The MLB draft this year was … weird, but so is everything else in the sports world these days.
For 2020, the draft, which typically holds 40 rounds, was downsized to five rounds. It was viewed as a cost-cutting move due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Adley Rutschman, the Baltimore Orioles’ first overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft noticed one of the main differences.
“I just think seeing guys with their families with less people was a big difference,” Rutschman said on the latest episode of Balk Talk.
The MLB draft doesn’t create as big of a spectacle as other sports would, but for the first time, each of the sports were on an equal-level playing field. There wouldn’t be a red carpet for the NFL draft with a player sporting a crop top, or anyone waiting in the green room to hear their name called. Not this year.
Those at home who typically wouldn’t attend the draft in person usually would be at home surrounded by cameras, friends and family. That also wasn’t in the cards this year with social distancing efforts being put in order.
“Obviously they didn’t have the huge ceremony in New York, and I just remember back to mine, inviting as many people as I could to that -- trying to make it as big event as possible just because it’s such a special day and it’s something you only get once,” Rutschman added.
Team's draft strategies remained the same this season, for the most part. But the A’s tried something new.
Oakland has a history of leaning toward college players when they pick later in the first round. With the A's 26th overall pick this year, they actually went with high school catcher, Tyler Soderstrom, who is from Turlock, Calif.
It was the first time since 2004 the A’s selected a catcher in the first round since taking Landon Powell that year. It’s a position manager Bob Melvin values, but a very underappreciated one.
Rutschman, also a catcher and the Orioles' No.1 prospect, detailed how he believes catchers are viewed from the outside world and what he has been learning during his time at Baltimore's alternate training site.