There is a certain rhythm to how Major League Baseball’s annual amateur draft usually unwinds through the course of three days, 40 rounds, and more than 1,000 names — revving from the pulse-quickening first picks to the roster-filling lightning rounds on Day 3. Cardinals assistant general manager Randy Flores likes to say the draft has “three different personalities.”
There is the “tremendous buildup for one or two high-stakes picks,” he said. On Day 2, teams shift into “their process” selections and veer toward strategically saving bonus money to spend later. On the draft’s final day, with the pace of picks accelerating, the panning for sleepers and lost gems creates a feel that is a faster “mixture,” Flores said, “that depends on what happened in days 1 and 2.”
And then there is Draft 2020.
It’s unlike any before it.
“What will that feeling be like at the end of round five, and will it match the exhaustion of a normal 40-round draft?” said Flores, the Cardinals’ head of the draft and former lefty reliever. “I’m as curious to see how this unfolds as much as anyone who follows the draft.”
Due to a scouting season cut short, a major-league season stuck on pause, and the shriveling revenue experienced throughout the game due to the coronavirus crisis, this coming week’s draft has been truncated to five rounds. That’s it. The Cardinals will have the 21st overall pick when the draft begins Wednesday evening, and the team will make its next six picks on Thursday, when the draft concludes. The Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have the most picks (seven) of any teams, and the Cardinals have five selections in the first 93 picks, putting an emphasis on this being a draft to replenish an organization.