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.