On Thursday night Major League Baseball informed the teams around the league that the 2021 Major League Baseball draft would be limited to 20 rounds. JJ Cooper of Baseball America was the first to report this news. Last season the draft was just five rounds, but that was a special situation. This year 20 rounds was the fewest number of rounds that Major League Baseball was capable of implementing. That’s half of the number of rounds that were in the draft just two years ago. The elimination of non-complex level rookie ball does leave fewer available roster spots for teams to fill, which in theory at least, leaves you with the need for fewer rounds in the draft.

Cincinnati doesn’t draft in the top half of the 1st round, but they do have the 4th highest bonus pool allotment available this year. Despite picking 17th overall they get such a large overall pool thanks to also having the 30th, 35th, and 53rd pick – each worth $1.37M or more of pool space.

The draft is moved back this year to the All-Star break in mid-July when the three day draft will be from the 11th-13th. Assuming the normal breakdown of days and rounds follow as they have in the past, the 11th would be for rounds one and two, while the 12th would be for rounds three through ten, and then the 13th would be for the remaining 11th-20th rounds.

What will be interesting is that this will be the first year of the new Major League Baseball draft prospect leagues. While it’s very unlikely you will see guys who project to be top 4-5 rounders in the leagues, it’s certainly likely guys looking to improve their stock that may not go on day one of the draft feel would make sense to go play for four to five weeks and see what happens.

7 Responses

  1. Shawn

    I actually like it. How many players drafted after 20 rounds make it? Not many. Players can still sign as free agents, and can pick the organization they go to that they think can help them become major leaguers.

    • Doug Gray

      In today’s draft rule era, not many, because the days of signing a Sal Romano or Amir Garrett for 1st/2nd/3rd round money in those rounds doesn’t exist anymore.

  2. DaveCT

    Doug, realistically, will draftees debut in the second halves of the minor league seasons? I can see a bit of both sides with this, such as those top picks getting some rest after the long amateur and showcase seasons, though those playing in the prospect leagues may actually see little or no difference. On the other hand, I’d be concerned about baseball raining on its own parade if this delays too many debuts until the following spring. I mean, that big splash with an all star weekend draft extravaganza similar to the NBA or those other guys (NFL), only to delay debuts nine months … not great for the fans who pay the way.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think teams are going to want to draft guys then not play them for several months until instructs. But I guess we will see how it goes.

  3. kevinz

    From the outside looking in.
    How does this class look Overall?

    • Doug Gray

      Not going to lie: I haven’t even begun to look at it beyond the two Vandy pitchers yet. I’ll probably start taking a deeper look into things next week and get into some “draft profiles” in early May. With the draft being pushed back a full month it allows for a little more time to do that kind of stuff.

      • kevinz

        Thanks Doug for the response.
        Makes sense especially with the push Back to July.
        Look forward to your reports.