Many news outlets began reporting at the end of last week that the MLB amateur draft would be limited to five rounds with the event being held over two days, June 10-11. Beyond the fifth round, teams can sign undrafted players, but the maximum signing bonus is $20,000. From most accounts, front offices wanted a longer draft, but the owners pushed back, as a cost-savings measure. It also allows some teams to continue to pay their employees.
Minnesota’s front office made decisions that cost the team multiple picks before they knew the draft was going to be shortened. The Twins lost their third-round pick for signing free agent Josh Donaldson as he rejected a qualifying offer from the Braves. Also, the club traded away their competitive balance second-round pick as part of the trade involving Kenta Maeda and Brusdar Graterol.
This leaves the Twins with their first-round pick (27th overall), second-round pick (59th overall), fourth round-pick (128th overall) and fifth-round pick (158th overall). Only having two picks in the top 127 players drafted is a tough pill to swallow, but so is only having four total picks. Fewer picks mean the Twins will have an even smaller bonus pool for signing players. Minnesota’s $4,528,600 bonus pool is the fourth smallest as they only rank above the Braves, Yankees, and Astros.
Another consideration for shortening the draft is there is little known about what kind of minor league season will be played in 2020. MLB might use the current pandemic to push for one item they have wanted, fewer affiliated minor league teams. One of Minnesota’s longest affiliates might not survive the current situation. Teams already have players in their system and the traditional 40-round draft doesn’t make sense if there aren’t multiple rookie league rosters to fill.
There will also be some tough decisions for draft-eligible players. If a player isn’t taken in the first five rounds, is it worth it to sign for $20,000? Many minor league players are already struggling to make ends meet and signing bonuses in previous years could help a player to have some financial stability before making it to the big leagues.
With that being said, some of these undrafted players are going to sign. Since there will be a larger pool than normal of undrafted players, this group will have more freedom to decide which organization to join. Players and agents can look up the farm system rankings for any team. As a player, would you want to go to play for the Twins, MLB.com’s 7th ranked farm system? Or would it make more sense to go and play for an organization in the bottom ranking’s bottom half with less resistance to the big leagues?
Minnesota isn’t the lone organization or group hurt by what is left of the 2020 MLB Draft. Other organizations, college seniors and some minorities will be facing an uphill battle to make their professional baseball dreams come true.
What are your thoughts on the changes to this year’s MLB Draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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