The Detroit Tigers made made Auburn pitcher Casey Mize the top pick of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. The draft used to be held very far away from the spotlight. Prospects had to follow along on the internet until 2007 when the draft first showed up on TV. Before that it was a matter of hoping you or your coach got a call.
Monday night MLB Network televised the first two rounds of the draft for the tenth consecutive season, and according to Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp, the event drew a .3 rating. It isn’t the monster numbers that ESPN and the NFL Network see for the NFL Draft, and it isn’t the audience that comes to ESPN each year for the NBA Draft, but if the ratings numbers are correct, this would be the most watched draft in Major League Baseball history. The subsequent rounds are underway right now at MLB.com.
Major League Baseball was way behind the eight ball in terms of getting its draft on TV. Even the WNBA and MLS had created TV friendly events long before the MLB sought a TV partner. The ratings growth speaks to the professional sport’s sustained popularity in local markets and the growing popularity of the college game. Imagine how MLB Network’s ratings might grow if it markets the Major League Baseball Draft to college fans, the way the NFL and NBA do with their drafts.