Report: MLB to reduce amateur draw from 40 rounds to 5


NEW YORK – Major League Baseball will reduce its amateur draft from 40 rounds to five this year, a move that is expected to save teams around $ 30 million.

Clubs were able to reduce the draft as part of their March 26 agreement with the players’ association, and the MLB plans to finalize the decision next week to meet the minimum, a person close to the Associated Press told the Associated Press. decision. The person spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday as no decision has been announced.

There will only be 160 draft players, by far the least since the start of the annual selection in 1965, and the combined value of their signature bonus pools is $ 235,906,800. The signing bonus of the bonus pool eliminated is $ 29,578,100.

Teams have moved ahead with the season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and the sport trying to cut spending to cope with lost revenue.

“Particularly given the negligible economic impact of what is already a cheap cost of acquisition, this approach is short-sighted,” said agent Jeff Berry, co-director of CAA Baseball. “To drastically reduce opportunities and talent and talent pools, this is slowing growth and diversity at all levels and is truly a self-inflicted sabotage of long-term health and popularity of the game.”

The project start date will remain June 10 and the deadline for signing will likely be extended from July 10 to August 1, the person said. The project will be reduced from three days to two.

As part of the union agreement, the slot values ​​for determining signing bonus pools will remain at 2019 levels and players ignored in the project are limited to signing bonuses of $ 20,000 or less. This could lead to more high school players choosing to go to college. And because of the 11.7 NCAA baseball scholarship limit, the change may lead to more prospects for attending junior college.

“You can’t afford to live when you sign for $ 20,000 in the minor leagues,” said agent Scott Boras. “They can also develop in college to be first rounds, which is the category we are looking for. you have more opportunities to have more first rounds. “

Berry said the decision was part of “continuing this slippery slope of diminishing player value and importance” and linked it to other movements that players decried and the scandal of cheating Houston Astros.

“For any property group that supports this course of action as advised or, frankly, is so cash-strapped that this mid-six figure savings is a financial necessity, they should be of service to everyone, including their colleagues owners, and sell their franchises, “he said. “Does anyone think it’s a big ethical leap to hijack the draft, tanking and manipulation of service to hidden cameras and hit the trash? All of these behaviors and attitudes are not analytical or intelligent or effective, they are just unethical, and they show disrespect for players and fans. “

All but six of the sixth round picks from last year signed for $ 200,000 or more. Chicago Cubs catcher / first baseman Ethan Hearn received the highest bonus in the round at $ 950,000, signing instead of attending the state of Mississippi.

San Francisco signed right-hander John McDonald, selected 326th in round 11, for $ 797,500, and Arizona gave left-hander Avery Short, picked 362 in round 12, $ 922,500.

Of the 1,082 players who played a league game last year after successfully drafting, 180 were first-round picks and 589 were selected in the first five rounds, according to the commissioner’s office. There were 204 for rounds 6-10, 102 for rounds 11-15 and 63 for rounds 16-20. Only 74 were rounds 21-30 and only 50 were rounds 31-50.

Once unlimited, the project was reduced to 50 laps in 1998 and to 40 laps in 2012.

“In each major league team, the development and screening departments are extremely upset about this,” said Boras. or a choice n ° 1 not developing at the full stature of its potential. “

The signing of bonus pools started in 2012 and limits the amount of money teams can spend. Each location in the first 10 rounds is a signed value – the range last year was $ 8,415,300 to $ 142,200 – and each team’s values ​​are added to a pool. Signing bonuses in the first 10 rounds count against the pool as well as amounts greater than $ 125,000 of players selected after the 10th round or who were bypassed in the project and then signed.

A team that exceeds its pool is taxed, and a club over 5% above loses a first round pick next year – a threshold never reached.

Last week, players rejected a proposal that would have allowed them to keep 6-10 rounds in exchange for halving the value of their slots.

The teams recruited 1,217 players in 40 innings last June and signed 960 for a total bonus cost of $ 316,560,984. In addition, 159 players were passed over in the draft signed for $ 1,514,700.

As part of the union agreement, teams have the right to reduce the 2021 project to just 20 laps. This corresponds to the MLB’s proposal to reduce their minimum affiliation to the minor leagues from 160 to 120 in 2021, allowing each organization to suppress an agricultural team.

For 2020 and ’21, only up to $ 100,000 of each signing bonus is due within 30 days of approval and 50% of the remainder on July 1 in 2020 and ’21.


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