The coronavirus restrictions have forced the Los Angeles Dodgers to be creative in preparing for the 2020 draft.
With the 2020 MLB amateur draft scheduled to be held virtually in June, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been using Zoom meetings and truncated scouting reports to prepare for a draft that will be unlike any in modern history, according to the Los Angeles Times.
As MLB owners have searched for ways to save money amid the coronavirus pandemic, one area hit particularly hard has been the draft. Instead of the typical 40-round extravaganza, there will only be five rounds. And players who go undrafted can only sign for $20,000, effectively forcing them to return to an amateur setting until 2021.
Like the Major League Baseball season, amateur sports were shutdown across the country over the final weeks of March, effectively halting the richest part of the scouting season.
Los Angeles Dodgers are starting to rank players for their six draft picks.
As Dodger scouts find creative ways to rank players on their draft board, they have been communicating using Zoom meetings in deciding how they will use their six picks.
"“It’s really going to eliminate a lot of the creativity,” Director of Amateur Scouting for the Dodgers Billy Gasparino told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s going to be a challenge. It’s just those six picks. If you don’t spend the money, it doesn’t get spent.”"
The Dodgers have one pick in each of the five rounds, beginning with their 29th overall pick in the first round, plus an additional Competitive Balance Round B pick (66th overall) from the trade that sent Kenta Maeda to Minnesota in the offseason. With bonus pool allotments frozen to 2019 values, Los Angeles will have $5,928,400 to spend on their six picks.
The process of ranking the players begins on Monday for the Dodgers.
"“We have more time to really dig into the information, the video, the looks we have had that I think we’ll continue to happen,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told the Los Angeles Times. “And as we dig more, it obviously affects their rankings.”"
The Dodgers organization is considered “the model” in player development, as the machine churns out players like Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, and Gavin Lux each season. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the latest scouting challenge.
The draft is scheduled to be held June 10-11.