MLB Draft receives live audience for the first time at Bellco Theater in Denver


The Major League Baseball Draft is coming to Denver, but it’s not your dad’s teleconference version.

For the first time, the MLB Draft takes place in July during All-Star Week, before the 91st MLB All-Star Game at Coors Field. And also for the first time ever, the opening night of the draft will have a bona fide crowd, with no less than 2,000 fans expected to attend Sunday’s opening night at the Bellco Theater.

While such a presentation has long been the norm for other leagues, it represents a major change for the MLB since it began its draft in 1965. Just 15 years ago, the league got used to it. ‘host the event at the MLB Network studio in New Jersey.

“Before (2007) it was literally a conference call with a dial-in number and a speakerphone,” said Chris Marinak, MLB director of operations and strategy. “We broadcast some of that back then on, where you could stream the audio live, but it was an old-fashioned call. So (the profile of) the project has come a long way in a short period of time. ”

The selection board and podium for Commissioner Rob Manfred to announce the picks will be set up on the Bellco stage, while the lower bowl will be filled with VIPs (such as prospects and their families) and representatives from each team who will make the choice (Clint Hurdle will be there for the Rockies). The rest of the seats inside the theater will be general admission for fans.

Those entering the theater on Sunday (Draft Days 2 and 3 will take place at the Rally Hotel and will not be open to the public) will experience the immersive experience baseball had planned for last year. MLB was going to host the draft in Omaha, Neb., In conjunction with the College World Series, but those plans were scrapped after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“From a fan perspective, we’ve always believed that this event is of interest to fans, and we’ve been looking for different ways to make it more accessible to fans,” Marinak said. “The idea is that having fans in person helps introduce them to our future young stars… and it’s about creating an opportunity for fans to be with these guys, up close, when they’re young.”

This year’s draft will be 20 rounds, up from the five rounds in the pandemic-affected 2020 draft, but still half the normal 40-round size that has been standard since 2012.

The main reason for the shortening of the draft is also a main factor it was first moved into in July – the consolidation of the minor leagues. For example, this year the Rockies lost their two Rookie League affiliates where new hires would typically go – Rookie League Grand Junction and Short Season Boise. And with fewer minor league teams, organizations need fewer minor leagues.

Postponing the draft also avoids the risk of injury for the teams given that many rookies are still in season in June.

“In the past, guys were drafted in mid-June and teams would put as much of it on the field as possible, quickly, and put these guys into a short-season squad,” Marinak said. “But now what we’ve heard (from the teams) is that it’s actually better for these players after a long season in high school or college to go through an educational-type program at the end of the summer. .

“So there is no more rush to get the guys drafted in early June. Now, it is more desirable to wait until the College World Series is over and all amateur players have completed their spring seasons.

Marinak said if all goes well in Denver, the MLB aims to continue to tie the Draft to All-Star Week for years to come. Next year’s Midsummer Classic will be held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Top 10 draft prospects

What names could fans hear calling on Sunday night at Bellco’s? Here are the top MLB Pipeline leads.

  1. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake (California)
  2. Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
  3. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Preparation (Texas)
  4. Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (NC)
  5. Henry Davis, C, Louisville
  6. Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
  7. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall (Okla.)
  8. Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow (Ga.)
  9. Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
  10. Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston

Draft outlook

Eight top draft draft prospects will be in person at the Bellco Theater on Sunday night.

  1. Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
  2. Henry Davis, C, Louisville
  3. Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East (NY)
  4. Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham
  5. Colson Montgomery, INF, Southridge (Ind.)
  6. Chase Petty, RHP, Continental Region (NJ)
  7. Trey Sweeney, INF, Eastern Illinois
  8. Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State

MLB 2021 Draft Order

Here is the order of the first round of the 2021 draft. Sunday will include the first round plus compensation picks and competitive balance round A. The Astros lost their first round selection as part of the organization’s sanction for illegally stealing signs.

  1. Pirates
  2. Rangers
  3. Tigers
  4. Red Sox
  5. Orioles
  6. Diamondbacks
  7. Royals
  8. Rocky mountains
  9. angels
  10. Food
  11. Nationals
  12. Sailors
  13. Philly
  14. giants
  15. Brewers
  16. Marlins
  17. red
  18. Cardinals
  19. Blue jays
  20. Yankees
  21. Bear cubs
  22. White Sox
  23. Indians
  24. Courageous
  25. Athletics
  26. twins
  27. Padres
  28. Rays
  29. Dodgers

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