Major League Baseball is temporarily prohibiting all scouting activity on both the domestic and international level, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Per Rosenthal, no public or private tryouts will be permitted, while amateur games, showcases, workouts, and in-home or in-person visits are off limits as well. This has been done because Major League Baseball “does not want any clubs seeking a scouting advantage over any other.”
With the amateur draft set to take place from June 10th through the 12th, it appears that the league is trying to be as cautious as possible in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
The draft, which had been done at MLB Network’s studious in Secaucus, New Jersey since 2009, was set to take place in Omaha, Nebraska, the host city of the annual College World Series, this year.
But, with the NCAA announcing last Thursday that all remaining winter and spring championships had been cancelled due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, that went for the College World Series as well.
Although nothing has been made official yet, it doesn’t make too much sense anymore to hold the amateur draft in Omaha when nothing will be going on there by the time June rolls around.
In this case, though, the logistics of when and where the draft will take place are not all that important. It’s the events leading up to the event that I am now more interested in.
Why is that? Because with high school and collegiate athletics seemingly being shut down across the country, MLB clubs no longer have the chance to scout and evaluate potential targets after sending their scouts back home.
Of course, these same teams are diligent in the pre-draft process and presumably already have plenty of information on plenty of prospects from previous seasons.
But, as Tigers general manager Al Avila told The Athletic’s Keith Law, “The unfortunate part is if you had the rest of March/April/May, there’s some players you may have not liked, didn’t have as high, all of a sudden they had a really good spring to elevate them, and some players maybe would have fallen a little bit. it doesn’t happen that drastically that many times, (but) we can only go on the information we have now.”
If the draft does still take place in June, and some executives suggested to Law that it be pushed back, it would be interesting to see how teams approach it given the reality that it really is just a crapshoot that also involves millions in signing bonuses.
Narrowing things down to just the first round of the draft, the Red Sox have had a diversified approach of taking both high school and college players with their first selection in recent years.
Of course, former University of Arizona infielder Cameron Cannon was Boston’s first pick in 2019 despite being drafted in the second round. That was related to luxury tax penalties from 2018.
This year, the Sox are set to make their first selection with the 17th overall pick in what will be Chaim Bloom’s first draft as Boston’s chief baseball officer. This is not to say that Bloom is solely responsible for draft preparations, but I would assume that he has final say in who the team drafts over that three-day span in June, or whenever it takes place.