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What to know about the 2020 MLB draft

Baseball in conference call form!

2019 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

We haven’t had baseball for nearly three months now, and with owners and players at an impasse over compensation, we may not get baseball back any time soon. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have baseball-related events like the draft!

This year’s draft will look very different due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it will still serve as an important pipeline of talent to help the Royals get back to competitiveness. Here is what you need to know about the 2020 MLB draft.

When is the draft?

The 2020 MLB draft will be held begin on Wednesday, June 10 beginning at 6 p.m. CT. Teams will make the first 37 selections, comprising the first round and competitive balance round. The draft will continue on Thursday, June 11 at 4 p.m. CT for rounds 2-5.

Wait, only five rounds? Why?

Good question! Dayton Moore certainly isn’t a fan. Because of the pandemic, the college baseball season was suspended in mid-March, and most high school baseball seasons never even got started. Teams also sent scouts home about that time, so they haven’t gotten a chance to learn more about these players and see them up close.

But to be clear, this is also a chance for owners to try to cut costs. There is a movement in baseball to reduce the number of affiliated minor league teams to save costs, and cutting the draft to just five rounds reflects that trend. Teams can still sign an unlimited number of undrafted players, but they will be limited to offering them no more than a $20,000 bonus.

So how are they going to hold the draft in a pandemic?

The draft was originally going to be held in Omaha in conjunction with the College World Series, but with the college baseball season cancelled back in March and social distancing still encouraged, teams will instead draft remotely. In a way, this will be a throwback to the recent past, when the MLB draft was essentially a conference call.

When do the Royals select?

The Royals lost may have lost 103 games last year, but there were a lot of bad teams, so they will have the fourth selection, behind the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, and Miami Marlins. The Royals will also get to select the 32nd overall pick in the competitive balance round following the first round. They will then choose 41st, 76th, 106th, and 136th, giving them six overall picks. You can see the entire draft order here.

How much can the Royals spend?

Each draft slot is assigned a dollar value by MLB, and each team can spend no more than their total allotted value on all their picks without incurring a tax on the overage and potentially losing draft picks if they exceed their allotment by five percent. The Royals will have $12,521,300 to spend on their six picks, the third-most any team can spend. This could give them some flexibility if they want to try to sign a player for over-slot. You can see complete draft bonus pools for each team here. Teams are also allowed to defer all but $100,000 of draft bonuses this year as part of their agreement with the MLBPA.

Where can I watch the draft?

MLB Network will air complete coverage for both days of the draft with Greg Amsinger, Al Leiter, Dan O’Dowd, Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian providing coverage and analysis. ESPN will air the first day of the draft, with the second day of coverage on ESPN 2. Karl Ravech and Kiley McDaniel will provide coverage, with contributions from Chris Burke, Jessica Mendoza, Jeff Passan, Eduardo Perez and Kyle Peterson. You can also stream the draft on the ESPN app.

Well who are the Royals going to select?

The Tigers are expected to take Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson. The Orioles are likely to take Vanderbilt third baseman Austin Martin, although there is some recent buzz they could work out an underslot deal possibly with Florida prep outfielder Zac Veen or New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzales. The Marlins seem to zeroing in on Texas A&M pitcher Asa Lacy, so the Royals will probably have their pick of Veen or Gonzales, if the Orioles decide not to select one of them. Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock and Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer have also been mentioned as possibilities, and there could be a dark-horse like California prep outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong. You can read about names to know for the draft here.

You can also read all our draft coverage here.


Who do you predict the Royals will select?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Nick Gonzales
    (50 votes)
  • 11%
    Emerson Hancock
    (43 votes)
  • 11%
    Asa Lacy
    (40 votes)
  • 9%
    Austin Martin
    (35 votes)
  • 2%
    Max Meyer
    (9 votes)
  • 47%
    Zac Veen
    (169 votes)
  • 3%
    Someone else
    (13 votes)
359 votes total Vote Now