The MLB Draft is an integral part of the baseball season, with teams selecting promising new players year after year to build and strengthen the game. The draft has gone through several changes over the years, expanding from a two-round process to the current 40-round event.

This article will explore the fascinating history of the MLB draft and how it has evolved since its introduction back in 1965.

How Many Rounds is The MLB Draft

The Major League Baseball Amateur Draft first began in 1965, following the signing of an agreement between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball. The first-ever MLB Draft began on June 8th, 1965 with Rick Monday as the inaugural pick, chosen by the Kansas City Athletics. The draft allows players who have either graduated or are in their last year of high school to be eligible to enter the draft. College students and foreign players who are residents outside of Canada or United States must also meet certain age requirements in order to join the draft.*

*Source: Major League Baseball Official Rules

In its early years, teams had well over a hundred rounds in which they could choose anyone they wanted regardless of their amateur or professional status. In 1985, this changed when the number of rounds was reduced to only 50. The number then decreased again with each successive year until it sat at 40 rounds by 2000. In 2005, incentive-based bonuses were introduced for prospective draftees which resulted in teams being more selective than ever before about whom they chose for a roster spot. Today, each team is allowed 40 rounds from which to make their selections during a two day event held annually every July.

Early History of the MLB Draft

Major League Baseball (MLB) first started the amateur draft in 1965. At the time, the draft only had 20 rounds, and the selections were made through a conference call. With each passing year, the number of rounds kept increasing, culminating in 50 rounds in 1998. Over the years, the MLB draft has gone through a lot of changes and today it consists of 40 rounds. Let’s take a deeper look into the history of the MLB draft.

How the draft evolved from the 1950s-1970s

The Major League Baseball Draft did not exist in its present form prior to 1965, when the number of rounds was set to 20 and the first-year player draft was introduced. Before this, teams simply competed with each other for amateur players’ rights when they signed contracts. From 1965 through 1976, the MLB Amateur Draft had 12 rounds (or more if teams wanted to use them). Players eligible for selection included high school seniors, four-year college players, and junior college players. Additionally, any amateur baseball player in the US or Canada could be drafted if he had not been attending an accredited college or university before January 1st of the year of that particular draft. The quality of draft picks also improved during this period with many Hall-of-Famers being drafted in this period. In 1968 MLB started making players eligible for a new expansion draft which meant some earned recognition from multiple teams rather than just the team who originally drafted them. Teams required “protected” lists: must hold onto certain players for turning over unprotected ones; making it even more competitive to sign active talent and preventing putting others on waivers who weren’t considered good enough prospects anymore. Finally, in 1977 an MLB “compensatory pick” was added after each round up until round 10 so as to reward teams losing free agents or suffering retirements with additional picks at the end of each round; thus effectively expanding most drafts since then into eleven rounds or more depending upon how many teams qualify for those extra picks next season.

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Impact of The Amateur Draft on The MLB

The amateur draft was introduced in 1965 and it has had a major impact on baseball by providing teams with a cost-controlled method for recruiting players into the Major Leagues. This has allowed teams to invest resources in development of the players from an early age, increasing the potential for a successful career. It also provides teams with control over which players they will be able to build their core around. The early years of the draft were freely open to all amateur players, regardless of their experience or skill level. However, in 1990, the Free Agent Amateur Draft was implemented to increase competition among teams and lessen any advantage that could be gained through scouting underutilized talent pools. This would make sure that athletic talent was more evenly distributed throughout all clubs in the league, giving them more chances to procure high-level talent at a low cost.

Since its inception, the draft has been highly effective at introducing quality players into Major League Baseball without overly disrupting budget allocations within teams. As teams have begun to utilize advanced analytics and focus on player development, however, there has been some conversation around introducing a new model that’s more focused on player experience and professional development than purely status as an amateur or minor leaguer prospect.

Modern History of The MLB Draft

The Major League Baseball Draft is an annual event that has taken place since 1965. Since its inception, the draft has evolved in the number of rounds and teams involved. Currently, the MLB draft has 40 rounds and all 30 MLB teams participate. In this article, we will look at the history and changes to the MLB draft over the years.

How The Draft Has Evolved Since The 1980s

The Major League Baseball (MLB) draft is a process in which teams take turns selecting players from high school or college to join their organizations. It is one of the most important days for any aspiring baseball player and can signal the beginning of their professional career. Since its inception in 1965, the MLB draft has undergone several changes, with the most significant coming in 1981 when the draft was reduced from 15 rounds to seven. This format remained relatively unchanged until 1989, when it was further reduced to five rounds. This five-round format led to teams playing things more conservatively than they had previously and ensured that fewer players were signed each year. In 1997, a slotting system was created where teams had money allocated to them based on where they finished in the standings, allowing them more freedom and flexibility when drafting players. Following this shift, more rounds were added back into the draft over the years, with an additional round added each year from 1998–2006 and a 10th round reinstated in 2007. The focus of the MLB Draft continued to shift as well during this time period. In addition to drafting high school and college players directly out of school, teams were also given two additional selections at each point throughout the draft: one for a player who had opted for free agency; another for someone added to “compensatory pool,” which includes international prospects who agreed to terms with MLB teams prior to being eligible for selection by other franchisees during an annual amateur draft. In 2018 an 11th round was added back into the draft, bringing it up a total of 40 rounds – its current structure today – while also increasing opportunities for both international prospects as well as further reducing overall cost and investment from organizations by making undrafted free agents minimal compensation after being selected later than expected or not at all during the eventful day that is now known as ‘draft day’!

