The 2021 MLB Draft is considerably more normal than the 2020 installment, which came amid a completely shut down industry, and lasted just five rounds. This year’s involves amateur players who were actually playing baseball this year, and will last the new normal 20 rounds (down from 40 two years ago, but that drop was coming regardless of the pandemic).
Tonight is Round One, which will take place live on ESPN and MLB Network, and the Chicago Cubs will draft at pick 21. Bryan has gotten into the latest draft goodness here and here, and it’s generally expected that the Cubs will take a college pitcher or a high school bat. Or, you know, neither of those things. Because the Cubs have actually been, apparently, one of the toughest teams to pin down this draft season. Part of that is the new drafting regime, led by Dan Kantrovitz (and Jed Hoyer), but part of it is just that the Cubs aren’t picking quite high enough that they could really count on certain tiers of player to still be on the board, but also not quite low enough where you entirely throw up your hands.
In any case, the draft kicks off at 6pm CT, and we’ll be covering the Cubs’ pick as soon as it’s made.
A reminder that the draft bonus pool is still a thing – you can spend only so much on signing draft picks before you incur penalties, including the loss of future picks if you go over by more than 5%. So there is some strategy involved in not only drafting the best players, but also making sure you’re able to sign the guys you draft within the top 10 rounds (the slots for which make up your bonus pool).
By virtue of having no extra picks this year, and also drafting fairly low, the Cubs’ bonus pool – about $6.8 million – is the 7th smallest in baseball.