The 2020 MLB Draft will be a remote one, which outside of a few changes isn’t generally much different than in most years.
Per multiple reports, the first round plus Competitive Balance Round A, 37 total picks in all, will be held Wednesday, June 10, with the rest of the draft, Rounds 2-5, on June 11. Both days will be televised by MLB Network, per J.J. Cooper at Baseball America.
We’ve already seen what a virtual draft looks like, thanks to the WNBA and NFL providing the playbook for a remote, video draft during a pandemic. Those sports, especially football, have the benefit of their players being known commodities, especially at the top of the draft.
The MLB Draft isn’t like that. There are high school players that the general public aren’t familiar with, and even college baseball players are relative unknowns, especially when compared to football and basketball players. There’s also the longer developmental nature of baseball, with likely no players drafted going straight to the major leagues.
In normal years, the MLB Draft is a three-day event, with only the first two rounds an in-studio affair, and even then only a handful of players attend in person. Last year, only four amateur players were at the MLB Network studios for the draft, for instance. The rest of the draft is essentially listening in to a league-wide conference call, so we have basically been preparing to watch a virtual draft for years.
In the case a player refuses to take a physical and the team is unwilling to complete the deal without one, teams will receive a compensatory pick in the 2021 draft if the player was taken in the top three rounds. There will be no compensation for fourth- and fifth-round picks.
Internally, things might be more different for the teams involved.
Like the NFL Draft, the head of baseball operations for every team -- either president or GM -- will be sent a video it and will be on camera with no audio during the MLB Draft, according to the memo— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 15, 2020
But if anything, getting to see each team’s remote setup only adds to the watchability of the draft. We might even get to rank the baseball operations department’s home setups like we saw in the NFL Draft.
Which baseball executive is going to try to outdo Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury?
I don’t care much what Andrew Friedman’s remote setup looks like for the Dodgers. I only hope he wears the same robe he wore during the winter meetings in 2018.
Checking in with Andrew Friedman at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/qbbwiPE51m— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 11, 2018
The Dodgers have six picks in the 2020 draft, including a Competitive Balance Round B pick, 66th overall, they acquired from the Twins in the Kenta Maeda trade. Their total bonus pool is just over $5.9 million, including a $2.4 million slot value for their first-round pick, 29th overall.
MLB teams can sign an unlimited number of undrafted free agents, but only for a maximum bonus of $20,000, per multiple reports. Such players cannot be contacted by teams until 6 a.m. PT on June 14.
2020 MLB Draft info
- Round 1: Wednesday, June 10, 4 p.m. PT
- Rounds 2-5: Thursday, June 11, 2 p.m.
- TV: MLB Network