WACO — The baseball landscape is changing, impacting all levels, in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown.
The biggest change will be the Major League baseball draft dropping from 40 rounds to five this year, and will only return to 20 rounds next season. That will leave fewer opportunities for players in professional baseball leaving them with a big decision to make this year.
“Kids need to really do some some soul searching and reevaluating, what their occupation might be,” Baylor Head Baseball Coach Steve Rodriguez said. “Because not everybody’s going to get that opportunity anymore, to where you you just go ahead and sign and you know you’re going to be a professional athlete.”
The Bears will likely see shortstop Nick Loftin taken in the first round or two of the MLB First year player draft but beyond that Rodriguez doesn’t see any of his other players goiung that high. They will then have to decide if they want to sign as a free agent where $20,000 is the maximum amount they could sign for.
“The free agent thing piece is going to be a big deal,” Rodriguez said. “In regards to some of the seniors figuring out if they want to sign for 20,000 [or] 5000 and then go play. But a lot of things have to get looked at from a lot of different angles, from a lot of different people not only just us, but all of our players as well.”
Rodriguez said his process of preparing his kids for the draft has not changed. He wants to shoot them straight and give them all the information they can allowing them to make the best decision for themselves.
“We do — I think a really good job of evaluating our players and talking to them on a consistent basis, understanding what they want and they understand that we’re on their side,” he said. “We’re on their team and we want the best for them. We give them truthful honest information to help with their decisions.”
Rodriguez said seniors Andy Thomas, Ryan Leckich, Logan freeman and Hayden Kettler have decided to return for their extra senior year, while the four other seniors are weighing their options in baseball and otherwise.
“I mean there’s a lot of decisions and a lot of pieces in that decision in regards to finances in regards to degrees in regards to the draft in regards to being a free agent,” Rodriguez said.