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The 2020 MLB Draft will be held remotely June 10 and 11, mirroring a similar format utilized by the NFL earlier this year as a precautionary measure during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report Friday.
MLB’s 30 teams are expected to announce their picks by video conference, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN. Team executives were told to prepare to conduct their drafts in isolation, without a traditional “war room,” though that guideline is subject to change as the date approaches.
This year’s virtual draft will consist of just five rounds, rather than the typical 40-round format. The first round will take place on June 10 starting at 7 p.m. ET, followed by rounds two through five on June 11 starting at 5 p.m. ET.
After the five rounds are completed, teams will be able to sign an unlimited number of prospects. Signing bonuses for undrafted players will be capped at $20,000. The changes are expected to save MLB teams about $30 million.
The executive responsible for submitting their team’s pick will receive a video conference rig in the days ahead of the draft.
MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred was given the authority to determine the draft date and total number of rounds as part of an agreement with players' union representatives. MLB operations have been at a standstill since mid-March, when the worsening coronavirus pandemic forced officials to indefinitely postpone the 2020 season.
The NFL held its 2020 draft virtually over three days in late April, with Commissioner Roger Goodell hosting the early rounds by livestream from his basement. The first-round broadcast drew record ratings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.