New Draft Rules in Place

Saturday, May 09 2020 @ 12:09 AM EDT

Contributed by: John Northey

For 2020 we have a much shorter draft now - just 5 rounds.

Via: MLB Trade Rumors

This will be a big impact on teams.  The Jays get the 5th overall pick and the 5th pick in each round after that.  So picks #5, 42, 77, 107, 137 and that is it (via MLB).  Normally having such a high draft pick means you get many rounds of advantage but instead just 5 of them.  Then everyone else is a free agent with a $20k cap on bonuses.  Ouch.  I suspect many players will wait a year rather than sign in that case with a massive draft class the next 1-4 years as high schoolers go to college for 2-4 years instead of signing.  Signability will be critical in those 5 rounds as no team will want to lose a pick in such a short draft.

Guys the Jays drafted in the 6th round (now non-existent) include Matthew Boyd  and Pat Borders.  7th had Casey Blake, 8th Kendall Graveman, 9th Jesse Barfield, Glenallen Hill, 10th Yan Gomes, Ryan Freel

The current team has (not all drafted by the Jays) 13th rounder Brandon Drury, 7th Ken Giles, 9th Derek Law, 15th Ryan Borucki, 9th Thomas Pannone, 15th Jonathan Davis, 16th Danny Jansen, 30th Rowdy Tellez, among others.  Edit: removed 8th Luke Maile as he no longer is here.

Now, what quality could be there for the Jays on their picks?  Lets look at history...
Of note: those are just for those very specific draft positions.  In slot 138 you get 2 20+ WAR guys in Bill Doran  and Alvin Davis for example, while 139 has Lance Johnson (30 WAR), and Javier Vazquez  was a 45 WAR guy out of pick 140.  The further into the draft you get the harder it is to find those gems, but they do exist and nearly every year one is found.  Round 8 in 2010 had Kole Calhoun  & Corey Dickerson (both over 10 WAR), while the 9th produced Jacob deGrom (35 WAR) and Whit Merrifield (13).

The Jays have probably done best (outside of the 1st round) in the 5th with Dave Stieb, Pat Hentgen, and Michael Young - all big stars at times in their careers.  Plus Mike Timlin who nearly got to 20 WAR and closed out the 1992 World Series.  Plus, least we forget, current Jay Cavan Biggio.  Lets hope for good things out of this tiny draft, then hope the Jays front office is very good at convincing quality players to sign here for pennies on the dollar after that.  Best late rounder would be Jeff Kent (20th round 523rd overall 19th pick of that round in 1989) with his 55 WAR and near HOF career (might still get in).

Best for each of the 5 rounds for the Jays ever...
  1. Roy Halladay  (duh) 17th pick overall. (1995) - also current Jay prospects T.J. Zeuch, Nate Pearson among others.
  2. David Wells  30th overall pick, 2nd of that round (1982) - also current Jays Bo Bichette & Sean Reid-Foley
  3. John Olerud  79th overall, 19th of that round (1989) - the same round has Jimmy Key, Shaun Marcum, Adam Lind and current Jay Anthony Alford.
  4. Casey Janssen  117th overall, 16th of that round (2004) - quality prospect Kevin Smith also was drafted this round.
  5. Dave Stieb as mentioned before 106th overall, 2nd of the round (1978).  Current Jay Cavan Biggio  this round too
While short this will be a high stakes draft.  Next years will be crazy probably with lots of guys who normally get drafted later and given big bonuses to avoid college will instead be available.  Mix this with a reduced minor league this year and probably going forward and suddenly those early rounds become more and more critical.