With the Major League Baseball draft in 2020 only having five rounds, teams have been going out and trying to pick up additional talent in free agency in the non-drafted market. Well, at least some of them – more on that later. While it feels all but certain that Minor League Baseball is going to see a big change coming in 2021 as MLB looks to cut down the number of teams in the minors – 40 fewer of them to be exact – teams are still going to have plenty of roster spots to try and fill with talented players.
Baseball America has been tracking the signings by each organization of undrafted free agents. The Cincinnati Reds have currently picked up 10 free agents since the draft (shameless self promotion, we’ve got scouting reports and information on all of them right here). On it’s own, that number doesn’t tell us much. But let’s look at how that number stacks up to the other teams in Major League Baseball, using the number of players signed according to Baseball America through Thursday June 19th.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed more players than any team in baseball with the exception of the Boston Red Sox. Then ten players that the Reds have signed is at least twice as many as 19 teams in Major League Baseball. Only the Red Sox and the Phillies have picked up more pitchers than the Reds have – and the Phillies have ONLY signed pitchers. On the flip side the Mariners, Nationals, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, and Rockies have only signed position players. The Rays, Angels, and Tigers have not signed anyone.
It’s an interesting look at the teams who have picked up the most free agents. Seven teams have signed at least eight players. All of them, except the Reds, are considered to be teams with big payrolls. All but the Reds and Cardinals are “big market” teams, and while the Cardinals aren’t in a “big market”, they do tend to bring in money like some of them because of an incredibly high rate of season tickets built up since the Mark McGwire home run era and sustained winning ever since.
These numbers can certainly change moving forward. There are probably some players out there who are still trying to figure out their best plan of action – whether to return to school or to begin a professional career with a limited signing bonus. Still, it’s likely there aren’t going to be a ton of new signings beyond this. In all of MLB there have only been 134 players signed (according to the Baseball America list, that is). That’s less than five players per organization.