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The Major League Baseball Draft takes place every June. Also known as the Rule 4 draft, this is a 3-day event of 40 rounds (current format) that assigns eligible North American amateur players to Major League Franchises. An Amateur player is one who is not paid to play baseball and in the case of the draft, is almost always High School players and eligible college players. Eligiblity is based on graduation status for High School (must have graduated), location of institution (US,Canada or Puerto Rico) and his college class. For college players, those at a 4-year college must be at least 3-years into their education or the draft must be after their 21st birthday. In all cases, players may not have already signed a pro contract. Previously drafted players may be re-drafted provided they did not sign a contract with the drafting team. Players in Junior College may be drafted at any time.
Earlier drafts were divided into different phases that were spread out among the year and served different purposes. In addition, earlier drafts had varying amounts of rounds with some seasons allowing for teams to pick players until they decided they had enough. In these drafts, you will not see all teams picking in later rounds. The June Regular phase is always considered the main phase and is the only phase that still remains. The Rule 5 draft is not an amateur draft as it is concerned with movement of professional players.
Teams have until a pre-determined deadline to sign their players and it not uncommon for players to be drafted multiple times over their amateur career. Players will receive a signing bonus upon their signing, used as incentive and reward for the player to sign. Teams are given a pre-determined cap for signing bonuses of players in the top 10 rounds and therefore it not uncommon for teams to draft players based on signability and expected signing demands to be sure to stay under the cap. The draft order is determined by the prior season's standings with some modifications and additional picks inserted for compensation of free agent signings.
Unlike other leagues, the draft takes place during the MLB season but at the conclusion of the Amateur season which usually ends between May and June for leagues. The draft timing allows these amateur players to join their MLB Franchise's farm system and participate in short-season leagues that begin in late June. As players sign, they usually join a lower level rookie level or A-level team. It is uncommon for a player, even a top draft pick to go directly to the Major Leagues, or even get promoted to the parent MLB team during their first pro season. There is an adjustment period to the Pro leagues for the amateur players with respect to travel, accomodations and quality of play, even for the Division I picks out of the top conferences. College Players (Especially Division I) will generally start higher in the organization due to their age and experience.
TBC has the complete history of the draft with lots of dimensional data on each pick such as type of school, division of school, class of player, location of school, whether player signed or not, nth time being signed, signing bonus (if available) and conference of school. All this in addition to the expected fields such as year,round,overall,phase. The DRAFT REGISTER data product is an excellent resource that is loadable into Excel for draft history analysis. It contains every pick in the history of the draft since 1965.