College Or Pros What Pays For Young Baseball Players

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If your son is a professional baseball prospect, you might want to know what makes more sense for him: continue playing at the collegiate level, or turn pro right away. The price where it pays to go pro might surprise you.

Of the four major U.S. sports, only baseball and basketball draft high school and college players together. However, the basketball draft lasts only two rounds and includes players from overseas professional leagues, while baseball provides far more opportunities. The Amateur Baseball Draft lasts ten rounds and includes only high school and college players.

While baseball offers immediate professional opportunities to high school graduates, a minor leaguer ballplayer usually needs three or four years of seasoning to be ready for the major league roster. A player who signs a contract in 2007 and immediately reported to a Rookie League or Class A team should be on the major league roster on or before the 2010 season.

First year salaries for a minor league ballplayer range from $850 a month for the first contract season to $2,150 when the player reaches Triple-A, one level below the major leagues. Given the low salaries, the decision to skip college has to depend on the player’s signing bonus and the quality of the college programs that are offering scholarships. It might not pay for a ballplayer to pass on a top college program if the academics are strong enough to help them with life after baseball.

What is a good guideline for a signing bonus for a high school baseball player?

My rule of thumb is that the signing bonus should equal or exceed the projected cost of four years of college plus the major league minimum salary. This assumes the player would remain in college through his senior year

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