If they only have 5 rounds, will they focus heavily on Pitchers? Then go after position players in free agency?
Not a bad conjecture, though a number of players at the top of the draft- Torkelson, Martin & Gonzales are hitters. I think what you can anticipate in a 5 round draft is fewer HIGH SCHOOL pitchers. I am interested to see how teams handle the "slot" values with so few rounds. Will a club overslot sign a player (as the Mets did with Matthew Allan last year) and undersign several others?At some point after talent, teams will address NEED, albeit a short draft.
Also another new wrinkle this year will be with the remaining talent players after he draft that teams will seek. Probably involve some seniors, grad students, juniors not wanting to add another calendar year. Usually you get drafted that's where you go. With the signings after the final round of draft, a player may have options. Teams can sign players for UP to $20,000. So if you get a call from a team for $12,000-$15000 do you wait? If a team shows interest, but you see that team has an influx of players at your position (say C or 1B) do you take it?
Not sure if this would fly but just a thought. If the above goes through and a player does not get drafted, there might be an "understanding" that if they reach a certain level in minors (ex. AA ) they will be presented with a contract for the remaining years in the minors. This currently happens with top minors talent, where they will sign a big contract in the minors, essentially locking them up under team control if/when they reach the show ($25 mil for 7-8 years). For a non drafted player after 5 rounds, lets assume he signs for $20K, the max amount. If he reaches AA, then a good faith contract is presented, for $225K (with same restrictions as a signing bonus). Essentially pretty much same as a 6th rounder (if that is what team projected him if regular draft) getting $245K signing bonus. Again, I'm just thinking outside the box, and this scenario may have already been thought about by Manfred & Company, but sounds plausible considering the current situation. And yes, I'm bored with no baseball so have nothing better to do then think of dumb stuff like the above!!. Stay safe everybody.
I think they will go for the best players available and the top10 of the first round will be dominated by hitters which has been the standard for the last 4-5 years.
Generally teams now prefer hitters at the top of the draft because teams found out that hitting prospects are easier and safer to develope while pitchers get hurt all the time.
This is true for the very top hitters of course, the hitters with not so great tools won't have much leverage. But the most talented hitters with great tools and some present hitting ability will dominate the top of the draft again, in fact I think the top 2 rounds won't change all that much compared to a normal draft.
I think we will see different strategies. Many teams will probably try to get two really good guys who could get over slot and the other 3 might pay for that. Generally the trend in valuing prospects is quality over quantity because teams know the numbers better.
4th and 5th rounders might have little leverage anyway.
However maybe some teams will go a different direction
This quote is in an article about a top prospect who was considered to be the top 2021 high school prospect. Because he’s already eighteen he’s reclassifying and graduating this spring. When asked where he would go in the draft by reclassifying ...
“I think all high school players are going to be hurt by what has happened,” one American League scout said. “If you don’t see a guy pitch in the spring, it’s pretty hard to go out on a limb and make that kid your first pick. You at least want to see that the arm is working and the velocity is still there. There are so many things you want to see that you won’t be able to see.”
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