The 2020 Major League Baseball Draft is going to be five rounds total. We learned about that possibility in early April, and we learned that it was finalized last week. We now know that the draft will be a 2-day event. Usually the draft takes place over three days, with rounds 1 and 2 taking place on the first night, then rounds 3-10 on day two, followed up by rounds 11-40 on day three.
That obviously wasn’t going to be the case this year with how the draft was being limited to just five rounds. If you had asked me a week ago, or heck, even two days ago, I would have told you that I expected all five rounds of the draft to take place in a 1-day event. The first round is extended for TV purposes and could easily be done in a much quicker fashion than it actually happens.
But we’re going to get a 2-day televised event for the draft this year. The first day will be on June 10th and will include the first round as well as the competitive balance first round, totaling the first 37 picks of the draft. It is set to begin at 7pm ET and will be on MLB Network. The next day will be rounds 2-5, making up the remaining 123 picks of the draft. It will also be on MLB Network, but it will start at 5pm ET.
The 2020 MLB Draft Rules
Much like the previous decade or so, there are signing pool limits for each team. No team has ever gone beyond their allotted amount by 5%, which would trigger a penalty of giving up the following years 1st round pick. Don’t expect it to happen this year, either. Draft picks will receive up to $100,000 of their signing bonus this year. In July of 2021 players drafted this year will get 50% of the remaining balance due on their bonus. Then in July of 2022 the players drafted this year will get the other 50% that was due paid out.
The signing date for the draft has been pushed back to August 1st. The big reason for this is due to the potential issues related to physicals as there could be travel related problems that would not allow players to be seen by team doctors or doctors the team deems acceptable to perform a physical in their place. Baseball America is reporting that in a situation where a player refuses to take a physical and the team is unwilling to complete the deal without one, that teams will receive a compensatory pick in the 2021 draft if that player was taken in the top three rounds. There is no compensation for players taken in the 4th or 5th rounds.
Undrafted players will be eligible to sign with any team, but they can only get up to $20,000 as a signing bonus. Teams can sign as many of these players as they would like. Teams can’t make players any kind of special offer to try and skirt the signing bonus rules, including offering higher pay to play in the minors than what they set for all players in their farm system. These players (or anyone that they could in theory relay information to – family, agents, etc.) can not talk to teams until June 14th about signing with a team.