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.