Draft changes mean loss of second round pick will hit Red Sox harder in 2020

John Tomase
NBC Sports Boston

When the punishment came down on the Red Sox for illegally decoding signs in 2018, most of us scoffed at how lightly they got off, losing just one second round draft pick.

Within the baseball operations department, however, that punishment is considered significant, particularly because of changes to this year's draft.

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With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on business of all sizes, baseball has looked for ways to cut expenses. The MLBPA recently agreed to one of them - shortening the draft - because amateur players aren't part of the union, which has been more than willing over the years to decrease draft money in exchange for greater guarantees for its members.

Instead of the usual 40 rounds, this year's draft - which is scheduled for June, but could be moved to July - will only cover either five or 10 rounds. The rest of the players who would normally be drafted will instead become free agents, with bonuses capped at $20,000.

If the draft ends up being only five rounds, then the Red Sox will lose 20 percent of their selections, as well as a vital chunk of their bonus pool, and that's a bitter pill to swallow for a front office tasked with rebuilding a decimated farm system.

"The potential limitations of the draft this year obviously make that punishment loom larger," acknowledged chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom on Wednesday. "It's significant. The second round pick, typically with that type of pick you get one of the top two or three dozen picks in the country, depending how your board lines up in a given year. That's significant. There have been some really outstanding second round picks in the history of this organization. As we look to compete and make sure we have our pipeline full, you want to make sure you have every possible avenue to add talent to the organization and this is one. That particular pick is one we won't have. That's significant, but we understand and respect the penalty the commissioner levied."

Bloom's not wrong about the Red Sox finding impact players in the second round. They've drafted a pair of MVPs and Rookies of the Year there - Fred Lynn and Dustin Pedroia - as well as All-Star left-hander Jon Lester and 2006 NLCS MVP Jeff Suppan.

Losing the pick will also cost the Red Sox money. Per Baseball America, the pick they lost at No. 52 overall included a bonus slot value of $1,403,200, which was 21.5 percent of their entire pool. They'll now have $5,111,100 to spend in a five-round draft instead of $6,514,300.

Draft changes mean loss of second round pick will hit Red Sox harder in 2020 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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