CHICAGO — Ethan Hearn has some good friends who are eligible for baseball’s amateur draft this year. Hearn is just an interested spectator this time around, and he feels pretty fortunate about his situation.
The 19-year-old catcher was selected by the Chicago Cubs with the 192nd pick of the 2019 draft. The slot value for his spot was $247,000, but the Cubs gave him a sixth round-high $950,000 signing bonus to turn pro instead of playing college ball for Mississippi State.
This year, there is no sixth round. Hearn’s signing bonus would have been capped at $20,000.
“I’m very grateful I was drafted last year,” Hearn said, “because some of those guys this year, it’s going to be crazy.”
Major League Baseball is still finalizing the details for the June 10 draft, but a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press it plans to cut from 40 rounds to five this year. The person spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because no decision was announced.
Players passed over in the draft are limited to signing bonuses of $20,000 or less.
The changes will save teams about $30 million in a year when the season has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and the sport is trying to cut…