MLB Teams Wait To See If In-Person Scouting Ban Will Be Lifted
When the draft ends on June 11, area scouts and crosscheckers know that their next job will be to help sign nondrafted free agents when the NDFA signing period begins on Sunday, June 14.
What they don’t know is if they will follow that up by hitting the road to scout the class of 2021. The first major event of the summer showcase season, Perfect Game's National Showcase, is set to begin on June 17 in Hoover, Ala. Right now, MLB teams do not know if they will be allowed to do in-person scouting at it or at any other events.
MLB is currently operating under a ban on in-person scouting which was put in place in late March after sports around the country shut down because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As of today, teams do not know when those restrictions will be lifted. Teams are waiting to receive word on whether those restrictions will be lifted post draft, kept in place or modified.
The NCAA has extended its dead period for college recruiting through July 31. No NCAA coaches are allowed to attend events or recruit this June or July. The move was made for health and safety reasons, but multiple coaches have noted that it also helps schools save significant amounts of money on travel expenses during a very difficult summer for schools financially.
It’s possible the same considerations could come into play for MLB teams, which have also shifted into cash-saving mode in many instances. The Angels and Athletics have both furloughed scouts to save costs, and MLB negotiated significant deferrals of draft signing bonuses for 2020 (pushing most of the bonus spending into 2021 and 2022) while also cutting the draft from 40 to five rounds.
While no recruiters and, at least for now, no MLB scouts are allowed to attend summer events, the events themselves keep rolling on. While PG National may be the first major event on the schedule, multiple other showcases and travel tournaments are taking place all around the country already.