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Big Monday in Doubt

 
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Fri 3/20/20 11:33 pm    Post subject: Big Monday in Doubt Reply with quote

Our favorite day in June, Day 1 of the first year players draft, will most likely be another victim of Coronavirus.

From the L.A. Times:

"MLB June Amateur Draft Uncertain With College and High School Baseball Canceled"


By JORGE CASTILLO, MARIA TORRES
MARCH 16, 2020

For Billy Gasparino, it all happened so fast.

A week ago, the Dodgers’ director of amateur scouting began preparing his department for a slowdown and possible suspension of high school and college baseball games around the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as governing bodies began implementing bans on large gatherings.

Two days later, Gasparino was in Texas on a scouting trip and planned to attend more games this weekend. By Thursday morning, those games were canceled. Hours later, he was home in Los Angeles, unsure when he’ll be back on the road to evaluate players for the upcoming 2020 draft — whenever it happens, if it happens.

Major League Baseball issued a directive Monday prohibiting all domestic and international scouting until further notice. The first-year player draft, commonly called the June draft, might not take place in June this year.

Also Monday, MLB acknowledged that the start of its season would be delayed for months, not weeks. The league offered no timetable but said it remains “committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.”

In accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the earliest MLB could begin the season is mid-May, although that appears unlikely. At this point, any firm date is a guess.

On Sunday, Gasparino said the Dodgers had already planned to shut down scouting operations for two weeks starting Monday.

“We’re going to try to make it to April 1 and just reassess the environment,” Gasparino said. “Maybe creatively come up with some ideas, watch games on video. We have a lot of data we can sort through and just become more of a research department until we know what’s going to happen next.”

Angels scouting director Matt Swanson said the organization was still allowing personnel to scout games as of Sunday within driving distance of their homes “depending on where they are and if the situation allows for it.” That practice ended Monday. He personally waved a white flag Friday, after what he estimated was his fifth consecutive morning scrapping best-laid plans for scouting in his home state of Texas.

“There’s not much precedent for this,” Swanson said. “So I’ve tried to err on the side of caution with this. I’d rather be too cautious and allow ourselves to take a step back. This is kind of the wise thing to do, just pump the brakes a little bit."

This year’s draft is scheduled for June 10-12, but MLB, still sorting through the unprecedented circumstances, recently acknowledged in a memo to clubs that it will be different in some way, according to people who have seen the document.

How different, exactly, is the looming question.

A few club officials across the majors believe the 40-round draft will be cut short — perhaps to 30 rounds — and undoubtedly postponed.

“For me, personally, it makes sense to push the draft back until at least July,” a high-ranking executive with one major league club said.

Agent Scott Boras offered a more extreme suggestion: Hold two separate drafts this summer, one for college players and another for high school seniors.

Boras reasoned most elite Division 1 college players have been thoroughly scouted, from high school through college with summer leagues between those regular seasons, making this spring less important for their draft prospects. Their draft would be held first.

High school players, meanwhile, can drastically improve their stocks during their senior seasons, Boras said. The agent pointed to Royce Lewis and MacKenzie Gore as recent examples of high school seniors who improved their draft standing as high school seniors. The Minnesota Twins drafted Lewis, a shortstop, with the first overall pick in 2017. The San Diego Padres selected Gore, a left-handed pitcher, two picks later.

In his plan, the high school draft would be held later in the summer, perhaps in mid-July, after MLB staged a “competitive arena” for the country’s top high school players.

“The top Division I college players have been scouted for years,” Boras said. “There aren’t too many surprises. The high school players are most affected because you’re evaluating them on their junior and senior years.”

Boras’ method would stand to particularly benefit late bloomers and players from cold-weather areas, such as the Midwest and Northeast, where baseball seasons do not typically begin until mid-to-late March. Those players could be overlooked if they don’t play their senior campaigns.

“There’s always a guy that pops up in April or May and you gotta go see him,” said Cleveland Indians area scout Garrick Chaffee, who was asked by his club Friday to stay home in Texas until further notice. “There are college performers that have great statistical seasons that maybe the traditional scouting eye overlooks that you think to yourself, ‘All right, this guy’s had a really solid performing season. Maybe go back and get another look on him.’

“That’s absolutely something we’ll miss out on and something that you feel terrible for the players that don’t normally have those opportunities. Ultimately, those are the guys who suffer the most.”

One scout with nearly 30 years of experience, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak on the record, wondered if MLB would organize a draft at all.

He explained teams might not want a draft this summer because there would be a heightened probability of making mistakes on players they can’t scout deep into the spring. He added that every team has already evaluated players who would go in the top rounds of the draft, but in later rounds the risk of making a mistake increases.

“How do you give a guy $1 million and don’t know if he’s healthy?” he said.

If the June selection were to occur, Chaffee predicted that teams’ draft rooms would lack some of their usual vigor.

“I think we’ll still have conviction,” he said. “It just won’t be as much.”

Gasparino and Swanson said they’re confident their clubs would be ready if a draft were held tomorrow, but information gleaned from additional games — more hard data, more eye tests, bigger sample sizes — is always preferred in evaluating talent.

