Major League Baseball announced Friday that this year’s Draft will be held remotely June 10-11 and more than one network will cover the event.
The five-round draft will start Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. ET, and MLB Network and ESPN will have live coverage. The first night will feature the first round, a total of 37 picks. On Thursday, June 11 beginning at 5 p.m. ET on the MLB Network and ESPN2, rounds two through five will be held, accounting for an additional 123 selections.
Georgia pitchers Emerson Hancock and Cole Wilcox are projected as first round selections by multiple outlets. Hancock has been rated as high as the No. 4 overall prospect and the nation’s top right-hander.
Recently, the publication Baseball America updated its top 500 prospects for this year’s draft, and it featured eight current Bulldogs and five Georgia signees: Hancock (#4), Wilcox (#24), Corey Collins (#136, North Gwinnett HS), Ryan Webb (#205), Jaden Woods (#221, Houston County HS), Cam Shepherd (#299), Tucker Bradley (#319), Luke Wagner (#324, Red Land HS), C.J. Smith (#3387), Fernando Gonzalez (#341, North Cobb HS), Parks Harber (#386, The Westminster School), Riley King (#393) and Ben Anderson (#448) all made the list.
Speaking on a Zoom call with media earlier this week regarding the draft, Hancock said he’ll see how everything plays out and will make the best decision for him and his family.
“My goal is to be a big-league player one day,” said Hancock. “That’s every kid’s goal when you start playing at a young age. I want to be a big leaguer, and one day I want to win a World Series. That’s my mindset going into it. You don’t really know where people are going to go. You don’t how the order is going to fall. It’s the first-time ever they’ve had a five-round draft. There’s a lot of uncertainty.”
Hancock added that he’s had Zoom meetings with MLB teams, and that the meetings have picked up since the end of last month.
The MLB Draft had been scheduled to be in Omaha, Nebraska in June before the College World Series, which the NCAA canceled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the NFL Draft was conducted remotely due to the pandemic.
Teams will receive a compensation pick for the 2021 MLB Draft for any of their top three round selections that elect not to turn professional. That means there will be even more spirited negotiations between teams and players in the final two rounds. Teams will want players in those rounds who they know will sign and therefore not waste a pick in this shortened draft. Meanwhile, the players know the maximum bonus they can receive if they go undrafted is $20,000. To put that in perspective, last year, most sixth round picks signed for at least $200,000.
Teams can sign an unlimited number of undrafted players this year. Last June in a 40-round draft, 1,217 players were selected. The draft has been 40 rounds annually since 2012. Teams will have until Aug. 1 to sign their draft picks.