MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, speaking during the '11 MLB Draft last night in Secaucus, N.J., said once again he anticipates a hard-slotting system being implemented for draft pick compensation, as well as a worldwide draft. "I do believe there will be a hard-slotting system and a worldwide draft. I believe in them," Selig said, adding that clubs internally have overwhelmingly voted in favor of pursuing them. "Everybody [among clubs and management] is for slotting." The commissioner, however, did not say whether they will definitely happen in time for next year as a result of collective bargaining negotiations now occurring with the MLBPA, or even if the union will be receptive to the ideas. "Time will tell. ... But I'm confident we need it," Selig said. He added such a system would not necessarily result in a large wave of talented athletes choosing other sports due to pre-ordained compensation levels for baseball draftees. "The positives [with improved competitive balance] outweigh the negatives," he said (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). MLB.com's Mark Newman notes the "intent of hard-slotting would be to even the playing field for all clubs, fostering a system in which the top talents go to the teams with the first picks and eliminating the possibility of better players falling to teams that have larger budgets, due to bonus demands." When asked if he "thought a slotting system might hinder the ability to sign" multisport athletes in the future, Selig "shook his head." He said, "The clubs have voted, the GMs have voted, and everybody's for slotting" (MLB.com, 6/7).
INSIDE THE STUDIO: MLB Network broadcasted last night's Draft live for the third consecutive year from its Studio 42 in Secaucus. Similar to last year, the production included a one-hour pre-event show, look-ins to 22 team war rooms, up from 20 a year ago, and several HOFers on-site at MLB Network studios as team representatives. The Pirates selected UCLA P Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick, giving agent Scott Boras his third straight top overall selection following the Nationals taking P Stephen Strasburg in '09 and RF Bryce Harper a year ago. Despite the continued growth in the draft's prominence and importance, a MLB Network producer last night still sought to prompt the in-studio crowd to make more noise after Selig announced each pick, not unlike some other TV productions. His wording, however, generated some awkward laughter among the assembled fans. "Even if it's fake, it's good for TV," the producer said (Fisher).