“We’re prepared,” Swanson said, “but it’s like you have to press hold right now and wait and see.”

In his ideal world, Gasparino said MLB would stage regional showcases or combine-like events while regulating the access teams have to players to curtail competitive advantage while ensuring players’ medical records are made available.

Yet implementing those measures would lead to other questions. When would the showcases be staged? How many would be necessary? Who would determine which players participate? What if a team is infatuated with a player as a sleeper and doesn’t want the secret out? Would there be enough time for even abbreviated short-season minor league schedules for the drafted players who sign?

For now, all Gasparino and his peers can do is wait for answers with their industry at a standstill.


Times staff writers Mike DiGiovanna and Dylan Hernández contributed to this report.
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Sun 3/29/20 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Union Tribune says there might only be 5 rounds of the draft this year. Article linked here
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PostPosted: Sun 5/10/20 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like that has been confirmed - 5 rounds.
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PostPosted: Wed 5/13/20 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ethan Hearn says he feels bad for his friends who are impacted by the shortened draft this year - article from Union Tribune
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Fri 5/22/20 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Unusual Times Will Make for an Unusual MLB Draft for Dodgers, Other Clubs"

By JORGE CASTILLO, STAFF WRITER
MAY 22, 2020 6:59 PM

In Billy Gasparino’s estimation, the talent pool for Major League Baseball’s upcoming draft is the deepest in at least five years. The Dodgers’ director of amateur scouting believes the crops of college pitchers and high school hitters are particularly strong. The people in his corner of the world are salivating.

There’s just one problem: The draft will be historically short.

MLB reduced the event, scheduled to be held virtually June 10-11, from 40 rounds to five to cut costs as the league pushed forward without generating any revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Undrafted players cannot sign for more than $20,000. That’s a fraction of what players drafted after the fifth round could attract in the past — last year, for example, the first pick in the sixth round had a slot value of $301,600.

As a result, fewer players than ever are expected to join the professional ranks since the draft was implemented in 1965.

“To be honest, it was disappointing to us and, I think, most of the scouting community,” Gasparino said in a video conference with reporters Friday.

Undrafted top high school players likely will go to college. Top undrafted college juniors or junior college players likely will stay in school. There will undoubtedly be future major leaguers in those groups. The Dodgers’ roster alone provides ample evidence: Justin Turner (seventh round), Joc Pederson (11th round), Blake Treinen (seventh round), and Kiké Hernández (sixth round).

The Dodgers have six picks in this year’s abbreviated version — 29th, 60th, 66th, 100th, 130th, and 159th overall. MLB froze the assigned values of each pick to last year’s dollar figures, so the Dodgers’ bonus pool will be $5,928,400. Teams aren’t allowed to save any of that amount to spend on undrafted players; they can only spend it on players in the five-round draft.

“It’s really going to eliminate a lot of the creativity,” Gasparino said. “It’s going to be a challenge. It’s just those six picks. If you don’t spend the money, it doesn’t get spent.”

Teams also will delay signing bonuses. Clubs are allowed pay a maximum of $100,000 within 30 days of a player signing, half of the rest by July 1, 2021, and the remainder by July 1, 2022. The signing deadline was extended to Aug. 1 to give teams more time to conduct physicals.

Where players go once they sign remains uncertain. The chances of any of the affiliated minor leagues staging a 2020 season are slim. For the Dodgers’ draft picks, that probably means they will report to the spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz.

On top of the event’s unprecedented format and unclear aftermath, the COVID-19 pandemic required teams to overhaul their typical preparation process.

The outbreak shrunk college and high school baseball seasons, restricted organizations’ contact with prospects to phone calls and video chats, and made clubs work remotely with the limited information. Teams aren’t allowed to see players live, so they’re limited to videos players send to the league. The footage — usually a player taking batting practice or throwing a bullpen session — provides some reassurance more than anything.

“It’s a little bit of value,” Gasparino said. “It still wouldn’t trump our base of information, but it does help. Sometimes for peace of mind. Like, ‘Yeah, he’s got all 10 fingers and two feet and he can throw.’

Gasparino said the Dodgers have held daily Zoom meetings since MLB suspended operations in mid-March. He explained they usually spend three to four hours examining eight to 10 players in each session. He said they’ve discussed roughly 165 players through Friday. They’ll start ranking players and going deeper into details Monday.

“We have more time to really dig into the information, the video, the looks we have had that I think we’ll continue to happen,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “And as we dig more, it obviously affects their rankings.”

The biggest challenge, according to Gasparino, is how to weigh the small sample sizes from games this spring. Colleges played, at most, 25% of their seasons. Some high schools in the northern part of the country didn’t play a single game.

Gasparino said the reality has forced him and his colleagues to accept more risk this year. As uncomfortable as that is, they didn’t have a choice.
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"The Dodgers have always occupied an enormous place in the history of the game. If the Yankees are the most successful team in baseball history, the Dodgers are the most essential. Their legacy is unique."

-Baseball Hall of Fame
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Sat 5/30/20 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MLB has announced the draft lineup - article linked here
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Sat 5/30/20 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And just like that, the big day is just a little over a week away.
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