Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that the 2022 MLB Draft will take place from July 17 to July 19 as part of the All-Star Festivities in Los Angeles. Additionally, the MLB Draft Combine, where eligible players can show their skills off for teams, will take place at Petco Park in San Diego from June 14 to June 20.
The Draft is officially 20 rounds now, with the first two rounds taking place on the first night of the Draft. Rounds 3 through 10 will take place on day 2 and rounds 11 through 20 will be on day 3.
The top 300 draft-eligible players will be invited to the combine, although of course not that many will attend. Each team will be allowed to invite one more player as well. However, there is a big change in this year’s Draft, which came out of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. If a player submits to a pre-draft physical at the combine, they are guaranteed to receive an offer of at least 75% of their draft pick’s slot value. If a team declines to offer that bonus, the player becomes a free agent. Call this the Kumar Rocker Rule if you want, although Rocker did decline to have a pre-draft physical last year.
Moving the Draft back to All-Star Weekend (It was traditionally held during the first week in June) and having it at the All-Star Game site is part of MLB’s effort to turn that week into a festival of baseball. It should be noted that moving the Draft back is universally disliked in MLB front offices. While it does give them more time to evaluate picks and it waits until after the NCAA Baseball season is completely over, it also moves the Draft close to the Trade Deadline. That means that front offices have to split their time between the Draft and the Trade Deadline and aren’t able to deal with one and then the other.
Additionally, while the Draft Combine is generally thought of as a good thing, MLB has scheduled it this year to take place concurrently with the College World Series. That means many of the top draft-eligible players won’t be able to attend even if they wanted to.
The Cubs have the seventh pick in this year’s Draft.
While the MLB Draft will likely never achieve the popularity of its counterparts in the NFL or NBA, it has become more and more visible in recent years and more fans understand its importance in building a winning team. While the current dates may not be ideal from a baseball standpoint, it does give the Draft maximum exposure and makes it easier for fans to follow along.