To Draft or Not to Draft? For The Dominican Republic, the Answer is Not to Draft.

Blog by Emily Zahran, Junior Associate

How often does one Google the word “baseball”? In America, baseball ranks as the third most popular sport behind football and basketball.[1] In the Dominican Republic however, baseball is everything.[2] The 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season had more Dominican players than players from any other country (besides the US) at a whopping eleven percent which totaled one hundred and four players.[3] In 2022, baseball was searched on Google enough times for the Dominican Republic to be ranked third in the world, with no mention of where the United States ranks.[4]

Baseball for Dominicans is not the same as baseball for American born players. For Dominican players the diamond is “often viewed as a path to instant riches”.[5] The MLB follows the Rule 4 Draft which is the official term for the First-Year Player Draft. [6] This is an amateur draft held annually.[7] To be eligible for the draft, players must be a resident of the United States, Puerto Rico, or Canada.[8] Dominican players enter the league through International Free Agency. The MLB International Free Agency system is not considered a draft and therefore players in the Dominican Republic are subject to different rules than the Rule 4 Draft.

The MLB and the Major League Players Association (MLBPA) had until July 25, 2022, to agree to the implementation of an annual International Draft which would have been held in 2024 for the first time.[9]  The purpose of the International Draft would be to minimize the corruption surrounding the current international signing process but the MLB and MLBPA did not come to an agreement by the deadline.[10]

There is much uncertainty surrounding the implementation of an International Draft. However, many feel that the International Draft will benefit players and pave the way for a new baseball signing process. Although the current system may be corrupt; it continues to change lives in both the United States and the Dominican Republic. Though imperfect, the benefits of the current system outweigh the costs of the international draft as proposed.


[1] Stars, Stripes and Sports: America’s Top 20 Sports in 2023, AEON (May, 27, 2023),,100%20million%20annual%20television%20viewers.

[2] Logan Stanley, Baseball Has Huge On-and-Off-the-Field Impact in the Dominican Republic, CRONKITE News (Sept. 5, 2023),

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] MLB Rule 4 Draft, (last visited Apr. 10, 2024).

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Jared Yaggie, Note, The International MLB Draft: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives, 91 Univ. of Cincinnati L. Rev. (2023).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *