Chicago Cubs Draft Primer: When, Where, How of 2021 MLB Draft

It’s officially one month till the 2021 MLB Draft and Cubs Insider has you covered for Cubs-related Draft coverage. Here’s a little primer to get you up to speed on what you need to know as we get closer to the date.

When is the Draft?

All 20 rounds of the 2021 MLB Draft will be held July 11-13 in Denver, Colorado. After dropping from 40 rounds to just five last year, the 20-round format appears to be the new normal going forward after reducing affiliated minor league teams under Commissioner Rob Manfred. While that is a jarring change, it’s worth knowing that organizations typically only signed approximately 20 players selected in a given draft class in prior years. 

Where can I watch?

The first two rounds will be telecast on MLB Network beginning July 11 (time TBA). ESPN simulcast the event last year, so more details to come.

If you want a more Cubs-specific lens, check out The Rant Live’s MLB Draft Special beginning at the start of the Draft and running through the Cubs’ selection at 21. Greg Huss, Jimmy Nelligan, and I will host and provide a pick-by-pick analysis of each selection. You can expect special guests and giveaways throughout the event!  

How does the Draft work?

For the first 10 rounds, each pick has a suggested value assigned to it. The total of those recommended amounts makes up a team’s bonus pool. The teams spread that pool out among the players selected, with only minor restrictions in how a team spends its respective allotment (related to draft pick compensation if a team doesn’t sign a player selected in the first three rounds).

Since these bonus values are only a guideline, the Draft tends to operate in two phases. The first 10 rounds require strategy in determining what each player will sign for before selecting them. This often involves teams drafting certain players to save money for higher-priced picks.

For example, the Cubs could select a player who was likely to be drafted later and save some designated pool money while still offering that player more than he was projected to get. Then there’s the strategy of drafting players in the latter half of the first 10 rounds that are seniors in college and lack leverage in negotiations, thus signing for a reduced bonus.

In rounds 11-20, teams can sign players for up to $125,000 without any funds affecting their bonus pool. Every dollar over $125,000 a player signs for in these rounds is added to the amount players are signing in the first 10 rounds.

The 2021 Chicago Cubs Bonus Pool

Round Pick Bonus Pick Value
1 21 $3,132,300
2 56 $1,276,400
3 93 $627,900
4 123 $464,500
5 153 $343,400
6 184 $263,700
7 214 $206,500
8 244 $168,500
9 274 $152,300
10 304 $143,900

The Cubs’ total bonus pool for 2021 is $6,779,400. If a player is drafted in the top 10 rounds and does not sign, the team loses the value of that bonus allotment. Organizations may spend up to an additional 5% of their bonus pool, which the Cubs have done each year with this draft format. If that trend continues, we can expect them to spend close to $7,118,370 on their top 10 picks.

There is plenty of Cubs draft coverage coming soon in the lead-up to the 2021 draft, so make sure to follow Cubs Insider for the latest in Cubs-focused draft coverage.

Back to top button