Just as with almost everything else in this world, the 2020 MLB Draft Rule 4 Draft of amateurs has been turned on its head by the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, on Wednesday an abbreviated five round draft will begin.
With no baseball having been played since early March, much of the usual preview type content that would normally appear leading up to the draft is obviated — there’s no new information on the existing prospects within the system, and no new information on the available draftees either at a time when boards are usually in flux and it’s possible for draftees to pop up or slide down. Even looking at past drafts trends would be less useful than normal given the hiring of new scouting director Shane Farrell to replace the departed Steve Sanders this winter.
What we do know is that the Blue Jays have the 5th overall pick, and it was shaping up to be a pretty good year to be drafting in that position, with a pretty deep group of 6-10 options at the top of the draft. So over the next couple days, we’ll profile the handful of names that seem most likely to be among the names announced when the Jays are on the clock. This page will serve as a central hub for those profiles and all draft coverage.
The fifth overall pick has a slot value of $6,180,700, and the Jays will draft 42nd overall with a slot value of $1,771,100. Their last three picks have values of $805,600, (77th), $549,000 (106th), $410,100 (136th). That works out to a total pool of $9,716,500 and the ability to go another $485,824 (5% less a dollar) without triggering draconian penalties, for an effective hard cap $10,202,324.
There would be some opportunity to cut a deal at the top and use savings elsewhere, but opportunities would be limited with just four other picks and no ability to above slot after the 10th round as in years past. Moreover, undrafted players can only sign for a hard cap of $20,000; there’s no ability to use savings to supplement bonuses as was allowed in previous years (though rarely a factor).
Over the winter, we took a look at players the Cubs drafted from Shane Farrell’s coverage areas. To the extent there are any tea leaves to read, that might be the best place to start.