In the 37th round of the 2014 MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers selected Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes is the son of a former Major League pitcher, Pat Mahomes. We are now in the era of children of former MLB players now playing in the MLB. We have Fernando Tatis Jr., and Vladamir Guerrero Jr. It is too bad that we didn’t get to have Patrick Mahomes II join this exciting class of rookies.
It is nearly impossible to predict whether Mahomes would have cut it as a Major League pitcher. After playing in high school level, according to Baseball America, Mahomes was the No. 419 ranked prospect in 2014. That article also goes on to say that Mahomes touched 94 on the mound, and some scouts projected him better as a hitter.
With his draft ranking in the 400’s that would have Mahomes drafted somewhere around round 10. With his focus on football and commitment to Texas Tech, the Tigers were able to grab him in the 37th round.
Mahomes decided to move on to Texas Tech to play football. He gave baseball a shot as a freshman at Tech. Later he decided to give up the sport to focus on football. The rest is history.
Was that the best decision for him?
Baseball vs Football
Major League Baseball and the National Football League have very different contract structures. Baseball contracts are 100% guaranteed, while NFL contracts are only partially guaranteed.
According to Wikipedia, nine of the top ten contracts in overall value have gone to baseball players. Mike Trout recently signed a 12 year $426,500,000 contract, the largest in history.
|Name (MLB)||Salary||Name (NFL)||Salary|
|1||Stephen Strasburg||$38.3M||Russell Wilson||$35M|
|2||Max Scherzer||$37.4M||Ben Roethlisberger||$34M|
|3||Zach Greinke||$34.5M||Aaron Rodgers||$33.5M|
|4||Mike Trout||$34.1M||Matt Ryan||$30M|
|5||David Price||$31M||Kirk Cousins||$28M|
|6||Clayton Kershaw||$31M||Jimmy Garoppolo||$27.5M|
|7||Miguel Cabrera||$30M||Matthew Stafford||$27M|
|8||Yoenis Cespedes||$29M||Derek Carr||$25.005M|
|9||Justin Verlander||$28M||Drew Brees||$25M|
|10||Albert Pujols||$28M||Andrew Luck||$24.594M|
On a yearly level, the salaries are pretty similar. The average value of an MLB top 10 contract is $32.13M, while the average value of an NFL top 10 contract is $28.96M.
|Name (MLB)||Yrs||Value||Name (NFL)||Yrs||Value|
|1||Mike Trout||12||$426.5M||Andrew Luck||6||$140M|
|2||Bryce Harper||13||$330M||Calvin Johnson*||8||$132M|
|3||Giancarlo Stanton||13||$325M||Michael Vick*||10||$130M|
|4||Manny Machado||10||$300M||Jay Cutler*||7||$126.7M|
|5||Alex Rodriguez||10||$275M||Colin Kaepernick*||6||$126M|
|6||Nolan Arenado||8||$260M||Derek Carr||5||$125M|
|7||Alex Rodriguez||10||$252M||Joe Flacco*||6||$120.6M|
|8||Miguel Cabrera||8||$247M||Larry Fitzgerald||8||$120M|
|9||Robinson Cano||10||$240M||Carson Palmer*||9||$119.75M|
|10||Albert Pujols||10||$240M||Andy Dalton**||6||$115M|
*Released from their team prior to completing contract – did not receive full value.
**Donovan McNabb and Andy Dalton tied at #10 – but Dalton made more per year due to a contract of 6 years rather than McNabb’s 12 year deal.
Looking at those contracts – the top MLB contract is three times greater than the highest NFL contract value. The 10th highest MLB contract value almost doubles that of the highest NFL contract value.
It is also important to note that of the top 10 NFL contracts, six of those were ended prematurely – the athlete did not receive the full value of the contract.
Verdict: Baseball is a more lucrative option long-term.
Baseball 1, Football 0.
According to a study by the University of Colorado – Boulder, the average length of a Major League Baseball player is 5.6 years. The NFL Players Association claims that the average career length of an NFL player is just 3.3 years.
Verdict: Baseball players have a longer average career length.
Baseball 2, Football 0.
Baseball has a problem with creating superstars. The NFL has done a much better job of marketing its’ players and giving them a platform.
ESPN does a yearly ranking of the most famous athletes in the world. They take into account how often an athlete is searched for on the internet, the total amount of endorsement dollars they bring in, and the amount of followers they have on social media. Keep in mind, this is at an international level, and not based in the US alone. Of the 100 athletes on the list – there are seven football players – Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Odell Beckham Jr., Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt, and Russell Wilson. How many baseball players are there? Zero.
Verdict: Football is the sport that translates to more fame – look how boring Mike Trout is.
Baseball 2, Football 1.
It is really hard to quantify the numbers on injuries in these sports. On the surface baseball is probably the safer sport. Football has been widely criticized for how it has handled issues with head injuries and CTE. However, according to Stanford Children’s Health, baseball has the highest mortality rate among sports for children aged 5-14. In terms of total injuries – according to this sketchy article/blog – the NFL has 4-5 times as many injuries per game as MLB.
Verdict: Baseball is a safer sport, unless you are a kid, then you might die.
Baseball 3, Football 1.
If we looking at this just based on the information I have provided – then baseball is the clear winner here. Whenever you do anything you should try to be the best of the best. If Mahomes was the best of the best in baseball he would be worth half a billion dollars – while reducing his injury risk by 4-5 times as much.