Major League Baseball and the Players Association agreed on a framework for the 2020 draft. Once again, the Astros get off easy.
With Major League Baseball working out the logistics of a season with an undetermined start date, one lingering question has been what to do about the 2020 amateur draft.
Originally scheduled for June, there has been uncertainty over whether it still made sense to conduct the draft, considering scouts have been grounded during prime scouting season, amateur leagues have been shutdown, and public safety remains a top concern in preparing for events with large gatherings of people.
However, with the logistics of canceling the draft perhaps even more complicated, MLB and the Players Association have agreed on a framework to hold the draft sometime in July, per Kiley McDaniel of ESPN.
Under the terms of the agreement, the 2020 draft would likely be ten rounds, and possibly only five rounds, a drastic cut from the usual 40-round marathon that takes place every year.
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The most significant factor in deciding whether to reschedule or cancel the draft has been how to account for bonus money while cash flow is limited without normal revenue streams during the coronavirus shutdown. The agreement would defer bonuses in 2020 (10% upfront), according to the report, and then pay 45% in July 2021 and the final 45% in July 2022. Bonuses for undrafted players could possibly be capped at $10,000. As McDaniel noted in his original reporting, “[this] could push lost of high school talent to college, middle-tier college talent to return to school.”
What does this mean for the Dodgers?
Well, if you are still bitter about the Astros sign-stealing their way to the 2017 World Series title (and how could you not be?), it means, once again, the Astros get off easy.
After the players were granted immunity for “cooperating” with MLB’s investigation, besides general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch, the consequences for their cheating have been limited. The harshest form of penalty supposed to be coming in the draft, with the Astros losing their first and second rounds picks in both 2020 and 2021.
With less talent entering the 2020 draft, it essentially shifts a cohort of prospects to 2021 and beyond. Thus, the Astros will have a deeper class to choose from in 2021 to make up for their loss of early round picks. And remember, the Astros didn’t only lose picks over the next two drafts, they lost the corresponding bonus money. By potentially diluting the prospect pool in 2020, and capping the amount undrafted players can make to an unattractive number, it means that lost bonus money won’t feel as restrictive as it would have before.
The Dodgers are set to pick 29th in the first round of the 2020 draft. They also have an extra second round pick (#67), acquired in the wild saga that become the offspring of the Mookie Betts deal when they ended up sending Kenta Maeda to Minnesota. That means they will have three selections in the first 67 picks (29, 61, and 67). Considering the 2021 draft will likely be deeper, you can look at this two ways: one, the Dodgers are fortunate to have additional picks in the early rounds to grab the talent that is available this year; or, two, it could devalue the pick they received from Minnesota since fewer prospects are likely to enter the draft based on the new rules.
A lot of factors to consider and we will know more once the final details become available, so check back for more analysis in the future.