MLB 2020 Draft Will Be Held Remotely for First Time

Like the NFL draft held last month, this year's MLB draft will be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic

MLB Draft
2019 MLB Draft.

The MLB will hold this year’s draft virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Friday.

Day one of the draft is set to take place on June 10 and will include the first round of 37 picks, starting at 7 p.m. ET. On June 11, the second day, the draft will include rounds two through five, comprising 123 picks and beginning at 5 p.m., according to a memo obtained by ESPN.

Unlike the typical in-person draft, the entire process will be completed via video conference and teams are not allowed to have draft rooms, though that is subject to change.

During the draft, the head of operations for each of the 30 MLB teams (the president or general manager) will be on camera with no audio. Afterwards, teams can sign an unlimited number of players for up to $20,000.

Last month, the NFL announced that it would hold its annual draft virtually as well. The draft, initially scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, aired at the end of April with team representatives working entirely from home.

“We are operating in an environment unlike anything we have experienced before, one that requires flexibility, patience, and cooperation,” league commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo at the time. “As we work through those challenges together, we should not lose sight of the magnitude of this global health crisis, of the extraordinary work of first responders, healthcare workers, and so many others, of the growing number of Americans in need of assistance, and of those who have lost family or friends to this virus.”

Chase Field
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The announcement of the virtual MLB draft comes as the league considers restarting this year’s baseball season in July. On Monday, the owners approved a plan in which the athletes will play about half of the usual season and only travel locally, multiple outlets reported.

The plan, which would make baseball the first major sport to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, also includes a 50-50 revenue split with the players.

The MLB Players Association is expected to reject the revenue split, ESPN reported, and will likely counter with an earlier agreement to prorate player salaries based on how many games they play.

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