Major League Baseball's draft will only be five rounds this summer.
The league was given the ability to reduce this summer's draft to as few as five rounds in an agreement between the two parties earlier this year.
The vast reduction in the number of players selected — the draft is typically 40 rounds — will save many millions for team owners, who hand out big signing bonuses to the top players on an annual basis.
But with the 2020 season still on hold indefinitely amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, teams are expected to see a dramatic decline in revenues, making the reduction in draft picks a cost-saving measure.
Among the reporting Friday was the info that front office and team ownership disagreed on the number of rounds, with front offices hoping for 10 rounds to bring as much talent into their organizations as possible and owners hoping to cut costs.
Sense among agents was that baseball operations departments wanted a 10-round draft, but ownership was adamant on cost containment. That union and MLB could not agree on a draft is another example of problematic relationships.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 8, 2020
It was the union, however, that rejected a modified 10-round proposal that would have limited the amount of money for players selected in the first five rounds, as well as the number of undrafted players teams could sign.
The 10-round proposal the union rejected included an interesting twist: essentially it was two five-round drafts. Meaning teams would not have been allowed to use slot money from R6-10 to pay guys in R1-5. Proposal also limited the number of undrafted players teams could sign.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 8, 2020
The biggest impact, though, figures to be on amateur players themselves. Many high school seniors who could have embarked on pro careers will now be forced to play at the collegiate level. Some college juniors might have to return to school for their senior years. Both those groups playing college ball could put a squeeze on the limited number of scholarships college programs are able to hand out. College seniors could quite simply be out of luck.
This year's draft, to be held June 10 and 11, has the White Sox picking at No. 11 and the Cubs owning the No. 16 pick.