How will MLB Draft picks work in 2020? Explaining the format changes for shortened baseball draft

Sporting News

From Omaha to living rooms, the MLB Draft is going on as planned.

There are many changes coming to the 2020 MLB Draft, most of those changes due to the coronavirus pandemic that has stopped the sport globally. The most forward-facing change to the draft is the amount of rounds dwindled from 40 to five.

Slot values for the draft are still in place from 2019, with the 3.5 percent increase tabled between MLB and the MLBPA, reflecting on the increase in MLB revenue. Now, with just five rounds, players originally slotted for six figures getting a potential $20,000 payday instead.

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Here's what you need to know about this year's draft:

MORE: What to know about the 2020 MLB Draft

How will the MLB Draft work in 2020?

The coronavirus has drastically altered the way the 2020 MLB Draft will work. While the format remains largely unchanged, the amount of rounds has been cut from 40 to just five.

Because there are just five rounds to this year's draft, teams will be able to sign an unlimited amount of free agents at a maximum of $20,000 per player. Players who were originally slated to make six figures between rounds six through 10 will be getting significantly less up front, with other potential draft picks slipping through the cracks.

  • Dates: Wednesday, June 10 (Round 1, Competitive Balance Round A) and Thursday, June 11 (remainder of draft)

  • Start times: 7 p.m. ET (Wednesday), 5 p.m. ET (Thursday)

  • TV channels: ESPN, MLB Network (Round 1) | ESPN2, MLB Network (Remainder of draft)

The first round of the draft features just 29 picks, with the Astros penalized a pick as punishment for their 2017 sign-stealing scandal. The second round features 23 picks, with the Red Sox and Astros forfeiting picks as part of sign-stealing punishments and the Yankees, Braves, Diamondbacks, Phillies and Angels docked picks for signing qualified free agents.

There are still assigned slot values through the five-round draft, with a team able to sign an unlimited amount of undrafted free agents to a maximum of $20,000 per player. For full slot values for all five rounds' worth of picks, click here.

Per usual, the draft order is determined by reverse regular-season standings from the previous year. The Tigers have the No. 1 overall pick, the second time in three years they have that selection.

Where will the 2020 MLB Draft be held?

As part of the draft's big changes in 2020, the draft was originally moved from MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J. to Omaha, Neb., the site of the College World Series. Participating CWS were invited to the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha.

Unfortunately, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the plans have changed, with MLB holding a virtual draft similar to what the NFL did with the 2020 NFL Draft. Akin to the NFL Draft, all MLB GMs and club officials will be shown from wherever they're working with live camera cut-ins. Select players will also be attending virtually for the draft, most of which are expected to go in the first round.

If the NFL draft was any indication, should things go as expected, there will be minimal glitches with the procedures. Typically, the picks during the MLB Draft were made during a conference call including executives from all 30 teams, so teams should be able to adapt easily.

What are Competitive Balance Picks?

At the end of the first round and the second round, teams who are either a recipient of revenue sharing or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools receive an extra pick. Certain formulas that include winning percentage and revenue determine who receives a Competitive Balance Round A pick while the remainder receive picks between the second and third rounds.

How will players attend the 2020 MLB Draft?

In years past, minimal players have typically attended the MLB Draft, but that was expected to change with the scenery shift to Nebraska, a more centralized location, the week before the College World Series was originally supposed to be scheduled.

Carmen Mlodzinski RHP South Carolina

As of now, there are 23 announced potential first-round picks virtually attending the draft, with 26 confirmed attendees in total.

Player

Position

School

Mick Abel

RHP

Jesuit High School (Oregon)

Patrick Bailey

C

NC State

Tanner Burns

RHP

Auburn

Cade Cavalli

RHP

Oklahoma

Slade Cecconi

RHP

University of Miami

Pete Crow-Armstrong

OF

Harvard-Westlake High School (California)

Reid Detmers

LHP

Louisville

Nick Gonzales

SS/2B

New Mexico State

Robert Hassell

OF

Independence High School (Tennessee)

Austin Hendrick

OF

West Allegheny High School (Pennsylvania)

Ed Howard

SS

Mount Carmel High School (Illinois)

Jared Kelley

RHP

Refugio High School (Texas)

Heston Kjerstad

OF

Arkansas

Asa Lacy

LHP

Texas A&M

Nick Loftin

SS

Baylor

Austin Martin

OF/3B

Vanderbilt

Max Meyer

RHP

Minnesota

Garrett Mitchell

OF

UCLA

Carmen Mlodzinski

RHP

South Carolina

Tyler Soderstrom

C

Turlock High School (California)

Spencer Torkelson

1B

Arizona State

Zac Veen

OF

Spruce Creek High School (Florida)

Austin Wells

C

Arizona

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