Report: MLB to Hold 2020 Draft Remotely amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 15, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a news conference during MLB baseball owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. Major League Baseball will cuts its amateur draft from 40 rounds to five this year, a move that figures to save teams about $30 million. Clubs gained the ability to reduce the draft as part of their March 26 agreement with the players’ association and MLB plans to finalize a decision next week to go with the minimum, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke Friday, May 8, 2020, on condition of anonymity because no decision was announced. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Major League Baseball has informed all 30 teams that its 2020 draft will be held remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a memo from the league obtained by ESPN's Jeff Passan, teams will do their drafting by video conference and aren't permitted to have draft rooms. 

Passan noted the memo did say this could change as the draft date approaches. 

According to Passan, the memo states the head of baseball operations for each team will be sent a video IT and be shown on camera with no audio throughout the draft. 

The setup will be similar to what the NFL used in April for its 2020 draft, which featured clips of head coaches and general managers working from home and Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the picks as they came in. 

This year's format will be significantly different from a typical draft. There will only be five rounds⁠—instead of 40⁠—and teams will only be able to offer undrafted players a maximum $20,000 signing bonus, per Passan and ESPN colleague Kiley McDaniel

The draft will take place over two days, with the first round and Competitive Balance Round A on June 11. Rounds 2-5 will be held the next day.