How Many Rounds Are In The MLB Draft? (Revealed)

Unlike other sports, the MLB draft generally has more rounds in the MLB draft. It’s because it can be challenging for teams to find suitable prospects to join their ranks. Moreover, many team officials believe that new players will find it tough to contribute to the club in a major way. So how many rounds are there in the MLB draft?

The standard number of rounds in the MLB draft is 40. But in the 2020 draft, it was reduced to only 5 rounds because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the MLB draft became 20 drafts because of the additional options for teams to cope in protecting themselves and others from the contagious virus. The 2021 MLB draft also includes compensation picks plus an additional two competitive balance rounds.

Teams and their officials need to consider their players carefully. Newly drafted players need to fulfill the different requirements placed upon them to provide proper assistance to their affiliated clubs. Keep reading to know more about the MLB draft.

Rounds in the MLB Draft

The MLB first-year player draft is the professional baseball league’s way to search and contract the skills and services of amateur baseball players across different scholastic levels. MLB clubs can hunt and allow amateur athletes to sign from high school, college, and junior college levels. Moreover, the MLB can also use this event to contract players from amateur baseball clubs to the professional sports scene.

Generally, there are 40 rounds in the MLB draft. In comparison, the NFL and NHL drafts only last seven rounds. Additionally, the NBA only lasts for two rounds.

Many believe that there are three reasons behind the larger number of rounds for the MLB, which are:

But MLB officials can change the number of draft rounds depending on certain circumstances. For instance, the 2020 draft season decreased to five rounds because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it moved to 20 rounds one year later, thanks to more relaxed restrictions than the prior year.

Here are some of the notable picks from the 2021 MLB draft season:

1. Marcelo Mayer, Shortstop, Eastlake HS (CA)
2. Jack Leiter, Right-Handed Pitcher, Vanderbilt
3. Jordan Lawlar, Shortstop, Dallas Jesuit HS (TX)
4. Henry Davis, Catcher, Louisville
5. Kahlil Watson, Shortstop, Wake Forest HS (NC)
6. Jackson Jobe, Right-Handed Pitcher, Heritage Hall HS (OK)
7. Colton Cowser, Outfield, Sam Houston State
8. Kumar Rocker, Right-Handed Pitcher, Vanderbilt
9. Brady House, Shortstop, Winder-Barrow HS (GA)
10. Sam Bachman, Right-Handed Pitcher, Miami (OH)

If you want to know more about the positions in a baseball team, check out our post on How Many Players are on a Baseball Team? (Full Guide).

You can also check out the following video to see each pick from the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft League:

How is the Selection Order Determined in the MLB Draft?

Selection Order Determined in the MLB Draft

The MLB chooses its selection order for its draft based on the previous season’s standings. The team that did the worst in the previous season would get to have the first pick for the current draft season. In the 2021 season, it was the Pittsburgh Pirates that got the first pick. This opportunity was supposed to be for the Houston Astros, but the MLB decided to forfeit this chance because of a sign-stealing scandal.

How do MLB Clubs Choose Their Draft Picks?

MLB Clubs Choose Their Draft Picks

MLB clubs choose their draft picks by looking at the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP). It’s a collaboration between the MLB and the USA Baseball association to allow the professional baseball scene to locale and build budding athletes.

The PDP contains different comprehensive examinations and evaluations to measure the different traits and talents of various amateur baseball athletes. These tests include the following:

At the end of the examination, participants will have a comprehensive detailed analysis report of their performance. MLB clubs can also check these results to make the process of hunting for new talents easier than before.

If you’re interested in preparing for the PDP examinations, you can start by checking out our post on How to Throw a Baseball – (5 Essential Tips).

Who is Eligible to Take Part in the MLB Draft?

Eligible to Take Part in the MLB Draft

Any prospect that acquired the requirements can take part in the MLB Draft League. Therefore, amateur baseball athletes in Division I, Division 2, Division 3, NAIA, and Junior College departments can participate in the draft pick, as long as the players have the necessary qualifications. Moreover, graduating high school students may also participate in the draft pick.

When May A Selected Amateur Baseball Player Sign?

An amateur baseball player that was selected during the MLB Draft League will start as a free agent. The selected athlete has until one week before the next draft to sign up with the club that chose them. This stage is called the closed period, in which all MLB clubs aren’t allowed to sign a new player into their teams.

Can An Unselected Player Sign Up for an MLB Club?

If a player isn’t selected for an MLB First-Year Player Draft, that athlete can still sign up for any MLB club as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA). Also called an amateur free agent, this player may also sign up with an independent club before providing their skills and services to a major league club. Some notable free agents include Mike Adams, Bobby Bonilla, Matt Shoemaker, and Kirby Yates.

Take note that a single club isn’t limited to signing up one NDFA. In some cases, clubs can contract multiple NDFAs to be part of their roster. For example, the National team acquired nine NDFAs in 2020, including Zach Brzykcy, Jackson Coutts, and Gio Diaz.

Final Words

The standard number of rounds in the MLB Draft League is 40. In certain circumstances, officials can reduce the number of rounds. One excellent example is during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the league had to reduce the number of rounds to 5 for the safety of everyone taking part in this selection event.

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