White Sox

White Sox

After everyone watched Bill Belichick and his dog live from his dining room during the NFL Draft last month, next month's baseball draft shouldn't look so strange.

According to numerous reports, the 2020 Major League Baseball amateur draft, which was shrunk from its typical 40 rounds to just five this year, will be conducted remotely June 10 and 11.

The league dramatically reduced the number of rounds as a cost-cutting measure. Owners, who are expected to see drastically less revenue during a shortened major league season without fans in the stands, give out millions in signing bonuses each year.

As for next month's draft, the first round will take place Wednesday, June 10, airing at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. The second, third, fourth and fifth rounds will be held the following day, Thursday, June 11, and air at 4 p.m. on MLB Network.

The White Sox hold the No. 11 pick, and the Cubs will select at No. 16.

The league is forbidding team brass from gathering in draft rooms to discuss picks leading up to the draft, instead mandating those meetings be done over video conference. Like fans saw during the NFL Draft, each major league team will have a point person on camera to be used during the broadcasts.

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While there are obviously big differences coming to how the draft is conducted in the middle of a pandemic, the longest lasting effects of the shortened draft is what happens to the more than 1,000 players who would have been selected under normal circumstances.

Major League Baseball is allowing teams to sign an unlimited number of undrafted players beginning June 14, signing all of them for no more than $20,000. But many of those players might opt to delay their pro careers.

High school seniors who might have turned pro could head to college, and college juniors who go undrafted could return for their senior years, too. That could make for some uncomfortable decisions for college baseball programs, given their limited number of scholarships. College athletics are facing similarly uncertain futures amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, causing more ripple effects for players opting to play at that level. College seniors who go undrafted could be out of luck.

On top of it all is the potential shrinking of minor league baseball in general, with MLB pitching the elimination of 42 teams — and the pro roster spots that go with them.

There seem to be more hurdles than ever to beginning a pro career. But more than 150 players will have the opportunity to do just that next month.

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