Major League Baseball will hold day one of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday, June 5th at MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey. The Draft will begin live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 7:00 p.m. (ET). Prior to the start of the Draft, MLB Network will air a Draft preview show, also simulcast on MLB.com, at 6:00 p.m. (ET).
The selection order of the First-Year Player Draft is determined by the reverse order of finish at the close of the previous championship season. The Houston Astros will have the first overall selection of the 2014 Draft, marking the third consecutive year, and the fifth time in Club history, that they hold the top selection (previous: 1976, 1992, 2012, 2013). It marks the first time ever that a Club has the top pick in three consecutive years. In addition, the Astros are the third Club in history to hold the top selection at least five times, joining the New York Mets and San Diego Padres (five each).
Six Clubs - the Toronto Blue Jays (9th and 11th), the Kansas City Royals (17th and 28th), the Cincinnati Reds (19th and 29th), the Cleveland Indians (21st and 31st), the Boston Red Sox (26th and 33rd) and the St. Louis Cardinals (27th and 34th) - have two selections in the first round. The Indians, Miami Marlins and Royals each have a League-high four selections within the first 68 picks during the opening day of the Draft.
The Draft will once again feature Competitive Balance rounds, which were agreed upon as a part of the 2012-2016 Basic Agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The Competitive Balance rounds give Clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery, which was held last July. The 10 Clubs with the lowest revenues and the 10 Clubs in the smallest markets were entered into a lottery for the six selections immediately following the first round of the First-Year Player Draft (picks 35-41; excluding pick 36, which Miami holds as compensation for an unsigned 2013 selection). The eligible Clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee Clubs under the Revenue Sharing Plan, were entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the second round of the Draft (picks 69-74).
The Draft will have 40 rounds, and a Club may pass on its selection in any round and not forfeit its right to participate in other rounds. Like each of the previous five years, the 2014 Draft will span three days. For day one on June 5th, MLB Network and MLB.com will provide live pick-by-pick coverage during the first round, Competitive Balance Round A, the second round and Competitive Balance Round B. The intervals between selections will last four and a half minutes during the first round and one minute during Competitive Balance Round A, the second round and Competitive Balance Round B. The Draft will resume at 1:05 p.m. (ET) on both Friday, June 6th and Saturday, June 7th via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York City. Friday, June 6th will cover rounds three through 10, and Saturday, June 7th will cover rounds 11 through 40. Rounds three through 10 will have one minute between selections, and the remainder of the selections will be made without delays.
Beginning with the Draft preview show, MLB Network's live coverage will feature news, analysis, interviews with Club front office personnel and representatives, footage from Club draft rooms, and features and interviews with prospects and newly drafted players. MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Peter Gammons, John Hart, Harold Reynolds and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo will anchor the live coverage with contributions from MLB Network's Cliff Floyd, Dan Plesac, Bill Ripken, Sam Ryan, Tom Verducci, Heidi Watney and Matt Yallof, as well as Jim Callis of MLB.com and John Manuel of Baseball America.
MLB.com will begin its exclusive live programming of the Draft's final two days with a live draft show from its New York studios at 12:30 p.m. (ET) on June 6th, followed by a live pick-by-pick stream and draft and scouting expert commentary from Mayo and Callis. It also will provide Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of more than 1,500 draft-eligible players with statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. On Twitter, the official Draft Twitter account, @MLBDraft, will provide up-to-the-moment updates and commentary while @MLBDraftTracker will tweet all picks as they are made.
Each of the 30 Major League Clubs will be represented at the Draft by one of its former players and/or a member of its front office. Last year's representatives included Hall of Famers George Brett, Senator Jim Bunning and Tommy Lasorda, along with World-Series winning manager Tony La Russa, 14-time All-Star Ivan Rodriguez and two-time A.L. MVP Frank Thomas. The Club representatives who will attend the 2014 Draft will be announced in the weeks ahead. In addition to the Club representatives, eight first round selections attended the Draft last year, including the number five overall pick Clint Frazier.