As Major League Baseball and the Players Association attempt to finalize a plan for the 2020 regular season, it is a certainty that any potential agreement will bring about significant changes this year.
Games are expected to be held at MLB stadiums without fans permitted to be in attendance, although some teams may have to play elsewhere depending on local coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.
Moreover, an estimated 82-game schedule, a universal designated hitter and expanded playoffs format was included in the team owners’ initial proposal to the union.
The fate of the 2020 MLB Draft was also recently determined. Rather than completely do away with one, it will instead be drastically reduced from the usual 40 rounds to five.
The controversial decision ensures only 150 players will be selected on June 10. Further complicating matters is that scouts don’t have the opportunity to see these prospects in person due to the cancellation of high school and college sports across the country.
Even with these difficult circumstances, Los Angeles Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino is confident his department will still be able to properly evaluate prospects in the weeks ahead, via Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider:
“The information flow stopped, but it’s almost like we understand the information that we had better. So I think that’s been kind of like a positive out of the kind of a weird, strange, almost negative year,” Gasparino said.
Because of all the restrictions scouting departments are facing, Gasperino believes the shortened 2020 MLB Draft will present teams with more risk and reward scenarios:
“When you do all those (checks), you feel like you kind of downsize the risk element of it, and I just think this time there’s going to be just more unknown,” Gasparino said. “So I think you’re going to have chances for more reward that you weren’t sure about and chances for more risks. I think there could be a few selections where you’re like, ‘All right, we’re a little bit of the unknown here, let’s go for it.”
The Dodgers, despite having won seven consecutive National League West titles, routinely boast one of the best farm systems in the sport. It’s a testament to the club’s excellent scouting department and their history of developing players.
For those reasons, it is reasonable to expect the Dodgers will benefit from the new draft system. Each team can offer a maximum of $20,000 to undrafted players, meaning L.A. can flex their financial muscle and take chances on an unlimited number of prospects, where in previous years, would have been unavailable.
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