The Baseball Amateur draft (Rule 4 Draft) was created in 1965 to promote relative fairness and parity among Major League franchises by creating an orderly method of distributing amateur players to teams in reverse order of the prior season's standings. Though there were originally several phases of the draft, it has been narrowed to one in-season draft in June which is held after the College and High School baseball seasons are complete or near completion. The draft is larger than other Pro sport drafts in terms of drafting rounds. There are currently 40 and in the past, teams could pick as many players as they liked under the draft-and-follow rules which meant that teams could have until the following season to sign their players based on their performance. Currently, teams must sign their players by mid-August.
Players are influenced to sign with their drafting team with signing bonuses that influence the player to turn pro. Unsigned High School players may turn to Junior or 4-year Colleges and College Juniors may return to college for their senior year if they choose not to sign, hoping to increase their bonus the following year. MLB provides a suggested bonus for each slot and teams are now provided with a bonus pool (similar to a salary cap) from which they can sign their players. Unsigned players go back into the draft for the following year.
To be eligible for the draft, a player must fit the following criteria:
Find drafted players using the TBC Draft Research Tool