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Report: MLB hasn't decided how to set 2021 draft order

Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty

The 2020 MLB season continues on, but details around important league business in the coming offseason still aren't settled.

Teams have not heard from the league on whether the draft process will be changed in 2021 or if options beyond using winning percentage to determine selection order may be considered, multiple sources told The Athletic's Stephen J. Nesbitt.

Under normal circumstances, the team with the lowest winning percentage in a given season picks first overall in the following year's draft. But the March agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association gave commissioner Rob Manfred the power to "modify the draft order" in 2021 if the 2020 season was shorter than 81 games, according to Nesbitt.

MLB's 60-game schedule in 2020 means Manfred can make changes to next year's draft.

Any changes to the draft must be made in consultation with the MLBPA, according to Nesbitt. It's reportedly possible the two sides won't discuss next year's selection until after the shortened season is over.

MLB reduced the 2020 draft to just five rounds from the usual 40 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported in March that the league's agreement with the MLBPA gave MLB the right to cut the 2021 draft from 40 rounds to 20.

if the season ended Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates - who currently sport a league-worst .188 winning percentage - would draft first overall in 2021 under the standard rules for determining draft order.

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