Yesterday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the 2020 MLB Draft will be shortened from 40 to 5 rounds. This decision comes into fruition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that is taking the sports world by storm. The draft news is a joint agreement between the MLB Players Association and Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Many baseball fans thought that the draft would get postponed until at least July 30th, however, this won’t be the case as the draft will now take place on June 10-11.
This year’s draft was scheduled to take place in Omaha, Nebraska following the College World Series but the odds of this happening in the COVID-19 environment is slim. One possibility would be Commissioner Rob Manfred holding a virtual draft, similar to the one held by the NFL.
The 2020 Major League Baseball draft will be five rounds, sources tell @kileymcd and me. All players who go undrafted would be eligible to sign for a maximum of $20,000. While there was a proposal to the union for a 10-round draft, the sides didn’t come to an agreement.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 8, 2020
In addition to the shortened rounds, all undrafted players will be eligible to sign for a maximum of $20,000 with an organization. To put this into perspective, the 6th round draft pick in the 2019 draft signed for $301,600. If a player decides to go this route, they could potentially be losing out on $280,000+ of their signing bonus/contract money.
On the other hand, hundreds of players sign for way less than the $20,000 threshold. Seniors, late round draft picks and free agents could possibly all fall under this category.
Because of MLB’s adjustment in the number of rounds in this year’s draft, College Baseball and Junior College (JuCo) will be flooded with high level talent. Projected late round high school and even JuCo draft picks will either advance or return to their respective teams to further develop their gameplay. Fringe and late round projected college draft picks can potentially stay another year to boost their draft stock.
Many players that were drafted in the later rounds have gone on to accomplish historic feats in the Major Leagues. Hall-Of-Famer Wade Boggs was selected in the 7th round. Strikeout king Nolan Ryan was selected by the New York Mets in round 12. The list doesn’t stop there as baseball greats such as Ken Griffey, Andy Pettitte, Raul Ibanez and Mike Piazza were all selected in the later rounds of the draft. It’s a shame that we are unable to see this kind of cinderella story by a player in this years draft.
This is certainly not the ideal scenario for Major League Baseball fans, but under the circumstances that the Nation is going through, this is the most effective way to go about it. Some baseball is better than no baseball. The Commissioner and Players Association should all be commended for there sense of practicality.
Baseball is the American pastime and during this time of need, I can think of no better respite than watching the great game of Baseball.
Photo Credit: Alex Trautwig / MLB via Getty Images