Giants' Larry Baer believes 2020 MLB Draft requires 'better scouting'

Ali Thanawalla
NBC Sports BayArea

The MLB draft is going to look completely different next month.

Instead of a 40-round draft, this year's format will consist of just five rounds. Players that aren't selected will be able to sign with any team for a max amount of $20,000.

In MLB owners' attempt to save money during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they decided to cut this year's draft down.

For the players that might have been drafted in rounds No. 6 through No. 40, it puts them in a free-agency style frenzy where they will try to sign with a team as soon as the two-day draft concludes on June 11.

Giants president and CEO Larry Baer understands that there could be teams looking to exploit the "free agent" portion of the draft by possibly promising "under the table" incentives to entice a player to sign with them.

"Baseball is going to set up some restrictions," Baer said on KNBR 680 on Thursday. "And it's a little like NCAA recruiting, you're just going to have to have it policed so that it's fair so that there's no extra inducements or incentives that are outside the bounds, because you are going to have, depending on who you talk to, what scouting director, what general manager or head of baseball ops, where will clearly be more than five rounds of very high-quality players, for sure."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

For the Giants, who hold the No. 13 overall pick and six other selections, the draft is a crucial aspect of their rebuild. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi counts on the yearly event to replenish the farm system.

Now, Zaidi and his scouting department will be competing against 29 other teams to sign undrafted prospects. They will have to quickly figure out who the best prospects remaining are, and prioritize which ones to offer contracts to.

"In some ways, it requires even better scouting because you have the ability after five rounds to sign a player," Baer said. "You're not going to be able to sign everyone, so who is the best player after five full rounds of selections? You go after them. Who knows? Maybe more local kids will get signed in that respect. More of the Hunter Bishops, the Brandon Crawfords because they grew up here and they want to stay and play for the local team. That could be a good result of it.

"But you're right, the rules of the road are going to have to be laid out and I'm confident baseball will make sure that the teams behave appropriately and cannot go outside the boundaries."

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Last week, The Athletic's Keith Law highlighted two players the Giants could target with their first pick on June 10 -- Turlock High School catcher Tyler Soderstrom and University of Tennessee left-handed pitcher Garrett Crochet.

The Giants also hold picks No. 49, No. 67, No. 68, No. 85, No. 114 and No. 144.

After that, it will be a free-for-all the likes of which we have never seen. Buckle up. It should be interesting.

Giants' Larry Baer believes 2020 MLB Draft requires 'better scouting' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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