlander, former Cy Young winner, Dustin Pedroia, former-MVP, and young superstar Bryce Harper have all played college ball.
Arguments can be made for each side, but in my opinion, college is the way to go when drafting young players.