The MLB draft is feeling the influence of social media

first_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter LOS ANGELES – Billy Gasparino, the Dodgers’ draft director, said his wife gets a good laugh out of his social media habits.“I haven’t posted anything once but I’m on all the time,” Gasparino said. “She’s rolling her eyes at me like I’m a teenage kid.”In 2019, even an amateur scouting director can’t ignore the wealth of freely available video clips shared by college and (especially) high school baseball prospects. Social media has become a free resource, a scouting addendum of sorts for every team’s war room.Its influence will be felt this week during Major League Baseball’s amateur draft, which begins at 4 p.m. Pacific Time Monday. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings center_img The first two rounds will be held Monday night and shown on MLB Network. The draft will continue with Round 3 beginning 10 a.m. Tuesday and end with Round 40 on Wednesday.The Angels hold the 15th pick in Round 1. The Dodgers will draft 25th and 31st, the latter pick awarded as compensation for losing last year’s first-round draft pick, pitcher J.T. Ginn, who chose to attend Mississippi State.The Baltimore Orioles hold the number-1 pick. Adley Rutschman, a catcher from Oregon State, is expected to be the first player off the board. The Beavers were eliminated from the College World Series on their home turf Saturday, but Rutschman has already demonstrated his greatness: a 1.344 on-base plus slugging percentage, including 17 home runs, in his junior season behind the plate.UCLA first baseman Michael Toglia could become the first local college player to leave the board. The junior had a .316 batting average with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games through Saturday. UCLA second baseman Chase Strumpf might follow soon after.Gasparino believes the draft will favor college hitters and high school pitchers, at least in the early rounds. And the same information explosion that benefits an amateur scout is benefitting amateur players, too. Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone “It used to be California, Florida, Texas where guys were stronger, bigger, faster, better instructed. I think that’s been one of the benefits of all this: it’s opened the country up.”Want proof? Look no further than the Angels’ and Dodgers’ recent drafts.Angels general manager Billy Eppler used his last two first-round draft picks on high school outfielders from North Carolina (Jordyn Adams in 2018) and Kentucky (Jo Adell in 2017). Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman selected Ginn from a Mississippi high school last year.And while three California high schoolers were chosen in the first round in 2017, and four a year ago, ESPN’s Keith Law did not project a single California high school player to be drafted in the first round in his latest mock draft. Other mock drafts project Eastlake High School third baseman Keoni Cavaco to be chosen as high as 15th, by the Angels.While social media might not unearth a never-before-seen draft prospect, Gasparino said the right video might cause him to give a player already on his radar a second look. He said the Dodgers’ draft team has a Twitter account specifically devoted to following draft picks; he checks the account daily.“You’re surprised at how many guys are out there at the high school level (for whom the Dodgers) have film of these guys,” he said.Just don’t expect the account to tweet its intentions for the draft. “The information, the instruction – just the information out there is more,” Gasparino said. “They can find anything they want through Google, Twitter or Instagram: drills, packages, hitting devices. They can go the other way too much, but I think the information is better. We’re seeing more advanced high school players from all areas of the country.Related Articleslast_img