Major League Baseball has decided that the final draft order for 2021will be determined by reverse order of the 2020 final standings, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports. That's the typical way of ordering draft selections, and for some time it's been believed that MLB would go that route.
The March agreement between MLB and the players association gave commissioner Rob Manfred has the right to modify the draft order rather than let the 60-game 2020 regular season determine it as usual, which led to speculation that MLB might depart from the usual format. Here's the relevant passage:
In the event that each Club plays less than 81 regular season games in 2020, the Office of the Commissioner shall have the right, after conferring in good faith with the MLBPA, to modify the Draft order.
But MLB ultimately decided to determine the draft order in the same way it usually does. Since the regular season is in the books, we can lay out what the 2021 draft order. Here's a look at how the first round will unfold according to the final standings:
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
- White Sox
The first round will include just 29 picks because the Astros were penalized with the loss of their 2021 first- and second-round picks as a result of their sign-stealing scandal. The Astros would have had the No. 16 overall pick according to final 2020 standings.
The Pirates will claim the top overall pick for the fifth time in franchise history. The last time the Pirates picked No. 1 was in 2011, when they tabbed a right-hander out of UCLA named Gerrit Cole. On the other hand, their top overall pick in 2002, Bryan Bullington, achieved nothing of consequence at the major league level.
The 2021 draft will reportedly be held in Atlanta during the July All-Star festivities. Our own R.J. Anderson named a pair of Vanderbilt right-handers -- Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter -- as being among the early favorites to go No. 1 overall in 2021.