I'm ignorant: why would an international draft kill baseball in Latin America? I can sort of understand why, but give me a reasonable answer.
It wouldn't, and the proof of this is Cuba, where baseball is alive and very well despite the fact that Cuban ballplayers haven't had the economic incentive that is MLB international free agency in 50 years.
There is a line of reasoning though, based on the Puerto Rico experience, that elimination of international free agency will hurt
player development in Latin America. Puerto Rican players became subject to the draft in 1988. Prior to that, the number of Puerto Rican players in MLB was more or less the same as the number of Dominicans. Since the implementation of the draft, the number of Puerto Rican players has stagnated while the number of Dominicans and Venezuelans has exploded.
An international draft wouldn't necessarily have the same effect in other Latin countries, though. Mainly because the Latin players won't be competing against Americans for a finite number of draft picks, as the Puerto Rican players are forced to do. The disincentive to scout Puerto Ricans that developed following their inclusion in the draft won't develop for Domincans and Venezuelans because the teams aren't going to be forced to choose between raw Dominicans and more-polished Americans--there will be two separate drafts.
This really is all moot though. Its been all but dropped from the agenda because it is a logistical nightmare.
Edit: I want to add that while I don't necessarily agree with the theory that the international draft will kill baseball in Latin America, I am against the international because it will hurt baseball everywhere else, particularly in Europe, Brazil, and other regions where baseball is still a developing sport. Right now teams have an economic incentive to throw a little money at a guy like Rick Vandenhurk, develop him, and hope he can contribute to the MLB club at some point in the future. If an international draft is implemented, teams aren't going to use a pick on Vandenhurk if it means passing up on a more experienced Dominican.
Edited by Orel Miraculous, 30 October 2011 - 08:56 PM.