MLB Draft returns and makes All-Star debut – WGAU
NEW YORK – (AP) – Ben Cherington’s first amateur draft as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates has been brief and distant, held amid the coronavirus pandemic that has wiped out the Scouts and wiped out nearly the entire schedule Baseball Baseball 2020.
As the Bucs face pressure from the No.1 overall pick this year, he’s grateful to have his scouts back in the draft hall, fighting controversially on their big draw like the good old days. .
“The room was great to get past the intricacies and get into the arguments and the debates,” Cherington said. “So it was good. “
A year after Major League Baseball limited its draft amid the chaos of COVID-19, it is expected to host a revamped event as part of All-Star festivities in Denver. The 20-round draft will be spread over three days.
The MLB moved the draft to the July All-Star weekend, putting the first round on its network on Sunday night after the All-Star Futures Game, a showcase for the best underage players. The project had been televised from MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, since 2009.
An overview of other things to look out for during the selection process:
RETURN TO A NEW NORMAL
In response to the pandemic, the MLB reduced last year’s draft from 40 to five and made the entire selection process remote.
This year’s draft will be in-person but will consist of 20 rounds, which could become the new normal after MLB took over minors and cut a quarter of its affiliates last offseason. Notably, he eliminated short-season leagues that were once filled with drafted players in later rounds.
Those last lost laps were barely filled with future big leagues, of course, but several stars turned selections in the 20s, 30s or later into exceptional careers, including John Smoltz (22nd round), Mark Buehrle (38th), Keith Hernandez (42nd) and Mike Piazza (62nd).
COVID-19 closed middle and high school seasons across the country in 2020, and several MLB teams put their scouts on leave last summer. This hampered teams’ ability to assess players in this year’s class, although amateur baseball made a big comeback this spring.
Scouts have mostly returned to big league offices this weekend, where they will squat in front of oversized magnetic boards to decide who deserves a selection – a favorite time of year for front office staff.
“We have to debate, debate, debate, disagree, disagree, disagree,” Cherington said. “Dive as deep as you can, then engage. “
WHO’S ON THE CLOCK
The Pirates hold the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since taking on Gerrit Cole in 2011, by far the most successful of their previous four caps. Pittsburgh is set to regain strength in 2021 amid a rebuild that could be defined by the success of its rookies.
“It’s the pressure, yeah,” Cherington said. “But it’s exciting pressure and it’s an opportunity. It doesn’t look like a burden at all.
First-year Rangers general manager Chris Young – a Pirates third-round pick in 2000 – is set to oversee a draft hall for the first time as Texas pick second. The Detroit Tigers have the third pick a year after taking Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson at No.1. They will be followed by the Boston Red Sox, leading the AL East, at No.1. # 4 and the Baltimore Orioles at # 5.
The Astros will only pick in the third round for the second year in a row as punishment for their infamous sign-stealing scandal.
Vanderbilt pitchers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker garnered the most attention in this class after pitching the Commodores in the College World Series final.
Leiter is the son of two-time All-Star Al Leiter, who is now an analyst at MLB Network and will be on the show on Sunday. Jack Leiter has struck out 179 catches in 110 innings this season, posting a 2.13 ERA and hitting South Carolina.
Rocker also has professional bloodlines – his father is former NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker – and watches him at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds. However, an inconsistent spring likely pulled him out of the race for the Pirates.
Several high school shortstops are also vying for the top pick. Marcelo Mayer of Eastlake High School in California is from the same school as 2000 No. 1 pick Adrian Gonzalez. No school has ever had two No. 1 picks, and Mayer is a slight favorite for this story to happen.
If Pittsburgh doesn’t take Mayer, shortstops Jordan Lawlar (Texas) or Kahlil Watson (North Carolina) could be in contention, along with Louisville wide receiver Henry Davis. The Pirates could also sign a surprise pick for a sub-sub deal, freeing up money to spend for players lower on the board.
OTHERS TO KNOW
Someone could land a player who already has World Series experience. Darren Baker is the son of Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker and was notoriously kicked out of the plate by Giants player JT Snow during the 2002 World Series when Baker, 3, was a bat boy. Darren Baker is a University of California second baseman with fast feet and a hitting feel.
Others who might seem familiar – California high school shortstop Max Muncy and Vanderbilt outfielder Isaiah Thomas – have no connection to the star athletes of the same name. Muncy, from Greater Los Angeles, even shares a birthday with the Dodgers star.
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