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MLB Draft to be Pushed Back to July in 2021

In a move likely to have support from players and coaches alike, the 2021 MLB Draft has been officially pushed back until July 11-13th, one month later in the year than the 2020 draft which was held this past June. The draft will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, allowing for the combination of draft with the MLB All-Star game, which will be hosted by the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.

After a five-round draft in 2020, the 2021 MLB Draft will be closer to the typical 40 rounds. Per an agreement between the MLB and the MLB Players Association, the 2021 draft must have at least 20 rounds and is expected to have somewhere between 20 and 30 rounds.

Of import to college baseball players and coaches, delaying the draft to July means that the draft will no longer interfere with the college baseball postseason. Gone are the anxious moments when players are drafted while battling it out in a Regional. Stanford's Kyle Stowers was drafted while on deck at the 2019 Stanford Regional.

Additionally, a July draft opens the door for a later start to the college baseball season. Spearheaded by Michigan head coach, Erik Bakich, the New Baseball Model, among other things, proposes pushing the opening weekend of the college baseball season to mid-March. With the likely elimination of the Rookie-level leagues and short-season from professional baseball, the last major barriers to a later college baseball season have been removed. Bakich has already been in discussion with other prominent head coaches, including Ole Miss's Mike Bianco and Oklahoma State's Josh Holliday. His plan is likely to have broad support from cold-weather coaches but will need the support of southern leagues to gain traction.

Kumar Rocker, likely number one pick in the 2021 draft, leaves the mound after a start against UCLA (Source: Vanderbilt Athletics)

The earliest proposed adoption of the New Baseball model is for the 2022 season, but there is a possibility that the 2021 season will offer an opportunity to test it out earlier. While one source from a powerhouse team relayed to College Baseball Nation that scheduling is proceeding as usual for the 2021 season, a source from a mid-major program suggested that there might be some changes, including fewer games and less travel, in 2021. Perhaps this opens the window for a later start to the 2021 college baseball season.


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