The 2020 Major League Baseball draft ended on Thursday night after five rounds. Usually the draft goes for 40 rounds, and teams wind up signing between 25-30 players in a typical draft class. This year things have been different in nearly every aspect of baseball – and at just about every level of baseball, too.

In a normal scenario, teams can prep for undrafted free agents before the draft is over – discussing whether someone is willing to sign if they go undrafted, how much they may be willing to take – but this year none of that was allowed. And how much the undrafted players can ask for is very different, too. The limit on a signing bonus for a player that went undrafted this year is $20,000. There was not a limit in the past – though it would count against your draft pool if it went over the post-10th round limit. You could also begin signing players immediately. This year players couldn’t engage in talks with teams until 9am this morning. They are now free to sign with any team that they would like.

The likelihood of non-college seniors signing as undrafted free agents are pretty small. If there’s an option to go (back) to school and see how the market and draft look next year (or 2-3 years down the road for a JUCO or High Schooler), that option probably makes a lot more sense than signing for $20,000.

With teams being unable to offer more money than others, and not being allowed to offer anything that isn’t available to every other players in their organization (example: you can’t offer someone a deal where they make more salary in the minors than anyone else within that organization), this is sort of like college recruiting where you have to sell a player on why your organization is the best option for them.

Baseball America has up their list of the Top 25 seniors that went undrafted. You’ll need a subscription to see the list, though. 12 of the players on the list were inside of their Top 500 draft prospects, but only one of them – Cam Shepherd – was inside the top 300, and he came in at #298. They also have up a page that will track free agent signings and it appears to be on the free side of their site, so if you want to follow along there – here’s the link to that page.

If you missed it, the 2020 Cincinnati Reds Draft Tracker is up and running. It’s a lot different this year as there are no overages to track and try to sign guys beyond the 10th round and make the money work. As the free agent signings begin to roll in, I’ll be adding those over there, too.

8 Responses

  1. Bred

    They can’t sign too many guys because after MiLB is contracted next year they won’t have a place to play.

  2. MK

    Wonder if Reds and other teams will upgrade the competition plus re-add a team to the DSL and leave some of the guys who would normally come to the U.S. to the AZL in the Dominican. This would leave a lot more spots at the complex for U.S. kids.

  3. Colorado Red

    looks like the Reds have signed 2 so far
    Francisco Urbaez 2B(Florida Atlantic)
    James Proctor RHP (Princeton)

    Doug, do you any info on these two guys

    • Doug Gray

      Coming tomorrow, hopefully. I’ve been gone for just about the last 10 hours and am just now sitting down at the computer for the first time outside of a 30 minute window to do the Strat-O-Matic thing over at Redleg Nation. Hoping to get a lot of stuff done tonight for the morning, including some reports on these guys (or at least some sort of info if not scouting reports).

  4. MK

    Wonder what the story is with Ohio State left hander Seth Lonsway,. He was listed as #50 on the MLB Tracker. He throws 94-95 mph and would rate better than a couple the Reds drafted. He has not signed anywhere yet. He is from Reds Country in Celina as well.

    Looks like they also signed former Clemson closer rhp Carson Speier as well. His stats look outstanding

    • Doug Gray

      I’d guess he had a number he was willing to sign for, and no one was willing to meet it, so he’s going to go back to school. Lonsway’s 2020 is wild. 18 innings, 18 walks, 42 strikeouts. He walked, hit, or struck out 62 of the 83 batters he faced this season.

      • MK

        Don’t you think he is looking at about the same thing as a 5 year college senior next year?

      • Doug Gray

        It’s possible, yes. Don’t really know what he wanted, or what teams were willing to offer him.