MLB Announces 1st-Ever Draft Combine Will Be Held in Late June

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IJanuary 26, 2021

The Major League Baseball Logo is seen on Washington Nationals' Trea Turner's sock as he prepares for an at-bat during an interleague baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

For the first time, the MLB will host a scouting combine for draft prospects ahead of the selection period, the league announced Monday.

The combine "will feature top high school and college baseball prospects, as identified by MLB clubs, who will have the opportunity to participate in a series of medical and performance assessments as well as educational programming designed to prepare them for a career in professional baseball."

The 2021 MLB Draft Combine will be held June 20-28 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. The draft is slated for July 11-13.

Members of the MLB Draft League—a six-team, 68-game league that MLB announced in November—will also be able to participate in combine assessments and evaluations in their league communities throughout June.

During the draft combine, 88 high school prospects who are eligible for the 2021 draft will compete in a tournament. The league's Prospect Development Pipeline event, which was canceled in 2020, will return this season, putting the top 2022 high school prospects on display.

The dates of the combine may prevent some of the top prospects from making an appearance—the College World Series is scheduled for June 18-29/30 in Omaha, Nebraska.

As part of MLB's new agreement with the MLBPA in March, the league could host a combine event in 2020 or 2021 while also reducing the draft from the usual 40 rounds, according to R.J. Anderson of CBSSports.com. Last year's selection period consisted of just five rounds, but this year's will include at least 20.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates hold the No. 1 pick in the 2021 MLB draft. Per Anderson, "Vanderbilt right-handers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter and prep shortstops Jordan Lawlar and Marcelo Mayer are considered to be in the early running for that selection."

But with an even longer than usual waiting period between now and the MLB draft—this year marks the first time the draft will be held outside of June—anything can happen.