If there is a baseball season this year, we may still see one major event take place before any games do. That would be the First-Year Player Draft.
A draft that was once 50 rounds and then reduced to 40 could be as few as five rounds later this year. It now appears that the draft will start on June 10, the date which was set to begin the draft all along. Previously there were reports the draft could be moved to late June or July.
An earlier negotiation between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association revealed the shortened draft could be as few as five rounds. A final call on that has not been made or announced.
The Athletic reported this week that the players union turned down MLB’s latest proposal for a 10-round draft. The plan on the table calls for the signing amounts designated for players chosen in the first five rounds to remain the same as they were in the 2019 draft. But this latest proposal would cut by up to 50 percent of 2019 levels the slot values for those picked in rounds six through 10, and there would be a hard cap for a player to be signed at no more than slot value. In addition, MLB would limit teams to signing five undrafted players for $20,000 each, though there is no limit on signings of $5,000 or less.
If the draft does consist of five rounds, the Orioles would make six total picks. These would be the draft spots and slot values:
* Round 1, overall pick No. 2 has a slot value of $7,789,900.
* Competitive Balance Round A, No. 30 has a slot value of $2,365,500.
* Round 2, No. 39 has a slot value of $1,906,800.
* Round 3, No. 74 has a slot value of $844,200.
* Round 4, No. 103 has a slot value of $565,500.
* Round 5, No. 133 has a slot value of $422,300.
The total amount for those six picks is $13,894,200. Teams can sign non-drafted players, but not pay any of those players more than $20,000 each, as mentioned. So, getting top talent that goes undrafted seems pretty unlikely.
Last year, the Orioles had a total pool amount of $13,821,300. So, their pool amount would be higher this year with fewer picks. How is that possible? Well, the higher a team picks, the more slot dollars they get for their individual picks.
While the Orioles’ top pick had a higher slot value last year, they gained big dollars in their second and third picks, selecting this year Nos. 30 and 39, rather than Nos. 42 and 71. That is a gain of about $1.6 million right there alone.
If the draft does go on for 10 rounds, the Orioles’ total pool amount would be $14,966,400 for the 10 rounds. The Orioles have the largest total pool in MLB for both five and 10-round drafts.
Detroit has the No. 1 pick in the draft for the second time in three years after selecting Auburn right-hander Casey Mize No. 1 in 2018. The O’s No. 2 pick will become the 12th top five selection in club history and the fourth top three pick by the team. The first three were Ben McDonald (1/1 in 1989), Manny Machado (1/3 in 2010) and Adley Rutschman (1/1 in 2019).
Click here to check out Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects. Click here for the MLBPipeline.com top 150. Baseball America has Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin No. 1, with Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson No. 2. MLBPipeline has it Torkelson/Martin.
Run ends for DSJ: In the MLB the Show Players League, the Orioles made the playoffs. But their stay there was not a long one. Dwight Smith Jr.’s Orioles lost two games to Jeff McNeil’s New York Mets and were swept 2-0 in a best-of-three quarterfinal series. It was shown live last night on FS-1. Yep, national coverage for a baseball video game.
Actually, the games were pretty fun to watch, and Smith proved to be rather enthusiastic and energetic in rooting on his team. He was fun to watch. He finished 19-10 in the regular season, in which all 30 players/teams played every other squad once.
So the Orioles/Smith were the fifth seed in the final eight. But last night’s series loss ends the run for Smith, while McNeil and the Mets move on.
Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment will donate $5,000 on behalf of each participating player to a Boys & Girls Club affiliate in their team’s community. The stakes for the competition are enhanced with the championship player earning an additional $25,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club in his community. The tournament will end on Sunday.