USA Baseball and Major League Baseball jointly announced today the creation of the Prospect Development Pipeline. The voluntary program will establish an official identification and player assessment pathway for elite high school age (16-18) amateur baseball players in the United States to all 30 MLB Clubs.
The 2017 program schedule will include 17 Prospect Development Pipeline Premier Events, which will be conducted as single day workouts regionally across the country, and a National Scout Team Championship event. The program will provide an unparalleled experience to amateur athletes with direct exposure to representatives of all 30 Clubs. All participants will receive Prospect Development Pipeline Player Manuals containing educational information and resources as well as a post-event evaluation with a fully personalized athletic assessment. The events will be supported by MLB Advanced Media with player highlights and interviews being conducted at Premier locations. Games at the National Scout Team Championship event will be streamed on MLB.com.
All Prospect Development Pipeline events will be held on an invite-only basis and athletes will participate in the program free of charge.
"Major League Baseball strives to be a steward to the amateur game, and the launch of the Prospect Development Pipeline marks a promising new chapter of this longstanding commitment," said Chris Marinak, Senior Vice President of League Economics and Strategy, Major League Baseball. "The Prospect Development Pipeline program will offer direct opportunities for the next generation of players to receive the most comprehensive exposure to MLB Clubs possible."
The structure of the 2017 Prospect Development Pipeline events provides a streamlined service for athletes to maximize their exposure to MLB Clubs and their scouts by conducting regionalized, professional workouts where they can be evaluated. The first workouts will occur prior to the start of the 2017 high school baseball season. The Prospect Development Pipeline is being created in cooperation with the MLB Scouting Bureau who will oversee the athlete evaluations and will file official player reports on all attendees. This process will yield an official Draft ID number for all participants in MLB's eBIS 2 system.
"USA Baseball has a rich history of preparing our country's top amateurs for the next levels of play," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "The 2017 season of the Prospect Development Pipeline will mark another great milestone in that tradition. The planned roll out over the next few years will redefine the path players take to reach their full potential."
A steering group will help shape the direction of the Prospect Development Pipeline by continually molding a strategic vision that will redefine the evolving amateur landscape. The group will assist in optimizing the program's potential for both the amateur players as well as the MLB Clubs. The group will be comprised of MLB Club General Managers, Assistant General Managers, Special Assistants, Scouting Directors, MLB staff and USA Baseball personnel.
The Prospect Development Pipeline will be fully compliant with Pitch Smart guidelines in an effort to work towards longer, healthier careers for amateur pitchers. Pitch Smart principles will also be included in Prospect Development Pipeline Player Manuals, as will information from the USA Baseball Online Education Center, the home for free educational content from Team USA.
The official Prospect Development Pipeline website will be www.MLBPDP.com and will launch in early 2017.