After the most unusual of years, hopefully things will get back to a certain level of normal in 2021. In a sign of returning (or continuing) normalcy, MLB officially announced that the 2021 MLB Draft order will be determined the same way it is every other season: by reverse order in the standings.
That means that the San Francisco Giants will tentatively be selecting #14 overall in the 2021 draft.
The Giants finished the season with a 29-31 record, which left them tied with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros. The Giants won the tiebreaker between the three teams on the basis of their 2019 records, with the Giants having had a worse record in that season than the other two. The Astros would have held the #15 pick, but they had their first and second round picks forfeited after their cheating scandal.
The top pick in 2021 will go to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who fell to a 19-41 record. They will be followed by the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers (2019’s top pick), Boston Red Sox, and the Baltimore Orioles to round out the top five picks. This will be the first time the Pirates have drafted #1 overall, tying them for the most #1 picks by any team in draft history. They will join the Astros, the New York Mets, and the San Diego Padres for that mark.
The 2021 draft will have some changes in store. The draft will take place on July 11-13, 2021 in Atlanta, taking place during MLB’s All-Star festivities. That is the latest the draft has taken place, a move that many in college baseball support since it means the draft will no longer take place during the college baseball season, even during college baseball games, causing a distraction to players waiting to hear their names.
It is expected that the draft will be 20 rounds. 2020’s draft was only 5 rounds, due to the coronavirus pandemic cancelling the 2020 minor league season and college and high school baseball seasons. Before 2020, the draft had been 40 rounds. It’s expected that going forward, the draft will be permanently shortened, though the number of rounds that it would go to is not yet determined.