Reports are surfacing that the upcoming MLB Draft may be cancelled. This would not be good news for the Cincinnati Reds who own the 12th pick.
The MLB Draft is the lifeblood for a ball club like the Cincinnati Reds. Though the front office went on a spending spree this past winter, that’s not the normal approach that Reds Country is used to seeing. Cincinnati has always been about player development, not high-priced free agents. If Major League Baseball cancels the draft, that’ll have a tremendous impact on the Reds.
The Associated Press is reporting that Major League Baseball is considering cancelling this year’s amateur draft and putting off the international signing period. According to the AP, the reason behind the consideration is lack of cash flow due to the delayed 2020 season.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic weighed in on the situation as well. According to Rosenthal, there is consideration to combine the 2020 and 2021 draft classes and make one big MLB Draft in June of 2021. Rosenthal notes that problems exist should that actually happen.
Let’s consider the Cincinnati Reds for a moment. A small-market club like the Reds needs the MLB Draft. One look at the top of the draft order would tell you the same thing. Currently, the Detroit Tigers are slated to select first in the 2020 MLB Draft. The Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins are among those franchises in the Top 10 as well.
The Reds, along with the other teams just mentioned, rely heavily on international signings, the MLB Draft and player development as a means to fielding a competitive team. The two teams that pick last in the 2020 MLB Draft are the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, typically some of the biggest spenders in the free agency.
The Reds farm system has taken a hit over the past two seasons. Trades that sent the likes of Jeter Downs, Taylor Trammell, Scott Moss, Shed Long and Josiah Gray to other teams have depleted Cincinnati’s depth. Currently, last year’s No. 7 overall pick, Nick Lodolo, is No. 1 in the Reds farm system according to MLB Pipeline.
The Reds also have three players in their Top 5 (Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India and Jose Garcia) who appear ready to make the jump to the majors in the next year. Nick Senzel made his big league debut last season and the Cincinnati farm system needs to be replenished.
I understand MLB’s quandary, especially with the current uncertainty of the world as a whole. That said, the MLB Draft could infuse some life into the sport and give fans something to get excited about. Let’s hope that Major League Baseball does the right thing and continues with the 2020 MLB Draft as planned.