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MLB to order teams to halt domestic and international scouting

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With the cancellation of high school and collegiate seasons, this will have a major impact on both the MLB June Draft and the upcoming International Signing period.

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This was likely inevitable as well given the cancellation of collegiate and high school seasons, but Major League baseball has sent a memo to all 30 MLB organizations that there will a pause on all scouting activity.

“Over the past few days, we have been in touch with Clubs regarding the effects of the spread of coronavirus on domestic and international scouting operation. Although we have not made any decisions regarding the 2020 First-Year Player Draft or 2020-2021 International Signing Period, we are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide guidance to the Clubs on these events as soon as possible.

Many Clubs have voiced significant concerns about the health and safety risks to Club employees and amateur players associated with continued scouting operations in this environment. As a result, effective immediately, the Commissioner’s Office hereby imposes a temporary prohibition on all Club scouting activities, both domestic and international. During this time, Clubs may not hold tryouts (public or private) or attend non-Club amateur baseball events (e.g. games, showcases, workouts). Clubs also may not conduct in-home or other in-person visits or administer any tests or assessments of amateur players that are done as part of the pre-draft or pre-signing process. In addition, Clubs may not encourage players to conduct tryouts, workouts or games that Clubs would be able to watch remotely. These prohibitions will be in effect until further notice.

We appreciate your cooperation as we work to put in place protections that are designed to preserve the integrity of the amateur talent acquisition systems. Any Club that violates these prohibitions will be subject to discipline by the Commissioner’s office.”

From the memo, it appears that MLB is putting their foot down on prevent teams from gaining an advantage. It also likely will postpone the 2020 June Draft and July 2nd International Signing Period until further notice. Previously, Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen stated the team was going to let their scouts travel by car for their assignments. With MLB’s updated policy announcement, those assignments are now no longer necessary. It still might not prevent a couple organizations from trying to push the envelope to gain an edge. However given past precedence, I believe the potential penalties are draconian enough to give teams pause.