Despite the MLB season being on hold due to the coronavirus, the 2020 MLB Draft will proceed as normal. Well, not quite as normal.
The draft will still take place in June, but there will only be five rounds, which is significantly down from the standard 40 rounds. Players who go undrafted will be eligible to sign as free agents, but only for a maximum draft bonus of $20,000.
News of the draft alteration was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel.
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
Not surprisingly, the length of the draft was a source of debate, not only between the two sides (the players and the owners), but even between the owners.
The 10-round proposal the union rejected included an interesting twist: essentially it was two five-round drafts. Meaning teams would not have been allowed to use slot money from R6-10 to pay guys in R1-5. Proposal also limited the number of undrafted players teams could sign.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 8, 2020
The San Francisco Giants will have seven selections in the five-round draft: Their own five picks, plus compensatory selections for the free agent departures of Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith.
Here’s how their slot money shakes out:
MLB Draft will be limited to five rounds.— GPT (@giantsprospects) May 8, 2020
Giants bonus pool:
1R (13): 4,197,300
2R (49): 1,507,600
Comp (67): 976,700
Comp (68): 953,100
3R (85): 710,700
4R (114): 507,400
5R (144): 379,000
NDFA can only be signed for a max of $20,000 (previously 125K).
This will certainly have an impact on prospects and farm systems, and will especially change things for the players who would have been selected in the middle portions of the draft — the players who won’t be taken in a five-round draft, but would have received a signing bonus comfortably in excess of $20,000.
We’re still missing some details, and we’ll have to wait and see how some pieces fall, but it certainly feels like this will have a negative impact on the players who make up the future of the sport.