Last year saw the MLB Draft held on location at the All-Star Game for the first time ever, with ESPN and MLB Network both carrying Day 1 coverage live from Denver. The draft will be at the All-Star Game location again this year, this time in Los Angeles, and both ESPN and MLBN will be broadcasting Day 1 (Sunday, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern) again, with MLBN’s coverage also carried on MLB.com.
An interesting part of MLB Network’s Day 1 (the first two rounds, compensatory rounds, and competitive balance rounds) coverage announced Wednesday builds on how they had Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin as part of their Day 1 coverage last year. They’ll continue with the active coaches this year. This time around, Tennessee’s Tony Vitello (seen at left above) and UCLA’s John Savage (seen at right above) will join MLBN coverage live on location Sunday. Georgia Tech’s Danny Hall, Louisville’s Dan McDonnell, and TCU’s Kirk Saarloos will also provide player analysis segments throughout the draft:
.@Vol_baseball head coach Tony Vitello and @UCLABaseball head coach John Savage to join @MLBNetwork’s @MLBDraft coverage this Sunday, July 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Full information: pic.twitter.com/i1GsrbDWFn
— MLB Network PR (@MLBNetworkPR) July 13, 2022
The MLB Network coverage will also feature a number of feature segments on prospects. Here are some of those, from a release:
MLB Network’s Draft coverage will include a variety of special features, including Harold Reynolds sitting down with Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee and his father Larry, the head coach of the Mustangs; the growing bond between Mays High School shortstop standout Termarr Johnson and National League (Miami Marlins) All-Star starting shortstop Jazz Chisholm Jr; MLB Network’s Alanna Rizzo visiting Stillwater, Oklahoma for a chat with seven-time MLB All-Star Matt Holliday and his son Jackson, the star shortstop from Stillwater High School; and a conversation with Georgia natives and projected top picks Cam Collier and Termarr Johnson.
And the draft itself has nine scheduled prospect attendees, impressive considering that only 55 amateur players have ever attended the draft. There will also be quite a list of former players, managers, and executives representing clubs:
The nine scheduled attendees include left-handed pitcher Brandon Barriera from American Heritage High School (FL); outfielder Justin Crawford from Bishop Gorman High School (NV); second baseman Termarr Johnson from Mays High School (GA); first baseman Ivan Melendez from the University of Texas; right-handed pitcher Jacob Miller from Liberty Union High School (OH); shortstop Zach Neto from Campbell University; catcher Kevin Parada from Georgia Tech; right-handed pitcher JR Ritchie from Bainbridge High School (WA); and outfielder Sterlin Thompson from the University of Florida.
The decorated list of baseball personnel scheduled to attend includes Hall of Famer, seven-time All-Star, three-time World Series Champion, 1981 AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner Rollie Fingers; five-time All-Star, World Series Champion and 1994 All-Star Game MVP Fred McGriff; five-time All-Star and 1982 NL Rookie of the Year Steve Sax; three-time All-Star, 1984 NL Cy Young Award winner and 1979 NL Rookie of the Year Rick Sutcliffe; two-time All-Star and 1989 NL Most Valuable Player Kevin Mitchell; and former Major League managers Clint Hurdle and Jack McKeon.
Other former All-Stars who will represent Clubs are (alphabetically): Michael Bourn (HOU); Eric Davis (CIN); Jermaine Dye (CWS); Shawn Green (TOR); Steve Kemp (DET); Mike Lieberthal (PHI); Mark Loretta (SD); JJ Putz (ARI); Reggie Sanders (KC); Bill Stoneman (LAA); Nick Swisher (NYY); and Rickie Weeks (MIL).
So this all fits into a growing focus on prospect coverage at MLB Network, including more than 10 hours of on-site coverage of the MLB/USA Baseball Draft Combine last month. We’ll see how their draft coverage goes this year.
MLB Network Draft coverage will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern Sunday with a one-hour preview, with draft coverage proper beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern. Coverage of Days 2 and 3 of the draft will be carried exclusively on MLB.com, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern on both Monday and Tuesday.
[Left photo from Saul Young/The Knoxville News-Sentinel, via USA Today Sports; right photo from Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser, via USA Today Sports]