CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - COVID-19 has shut down a lot of things in sports, including high school and college baseball, meaning this year’s top prospects are not on the field for teams to evaluate. Major League Baseball responded to the pandemic by shrinking the draft from 40 rounds to five.
Clubs have faced challenges scouting players that are not playing. “We are all essentially on the same playing field,” said Indians Director of Scouting Scott Barnsby. “What we’re working with is similar to what other teams are working with too.”
The unique circumstances of this year’s draft has caused havoc for the prospects. Guys that were assured to be draft picks before in the mid and late rounds will now go undrafted. Most of the players that were expected to go in the top 10 rounds are now left wondering if they will get drafted at all. What is normally a special time is nerve wracking. “You really feel for them. It’s such a special time. Kids dream of this opportunity. They also dream they can have a really successful senior year in high school or their final year of college. Yeah, we feel for the players,” said Barnsby.
Undrafted players can be signed for $20,000
Once these players come into the organization, Barnsby admits he has no idea what they can do with them. Even if there are MLB games this year, there is a good chance Minor League Baseball does not hit the field again until 2021. Where will these players go? “I’m not sure any of us know that answer yet. The first thing is to determine at the Major League level and then determine what happens at the Minor League level,” said Barnsby.
The draft starts June 10th and is five rounds. Right now that is about all anybody knows for certain.