Imagine how different the baseball landscape might be if only American League teams had access to players groomed in the minors.
While National League clubs could afford to hold on to only those draft picks who were ready for the majors within a year or two, their AL rivals would keep them on the farm while they matured. Young NL players slower to develop and subsequently released would either retire — their potential left a mystery — or wind up signing with a minor-league team affiliated with an AL franchise.
Over the course of decades, the disparity of depth and talent on senior rosters would become great enough that an NL World Series triumph likely would be celebrated as a historic rarity.
That far-fetched hypothetical is Major League Soccer's reality.
While the league's increased purchasing power has helped its clubs become more competitive at the market's upper end, there still isn't a reliable place to stash young pros who aren't yet ready for first-team action.