The first day of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft occurred on Monday, June 3, 2019. It was a pleasant experience to watch 78 amateur players get their chance to go professional if they so choose. However, the first day of the draft had a problem that if you were not paying attention, you would never notice. The length of the first day took forever. So long in fact, that MLB Network had to go off the air after pick #41 and air the last 37 picks online only.
The draft started at 7 pm eastern daylight time. Adley Rutschman, the number one draft pick came out at ~7:12 pm. 12 minutes after the hour. A team has 5 minutes to pick, followed by handing it to Rob Manfred to announce. The next pick takes their turn at the end of the announcement. By 7:22, we have gone through all of three picks. This should not be the case. The first pick should be done within 8 minutes of the broadcast starting. It should not take the MLB more than a minute or two to introduce their large on-air staff. There is no reason the Orioles #1 pick should take 12 minutes. It slows the pace to a crawl.
The Yankees have selected SS Anthony Volpe from Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J., with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) June 4, 2019
The Yankees, if numbers were correct, were supposed to get their draft spot (#30) around 9:50 pm. However, due to the incredible amount of delays, the Yankees did not announce their draft pick of Anthony Volpe (Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey), until 10:14. So the first draft pick was 12 minutes in, the Yankees made their pick 24 minutes behind schedule? How is this fair? Keith Law basically confirmed on Twitter that the 5-minute draft clock is a myth. Instead of keeping a good pace, now teams are stuck well longer than they intended because the pace has become unbearable.
The Astros, with the No. 32 pick, take C Korey Lee from Cal.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) June 4, 2019
The final pick of the first round, belonging to the Houston Astros at No. 32 around 10:24 pm. So it took us three hours, 24 minutes to do a process that should take 2 hours, 40 minutes (5 minutes per pick x 32 picks = 160 minutes). After 32, there were still 46 picks, an interview with the Commissioner and a lot of random hubbub on MLB Network. After everything, the draft went 44 minutes behind schedule.
It can absolutely bother a viewer. This writer fielded numerous complaints on non-public social media about the length this took. The draft when it works, works speedy and on time. This was not speedy nor was it on time. This was a drag. No one should have to wait almost four hours to go through the entire first round. The one who should be ashamed of this and demanding change is the man who announced the first 32 picks of the draft.
Can Rob Manfred work on pace-of-draft initiatives between picks tonight?
— Andrew Wagner (@ByAndrewWagner) June 3, 2019
Rob Manfred has been changing baseball constantly in the name of a false narrative of pace-of-play. That is why things like intentional walks are now just automatic walks. That is why the minors have designated runners in extra innings. Now, we need to tackle a “pace-of-draft” problem. The 78 picks took 5 hours and 12 minutes from the 7 pm start to the announcement of the final pick at No. 78 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. 5 hours, 12 minutes. Something needs to change. This means one of three options: a) shortening the clock to 3 minutes per pick in the 1st round; b) moving the broadcast to 6 pm instead of 7 pm; or c) enforcing the 5 minute clock and reducing MLB Network’s pageantry. The correct answer in everyone’s mind should be c. The 5 minute clock is fine, when enforced. It was not on Monday.
Pace of play more like pace of draft send tweet.
— Michael Bradburn (@MWBII) June 3, 2019
The MLB draft is one of the coolest events off the field during the season and one of the few the public can see in. (Many off-season dinners cannot be viewed.) To complain about pace-of-play on the field and not fix the draft’s sluggish pace is pure hypocrisy that needs to change for 2020.
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