With the coronavirus shutting down collegiate and high school games across the country, it’s hard not to see how these circumstances are affecting the 2020 MLB Draft Class. However, if you think what’s happening to this year’s class is bad, next year’s class is being affected even more so.
COVID-19 and the 2021 MLB Draft
This spring was supposed to be such a critical time for high school and college athletes. Talented draft-eligible players were looking to either cement or improve their rankings among talent evaluators, while many others were hoping just to get noticed. But with no games being played due to the novel coronavirus. players who were looking to go pro are losing a valuable opportunity to showcase themselves. However, it’s also important to point out that this doesn’t affect just the 2020 class, but the 2021 class as well. And those players are being affected much more than this year’s class.
College sophomores who may have struggled their freshman season, or were not even able to get on the field their first year, now are losing valuable time to get the attention of teams. Sure, some sophomores have already done enough to get baseball fans and talent evaluators. Just look at Kumar Rocker, who had a strong freshman season at Vanderbilt and helped lead them to the 2019 NCAA National Championship.
ACC hitters Nander de Sedas (Florida St.) and Adrian del Castillo (U. of Miami (FL)) had nice first years, as well, and some also made good use of the abbreviated 2020 season. One example is Florida OF Judson Fabian, who slugged over .600 and smacked 11 extra base hits (6 2B, 5 HR) this spring. Others, however, were not able to showcase their ability.
The loss of the spring stings, but now it appears we may not be able to see college players back on the field until 2021. The Cape Cod League, which showcases the top college ballplayers in the country every summer, announced yesterday that their executive committee unanimously agreed to cancel the 2020 season. Other collegiate summer leagues will most likely follow suit if they haven’t already.
College Players Aren’t the Only Ones Affected
College players aren’t the only ballplayers who will have to deal with the long-term effects of the coronavirus. It’s also highly probable that this will also mean high school showcase events, including the MLB PDP and the Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American Games, will also be axed, meaning that the top high schoolers, including Luke Leto and Braylon Bishop, in the 2021 class will not be seen by scouts either this summer. Also, high school players who were hoping to get on the radar also will lose out on the chance to get noticed.
Where Does This Leave the 2021 Class?
There was also some hope that college teams could salvage 2020 in some way by having an abbreviated season in the fall. However, with individuals such as CDC head Robert Redfield and Dr. Anthony Fauci suggesting that coronavirus could return in the fall, that solution may not get off the ground.
All of these cancellations, along with the fact that many players will return to schools in 2021 for various reasons (extra year granted by NCAA, not selected in MLB Draft due to the shortened nature of the 2020 Draft) makes the 2021 MLB Draft extremely unpredictable. In addition, because of the fact that players can’t get on the field and seen by talent evaluators, it also makes the job of selecting players much more difficult.
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