Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, there is no telling whether we’ll even get a Major League Baseball season this year. That uncertainty also affects important off-field events that include the amateur draft. The draft is still slated to take place from June 10-12, though nobody knows if it will actually occur this year.
As we noted last week, carrying on with the draft as scheduled would be the ideal scenario for the sport. Otherwise, the lives of many draft-eligible players could be thrown (even more) into chaos. How would a cancellation or postponement impact college juniors and seniors? How would it affect prospects who are about to graduate high school? Those players’ seasons – including those who would have participated in the College World Series – have already come to a halt because of this global catastrophe that has has put a stop to scouting.
Teams have less information on prospects than they normally would, but at least one executive is unfazed. That person told Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark of The Athletic (subscription link): “We’re not going to have an opportunity to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s. But we’ve got a lot of information. We’ve seen these guys play for a long time. We know who the top players are. Let’s just get ‘em in our system.”
A shorter draft (two to three rounds) could take place, as Rosenthal and Stark write, but such an event would require teams to readjust their draft pools and how they handle undrafted players. The players may not be gung-ho on the idea, anyway. One person on the union’s side told Rosenthal and Stark that it would be a “colossal error” to go in that direction.
How to proceed with the draft is one of numerous difficult situations for which the league is going to have to find an answer. We’d all like to see the draft happen on time. Otherwise, though, MLB will have to push the festivities back to later this year or perhaps even combine this draft with the 2021 version.
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