Format changes, and a new debate

Updated: May 5, 2010, 7:31 AM ET
By Jason A. Churchill

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced changes to the draft structure -- again.

It will still be a three-day event, starting Monday, June 7 in the evening. But unlike last year, the first day will consist only of the first round and initial compensation round; that's a total of 50 selections as opposed to 111 first-day picks a year ago.

So from now on when we say "first-day" talent, or something of that nature, we are talking about a Top 50 pick. The time between picks in round one remains at five minutes with one minute between each compensation round pick. Among the first 50 selections, the Los Angeles Angels have five selections -- thanks to the losses of free agents John Lackey and Chone Figgins. The Toronto Blue Jays have four, one for failing to sign LHP James Paxton a year ago, and two for the loss of free agent Marco Scutaro.

The Boston Red Sox have three of the Top 50 picks, essentially trading lefty closer Billy Wagner for Lackey and moving up nine slots in the first round. Houston, Texas and Tampa also have multiple first-round picks.

You can find the complete first round draft order right here.

Prep athlete vs. Prep bat

One interesting conversation I had in recent days, with an agent for a player selected last summer, is the prep bat versus the prep athlete debate.

It's not necessarily one that is brought up much, but basically it's a belief system -- and a battle between upside risk and adding the most important single tool to the farm system.