MLB Draft Starts Tonight

Some actual baseball to discuss – well, not actual baseball games, let’s not get carried away here – as the major league draft gets started this afternoon at 4:00.

The first round plus the free agent compensation picks will be tonight, selections one through 37. Then tomorrow at 2:00 they will finish the shortened-for-this-year-only five round draft. It will all be televised on ESPN, ESPN2, and MLB Network.

The Detroit Tigers have the No. 1 pick, and the general consensus is that they are going to select power-hitting Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State University.

Seattle has pick No. 6. The Mariners have six total selections in the five round draft, picking at Nos. 6, 43, 64, 78, 107 and 137.

This year’s draft class is thought to be particularly strong in college pitchers – look for a lot of them to be drafted in the first round. Seattle has selected a college pitcher in the first round each of the last two years (Logan Gilbert in 2018 and George Kirby in 2019).

After the five round draft is over, teams are free to sign undrafted players for a maximum signing bonus of $20,000. This is the most interesting part of the new rules, in my opinion.

There is going to be a lot of potential MLB talent that goes undrafted. How serious is this $20,000 cap? How is it being policed? Will teams that are committed to stocking their farm systems find ways to skirt it?

It hearkens back to the pre-draft days in the 1950s and early 1960s, when good scouting included building relationships with amateur players in order to beat other teams to sign the players. Are the Mariners good at this? Who knows?

Some MLB teams are going to sit out the post-draft free for all, and others are going to go all-in with gusto. It’s a fascinating situation. Over the next few years we’ll be able to look back and see how it worked out.

Links:

  • MLB.com has a fact-filled post on the MLB Draft.
  • The Seattle Times has a story previewing the Mariners draft, and the many successful players who were picked after the fifth round. In another article they cover some of the players on the M’s radar. The News Tribune has also has a draft preview.
  • In its first post in many moons, USS Mariner previews the draft.
  • Larry Stone asked the big question: what is happening with the rebuilding Mariners year of player development when there are no games for the prospects to develop their talents? Some good points in here, and towards the end Jerry Dipoto reveals some minor league scenarios he is still holding out hope for.
  • Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims wrote a guest column for the Seattle Times on racial injustice.
  • Something positive has come from recent events in the world of minor league baseball broadcasting.
  • Ever wonder how much money a typical up-and-down MLB/Triple-A player makes? Fivethirtyeight.com looks into it.
  • This New York Times feature on how the lack of a minor league season has affected the Binghampton community could easily be written about Tacoma, or any other minor league city. The photo art in this is… something.
  • Sad news in the PCL, the Albuquerque Isotopes have begun cost-cutting measures.

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