Draft Continues To Evolve
addition to the obvious change of having the draft on television for
the first time, several significant rules changes take effect with this
For one thing, the draft will be held on a Thursday and Friday, June 7-8, instead of the traditional Tuesday and Wednesday slot.
most notably, the baseball draft will have a universal signing date for
the first time. All draft picks have until Aug. 15 to come to terms,
and if they don't sign by then they go back into the draft pool.
rule change eliminates the draft-and-follow process, in which teams
would control the rights to players attending junior college until the
While a much-discussed idea to cut the draft
down from 50 rounds has not been approved for this year, some clubs are
expected to stop drafting earlier than usual—with little chance to
follow late-round picks.
"The changes are a positive," one
baseball insider said. "Teams used it as a reason to wait on kids.
Fewer players will be drafted than before, but more will be signed. It
will be a feeling-out process."
Free agent compensation has
changed for this year (see chart on facing page), and in the future
teams will get better compensation for failing to sign premium choices.
A club that fails to sign a pick in the first two rounds this year will
get the selection following that choice the next year.
example, a team that didn't sign the No. 8 overall pick one year would
get the No. 9 overall selection the next. In addition, a club that
can't land a third-round choice will get a supplemental third-round
pick the next year. Previously, only unsigned first-round picks merited
compensation, and then only in the supplemental first round.