How The Draft Rules Have Changed

Beginning in the 1930s and throughout the 20th century, MLB has undergone major changes to its draft rules. In 1965, MLB changed the manner in which it conducted its drafts, introducing a system of rounds in which teams took turns selecting players based on order of likelihood for signing with specific teams. This was followed by another major change in 1980, when MLB established a draft lottery to determine the order in which teams would pick. In 2000, MLB divided its drafts into two phases: Rule 4 and Rule 5. Rule 4 covers selections made immediately after high school and college players have announced their intention to enter the draft; while Rule 5 covers selections of other professionally affiliated players. Teams with higher picks are heavily favored under this system as they can select more highly valued prospects. MLB also proposed another significant change prior to the 2011 season — capping spending on drafted players — but that was eventually scrapped due to public outcry from members of Congress and amateur baseball associations overdraft manipulation allegations linked with lucrative signing bonuses for high schoolers. Rules changes have generally been aimed at decreasing bonus money paid out to top young draftees or at least encouraging parity among all 30 Major League Baseball franchises during each year’s drafting process. In 2018 a further rule change limited the amount of ammunition due to run rich teams picking earlier then slot bets laid down from teams that are currently set up less than ideally financially as well as certain allowances being made involving hard asset compensation throughout many deals special contracts being figured out as well as trades being used more extensively then before bonus amounts being reallocated too All these rule changes over time certainly shows an evolution within the game itself totaling up towards you better experience not just for both spectate-wise but also performing-wise too Overall great life lessons will be taken away no matter what form they take even within The Great Hours Of Baseball As We Know It Through The Draft Process & Beyond…..

Current MLB Draft

The MLB Draft has undergone several changes since it began in 1965. Currently, the draft is held over 40 rounds and there is a bonus pool with a total of $235 million allocated for all 30 teams. In this article, we’ll discuss the current format of the MLB Draft and how it compares to previous versions.

Overview of The Current Draft Structure

The current Major League Baseball (MLB) amateur draft takes place each year in June, with all 30 teams presented with the opportunity to select players who have either graduated from high school or are attending a four-year college. Players selected outside of the U.S. and American territories may also be eligible for selection depending on the current MLB rules, as can juniors and seniors enrolled in college. The current draft structure was implemented in 1965, and since then has been through several significant changes:

  • The first round of selections is currently decided based on the previous season’s regular-season standings, while rounds 2-30 are determined by inverse order of those standings
  • In 2012, the second round saw a slightly more significant change—the selection order was based off of a pool formula that took into consideration several qualifying criteria including prior seasons’ performance
  • Starting in 2013, competitive balance picks have been awarded at each end of the first round—six for 10 teams with lowest combined revenue/market size
  • From 2016 to 2020, competitive balance rounds A & B will be used meaning some teams could have an extra pick after Round 1 or Round 2—as many as 13 clubs in 2020 if all 13 clubs with Competitive Balance picks opt to use them.

Although considered a particularly difficult process to understand from both sides – team owners and prospects – it serves as one of the most important pieces for determining present and future talent at the core level of baseball.

How Many Rounds Are in The Current Draft

The current format of the MLB draft adds 40 rounds to the 10 rounds held in 1965. The draft consists of five parts: the competitive balance lottery, followed by rounds 1-2, competitive balance round A, rounds 3-10, competitive balance round B and rounds 11-40. In the competitive balance lottery teams with smaller markets and lower revenues participate for a chance to obtain additional picks in Rounds 1 & 2. Teams are divided into two separate lottery pools. Pool A has 10 higher revenue clubs that were not awarded bonus selections in either round earlier that year, while Pool B has 12 teams with lower revenues or market sizes who received no bonus selections in either round earlier that year. As for rounds 1-2; following the conclusion of Competitive Balance Rounds A & B which consist of between six and seven additional picks each year, a total of 75 players are selected across both days; including selections from clubs who have been assigned additional picks due to unsigned First Rounders from previous years’ drafts. Rounds 3-10 consist of 254 picks while slightly fewer players (242) are taken during rounds 11-40.


Impact of The Current Draft Structure on Teams

The current structure of the MLB Draft has had a profound impact on how teams select and acquire players. Prior to 1978, the draft operated on a strict sequence, based on overall winning percentages from the previous year. That led to some balance across teams and some that could capitalize off their poor record. However, since 1978, the draft has featured distinct rounds with certain picks for each team based on their finish in their division the year before. The order of selection can be affected by trades that involve future draft picks or even international signing bonuses. The current format gives more value to weaker teams who may not otherwise have an opportunity to acquire high-end players through free agency and gives those teams more control over whom they select in higher rounds of drafting. In addition, many teams now incorporate analytical measures into their selection process while they assess potential draftees and make decisions as to whom they will select — meaning there is often less reliance on scouting reports alone and more consideration of players’ numbers-based performance capabilities. This shift has allowed many smaller or lower-budget franchises to compete at a higher level than they would have been able to otherwise by taking advantage of an increased pool of analysis-prone prospects each year who may have been overlooked by traditional scouting methods on their quest for big league success.


In conclusion, the MLB Draft has undergone several changes since its inception in 1965, with the biggest being the expansion of the number of rounds. From its original 10 rounds, the MLB Draft now has 40 rounds and is a significant part of the MLB’s recruitment and selection process. By now having the capability to draft not only from the United States, but from other countries as well, the MLB Draft has become more important than ever for Major League Baseball teams.

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