The 2020 Major League Baseball regular season is over and the Cincinnati Reds finished 31-29. For the Reds that marks their first winning season since 2013. That was eight seasons ago, but it feels like it was at least two decades ago. While the 2021 Major League Baseball draft order isn’t set – MLB and the MLBPA agreed before the season that the commissioner has the right to alter the draft order because the season was a short one – it’s expected to follow the traditional format now that the season has been completed, and go in order from worst to best records from the previous season, in this case, the 2020 season. That lines up the Cincinnati Reds as the #17 overall pick in the draft.

Of course, that comes with two asterisks for now. The first one we discussed, about how the commissioner can alter the order if he were to choose so. The second one is that the Reds will only be drafting 17th in the 1st and 2nd rounds. From the 3rd round through the end of the draft – how many rounds beyond 20, if there are rounds beyond 20, has not yet been decided on – the Reds will draft 18th in each round. That’s due to the Houston Astros* having a worse record, but also having forfeited their 1st and 2nd round picks in 2021 as punishment for their sign stealing over several seasons. They would be slated to selected ahead of the Reds based on their 29-31 finish this season.

Who is still a rookie?

The 2020 season is one that is going to be weird when we look back on it. I’m not the first person to talk about this, but it’s kind of incredible when you think about it: A player could win the Rookie of the Year Award in both 2020 and in a future season, and not in a “we didn’t realize Edinson Volquez wasn’t a rookie and that’s why we voted for him” kind of way (update: Jim Callis of is now reporting that the player who wins this year, if they have eligibility remaining, would not be eligible to win again in 2021).

In previous years rookie eligibility was determined by three sets of circumstances. Pitchers needed to threw fewer than 50.0 innings in their career to be eligible in the future as a rookie. Position players needed to have fewer than 130 at-bats in their career. Or a player needed 45 days on the active roster – but games played in September did not count towards those 45 days.

This year, Major League Baseball decided that 45 days is still an eligibility requirement, but all days this season count – including those in September.

When it comes to the Cincinnati Reds, everyone who entered the season as a rookie has maintained their rookie eligibility except for Tejay Antone.

Reds Instructional League begins Tuesday

No instructional league roster yet. I’ll get it posted and shared as soon as I get my hands on it (well, a few minutes later since I’ll have to get it prepared for your consumption).

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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9 Responses

  1. TR

    Is it possible we would pick 18th? Miami and us had same records and with them being worse than us in 2019, then wouldn’t they get the 17th pick? I know they are seeded ahead of us in playoffs, but will 2nd place finish in NL East override record?

    • Doug Gray

      The record in the previous season determines the order if teams have the same record. The Marlins won 57 games in 2019, so they draft ahead of the Reds as long as the current format that is expected to be followed is used.

      • TR

        I forgot about the trash can bangers losing their pick. I think a HS player who drops may be good option.

    • Doug Gray

      That’s not how it works. The draft is based on the regular season records, not what happens in the playoffs.