Last night, the Associated Press reported that sources have told them that MLB is considering cancelling the 2020 MLB Draft. But does that make any sense? I’m not exactly sure that it does, and here’s why.
MLB Possibly Cancelling 2020 Draft
Per the AP, MLB is considering cancelling this year’s amateur draft, as well as pushing back the international signing period. The reason is reportedly due to finances, as the league looks to find ways for teams to save some cash during the outbreak of COVID-19.
Before I get into why this would be a crazy move, let’s just take a look at the consequences of this potential move. If Major League Baseball decides to do this, it would both help and hurt college baseball teams. It would help them in the sense that top recruits that were most likely bound for pro ball anyway now may be headed to universities come the fall. However, it would come with some consequences.
If there was no MLB Draft this year, that would mean that there would be next to no turnover on college rosters, as the draft-eligible sophomores and juniors (and seniors, depending on what the NCAA does with adding another year of eligibility) who would be pro-bound would instead go back to school for one more season. Sure, that might be good in the short-term, but it would also lead to bloated rosters in some cases and higher costs for the athletic departments.
But let’s shift to the players for a second. This will affect them as well, particularly the college juniors. Many juniors may lose out on money, as seniors in the MLB Draft typically have less leverage in negotiations with teams. Now if the NCAA grants all players, and not just seniors, an extra year of eligibility, this point may be moot. But as of right now, juniors stand to lose out in a big way.
And as for the high school players, would those athletes fulfill their college commitments should there be no MLB Draft in 2020? Most would probably assume that they would, and this, in turn, would be a huge boost for college baseball scene. However, should those players go to college, then those athletes wouldn’t be eligible to be selected until 2023 (or 2022, depending on their birth date). If those players don’t want to wait until then, the junior college scene may see a huge boost then, since JuCo players are immediately eligible for the next draft.
As you can see, cancelling the 2020 MLB Draft would create quite a few problems. But should Major League Baseball cancel it? I think there may be a better solution.
A Solution to the Draft Problem
Instead of having the draft in June (as originally scheduled), the MLB Draft should be pushed back, possibly until August. By doing this, draft-eligible college players can get in work at the Cape Cod League or other summer collegiate leagues, and scouts can get a better look at the the talent available. Additionally, if colleges could organize pro days, similar to what the NFL does, then those players who may not be the primary focus of scouts can have the opportunity to showcase their talents.
That would solve the problem of information, but it also buys teams some time to get things going financially. MLB teams aren’t bringing in any revenue right now, and with teams paying athletes and employees to stay home right now, it’s understandable that organizations may not want to commit large amounts of money to college and high school players. But by buying some time and temporarily pushing back the MLB Draft, one would hope that by then, teams can open their doors to fans once again, and the money issue becomes less of a problem.
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