Milwaukee Brewers: Negative Impact Of A Downsized 2020 MLB Draft

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Ethan Small #74 of the Milwaukee Brewers poses during the Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day on February 19, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Ethan Small #74 of the Milwaukee Brewers poses during the Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day on February 19, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Reports are coming out about MLB’s plan for the upcoming 2020 MLB Draft, and it’s not exactly positive news for the Brewers.

MLB and the Players Association have agreed to a deal on how to handle the shortened season and there’s a lot of give and take, and there are bad implications for the Brewers.

Per Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan, players will be guaranteed service time in 2020, arbitration will be adjusted for a shortened season, and salaries will be prorated for the 2020 season.

But the biggest change will be to the Draft.

Teams have been preparing for a 40 round draft, and the Brewers had 40 picks upcoming, and now they will be down to just five selections. That’s an incredible reduction and one that will vastly impact the Brewers ability to restock their farm system with talent. The farm system is already ranked as one of the worst in baseball, and losing those extra draft picks will not help.

Negative Impact

Outside of the Brewers, this is going to have a severe negative impact on the amateur players across the country who are draft eligible this season, many of whom would be drafted in rounds 6-40. College seniors looking for a chance to get drafted will get that torn away and many will end up as undrafted free agents.

College juniors are in their last year of leverage, and many will not get selected, which means they’ll most likely return for their senior season, which lessens their earning power next year. Reports have also said that next year’s draft will likely be cut down to 20 rounds, so they also have a lesser chance of getting selected then, too.

Back to the Brewers, they have already traded away their Competitive Balance pick, which means they’ll only have five total picks this year if it stays at five rounds. There are so many stories of late round draft picks that end up having big success in the big leagues that the Brewers, and everyone else, would miss out on.

Brandon Woodruff, the current Brewers ace, was an 11th round pick. Brent Suter was a 31st rounder. Lorenzo Cain was a 17th round selection. Players like that would not be selected in this year’s draft and the Brewers would miss out on this year’s version of Brandon Woodruff, or Brent Suter, or Lorenzo Cain.

Yes, with the spring high school and college baseball seasons cancelled, it’s going to be extremely difficult to find those late risers and late draft picks. But teams have been scouting this class for years and they are pretty well aware of all the players in this class.

The Brewers are at a critical point in their contention window, needing an infusion of young talent to their farm system and they have 35 fewer chances to select the young talent that they want, and will instead have to compete with every other team for those undrafted free agents. As Heyman reports, there’s a maximum of a $20k bonus for undrafted players. Previously, they could sign for a bonus up to $125k without counting against the bonus pool.

Last year, the first pick in the 6th round carried a slot value of $301k. This year, that player can only sign for a maximum of $20k. Seems a little ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Not only are the draft-eligible players getting the short end of the stick this year, the Brewers are as well. They need as many chances at signing talented players as possible, and this is taking away 87.5% of their chances to sign those players this year.

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The changes made to the draft for this year and possibly next year are bad news for both the Brewers and collegiate players.