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Major League Baseball (MLB): Change the rules on amateur MLB draft; make it a “Fair Play"

This petition had 340 supporters

Baseball needs to begin a world draft similar to the NBA & NHL. To my understanding if a Cuban player defects their country they can go to Mexico or any latin american country & sign with whatever [MLB] club they prefer. This is how they can avoid the MLB draft & get a BIG contract.

   If theres a talented young amateur latin american player with a potential to make it to the BIG leagues they can also sign with the team of their choice. While a drafted player from the US/Canada/Puerto Rico or any US territories has to go thru the amateur draft process and work their way up the minors league system.

Congressmen Jose E. Serrano (Bronx-NY) wrote the following

In a letter sent to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Congressman Serrano asked Commissioner Selig to reconsider Major League Baseball's policy for signing prospective players from Puerto Rico. In the letter Serrano expressed his opinion that including Puerto Rican players in the regular draft keeps them from having the opportunity to fully realize their potential.

Serrano expressed his concern that this was damaging the popularity of baseball on the island and that in the future it could drastically reduce the number of Puerto Rican players in the Major Leagues. He suggested that this would not be good for either Puerto Rico or baseball and asked that MLB work together with people from Puerto Rico on ways to improve support for baseball on the island.

April 24, 2008

Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
777 East Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 3060
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Dear Commissioner Selig:

As we discussed at a recent Congressional hearing, I am concerned about whether Puerto Rico is being unfairly caught in limbo between the process for recruiting players that exists in the rest of the Caribbean and the one that prevails in the rest of the United States. Puerto Rican players have made great contributions to the history of baseball and I think that it is important that we nurture this important source of talent and encourage their continued contributions to the game.

Prior to 1990 players from Puerto Rico were free agents, which is how foreign players continue to be treated. Since 1990, however, Puerto Rican players have been drafted. Now after 20 years, I think that we can clearly see that this change in signing policies has not been in the best interest of either Puerto Rico or Major League Baseball. If we do not act, I am afraid that in ten years we will be wondering what happened to the Puerto Rican ballplayer, and the lack of Puerto Rican major leaguers could dampen enthusiasm for the game on the island.

Because of the unique combination of its relationship to the United States and its location in the Caribbean Puerto Rico faces a unique set of challenges in encouraging its aspiring baseball players to succeed. One particular challenge is that in recent years players drafted out of college have been significantly more successful at reaching the major leagues than have been players drafted out of high school. However, because of language barriers a much smaller percentage of Puerto Rican players attend college on the mainland. Therefore, they miss out on the opportunity to develop their skills at this level and the attendant prospects for national exposure.

To address this situation I believe that baseball should begin by ending the draft in Puerto Rico and return to free agency. After that has been done, Major League Baseball should work actively with interested Puerto Rican players and other baseball people on the island to develop programs that encourage participation in baseball at all levels. Steps should also be taken to ensure that the best players have the opportunity to develop the skills they will need to succeed at the highest level. In short, I think that baseball can help to improve the game by taking into account the various challenges and opportunities presented by different areas throughout the United States and around the world. This awareness of local conditions will allow for innovative solutions that increase participation in baseball at all levels.

As an ardent baseball fan, I appreciate the efforts Major League Baseball has made to expand the sport outside of its traditional areas and welcome the improvements this brings to the game. However, as we do this, we should continue to strengthen the sport in its traditional hot beds from the sand lots and pastures of the United States to the island of Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean.


José E. Serrano
Member of Congress

The World Baseball Classic was held in March 2013. The Puerto Rican national team made the[WBC] finals. However it was no match vs the powerful Dominican line up. Despite Puerto Rico's ability to make to the final. It is safe to say their team [Puerto Rico] was probably a triple A roster while the Dominican roster can be compared as Dream team next to the opponent they faced in WBC Final.

Venezuela has superstars in Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, Johan Santana. Dominicans have Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, *Albert Pujols, Nelson Cruz & other great ones I did not name here.

*Albert Pujols was drafted in 13th round in the 1999 MLB draft. At the time he was living in Independence, Mo. (Who wouldn't want their team to have a chance to draft him)

The island is a country that produced great athletes such as Roberto Clemente, Juan Gonzales, Ivan“Pudge"Rodriguez, Carlos Delgado, Edgar Martinez. The island has also seen a decline since the change of the draft rules in 1990
Here's how the unfair game works Major League Baseball holds two drafts each year. In June, the First-Year Player Draft, MLB's entry draft, takes place. “ONLY PLAYERS FROM CANADA, THE U.S. or A U.S. TERRITORY MAY BE DRAFTED; players from elsewhere are free agents and can be signed by any team. Draftees are high-school graduates who have opted not to go to college; college baseball players at four-year institutions who have played three years or turned 21; or junior college baseball players. The draft lasts up to 50 rounds. The MLB Draft generally receives less attention than the drafts in other American sports, since drafted players usually spend several years in the minor leagues before they crack the Major League team's roster. Also, unlike the MLS, NFL, NBA and the NHL Drafts, the MLB Draft takes place during the season instead of in the offseason.

Here's another stat of decline of unfair game Dominican players are able to sign with major league organizations as early as 16 years of age. For the 2003 season, there were 38 versus 79 on the Major League rosters that came from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, respectively.

Canada has also brought great ball players to MLB Larry Walker, Éric Gagné, Joey Votto Justin Morneau.

Please join me in asking MLB to change these rules and play a fair game with everyone.

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