As Ken Rosenthal reported last week on Twitter, later confirmed by Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel, the MLB Draft will look a lot different this year with just five rounds of picks, the shortest draft in the league’s long history.
Forget 40 rounds of the amateur draft — five is the number this year and, relatively speaking, that leaves a lot of teams (that didn’t have to forfeit picks because of nefarious behavior) with substantially fewer picks than others. One of those few teams is the Minnesota Twins.
Although teams will have the opportunity to sign undrafted players a few days after this truncated draft is held on June 10-11, the shortened draft comes as a result of teams not bringing in money with the 2020 season on hold.
The Twins are in a unique situation coming off their second-best season in franchise history with 101 wins. This already meant Minnesota wouldn’t be bringing in top talents because of a lower draft position. Thanks to the Twins’ 2019 campaign, their first pick in the draft is at No. 27, just ahead of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of the first round.
That position wouldn’t necessarily be concerning in a regular draft where the team would acquire close to 40 new players, and in some circumstances more. Instead, free agent signings, trades and COVID-19 leave Minnesota with just four picks in 2020. The Twins have the same quantity of picks as the Houston Astros, who still have four picks despite forfeiting their first- and second-round selections due to their sign-stealing scandal.
The Twins traded their competitive balance pick (No. 67) to the Dodgers as part of the deal to acquire RHP Kenta Maeda. They also forfeited their third-round pick (No. 99) for the blockbuster Josh Donaldson signing.
In all, the Twins own picks No. 27, 59, 129 and 159 for the entirety of the 2020 Draft. The rest of the draft order is available here.
Compare that to the San Francisco Giants, a team that finished in the middle of the pack. The Giants will come away with seven draft picks thanks to two compensatory picks due to free agents lost in the offseason. Also, the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals emerge with six selections, a chance to keep their future bright while the present success is fully realized.
Normally, a difference of a few picks here and there is a normal occurrence in the draft. Now that there are so few to go around, minor league systems could suffer across MLB.
Now the waiting begins for the Twins until their four-pick draft in early June, while all 30 teams await a potential solution to play the 2020 season.