Oakland Athletics can benefit from short MLB Draft
By David Hill
The 2020 MLB Draft will last for only five rounds. However, the aftermath could be a major boon for the Oakland Athletics.
One of the major questions surrounding the 2020 season has been answered. The upcoming MLB Draft will be shortened to just five rounds, making each selection vitally important. Teams will not be able to afford to miss with those picks, nor will they be willing to take as many gambles on talented players who have other commitments.
Yet, for smaller market teams such as the Oakland Athletics, that five round draft could be a windfall. There will be plenty of talent left in free agency once the draft concludes, allowing teams to stock their farm systems and instructional leagues. However, any player not selected in the draft will be subject to a maximum signing bonus of just $20,000.
For the most part, that small of a signing bonus will not be much of an enticement. Players could simply return to school for another year, waiting for a normal season, and subsequently a normal draft, to take place. Even a late round pick gets more of a signing bonus, so this would not be much of a gamble for those players to take.
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But there are some players that will not have that option. College seniors tend to be drafted later than comparable draft eligible players, as teams know that they do not have many options. The same issues could factor into the draft this season, with teams looking more towards underclassmen knowing that they can land those college seniors for a lower signing bonus.
Teams like the A’s could do well in this regard. First, there are not any limits to how many players can be signed for that max bonus, which is a relative pittance. Second, the A’s have been creative in finding ways to maximize their talent and build their farm system. That creativity could be pushed to the forefront in some of these contracts.
Likewise, the savings in draft bonuses could be spent throughout the minors. There has been an outcry for minor league players to receive better salaries, which could become a possibility with the shorter draft. If a team such as the A’s decides to boost the pay of their minor leaguers, that could offset the smaller signing bonuses.
The shortened 2020 MLB Draft will lead to plenty of opportunities for a team like the Oakland Athletics to improve their system without breaking the bank. They just need to be creative about it.