The MLB Draft isn't like the NFL Draft or the NBA Draft — the players whose names are called at this year's draft won't be making an impact on your favorite team in six months. Therefore, it's not as sexy as the other big sports drafts. It even gets saddled with "the least watched draft" in headlines.
None of that means the MLB Draft — which begins Thursday at 7 p.m. ET and continues through Saturday — doesn't matter. Just that it's a longer-term investment and therefore a little tougher for the casual fan to digest. It's like planting a fruit tree that takes a few years (or maybe more) to mature. As such, there's a whole lot of info out there about the hundreds of hopeful players and where they might end up. We've assembled a batch of links below to get your ready for this year's draft. Read the essentials or soak it all in. Up to you.
You can watch the first two rounds of the draft Thursday on MLB Network and MLB.com. The draft starts up again at 1 p.m. ET Friday for rounds 3-10 and at 1 p.m. ET Saturday for rounds 11-40. You can listen along at MLB.com both days.
• Prospect list, get your prospect list. Here's MLB.com's top 100 prospects, headed by Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, who was previously selected by, but didn't sign with, the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. He returned to Stanford for his senior season instead.
• Mock drafts aren't just for football and basketball. Here's a combined mock draft featuring some of baseball's smartest prospect gurus. No Mel Kiper Jr., so that's something.
• Can't have a draft with a draft order. See when your favorite team is picking.
• Have fun with MLB.com's draft tracker, sorting players by rank, school, position, name, etc. It's minutes — and maybe even hours — of fun.
• Something newsy: Pitcher Jonathan Gray from the University of Oklahoma, who is a possibility to go No. 1 overall, tested positive for Adderall, it was reported earlier this week. Will a positive test for well, anything, hurt him, considering everything that's going on in baseball right now? We'll see, but the latest mock says he's "still looking like" the No. 1 pick.
• Here's the New York Times on why Appel, despite being the top arm, might not be the No. 1 pick.
• Read all about Clint Frazier, who was named Gatorade Player of the Year earlier this week. The Loganville, Ga. prep star is expected to be a high pick in the draft — and you might remember him for his red hair.
• Here are some other storylines to watch for in the draft. Read up, impress your friends.
• A must-follow on Twitter for the draft's duration is MLB.com prospect/draft expert Jonathan Mayo.
• Look back at the No. 1 picks from the last 20 years in this slideshow. Who makes you cringe?
• Bloodlines are probably more honored in baseball than any other major pro sport. Here are some of the prospects with surnames you might recognize — including Cavan Biggio, Kacy Clemens, Jacob Heyward, Torii Hunter Jr., Josh Pettitte, Manny Ramirez Jr. and Mike Yastrzemski.
• See where they're going: Jeff Passan's latest Prospect Heat column sizes up baseball's best farm system and tells you about other rising prospects.
• This isn't exactly a draft story, but it's a nice read about Ed Lucas, who finally made it to the big leagues after 10 years in the minors. Consider his story a reminder that beyond the fast-tracked future stars in the draft, there are many, many ballplayers for whom today is just the start of the fight to achieve their big-league dream.