Fields of Dreams: On the Construction of Professional Baseball Talent in Colleges and the Minor League

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Advances in the Economics of Sport



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In the USA, college baseball is an important input into the production of major league players. It benefits the owners of major league teams by serving as a talent screening device and by saving on player development expenses. Prospective major league baseball players are drafted from high schools or colleges and assigned to a minor league club affiliated with the big league team which owns their contract. This paper investigates the impact of college baseball playing experience on player development time in professional baseball's minor leagues. Holding constant such factors as playing position, player performance, injuries and trades, it was found that prospects who extend their amateur baseball careers by attending a four-year college, advance to the majors nearly half a season more quickly than their teammates having only a high school or junior college sports background.

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