Pushing the draft back to July because of the coronavirus has been on the table since March, but it appears the event will take place in its typical month after all. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the draft is still slated to occur June 10 – the date it was supposed to start in the first place – though it will be held virtually. Before the pandemic reared its ugly head, Omaha had been scheduled to host it from June 10-12.
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The fact that the draft will happen virtually will be just one of the unusual aspects of this year’s event (notably, the National Football League just completed its own virtual draft last weekend). Normally 40 rounds, MLB’s draft will last just five or 10 this summer, as Craig Mish of SportsGrid tweets. Major League Baseball and the MLBPA signed off on a truncated version in the agreement they reached a month ago.
A shortened draft will obviously have a significant effect on a large number of amateur players. For instance, some high schoolers may now be more inclined to play college baseball next season, while certain college juniors who might have entered a normal draft could stay in school for another year and try their luck in 2021. There will also be a deeper pool than ever of undrafted talent.
As part of their deal, the league and the union limited undrafted players’ signing bonuses to a maximum of $20K. Meanwhile, drafted players’ up-front money will be capped at $100K in 2020, with the rest to be distributed in two equal installments from 2021-22.