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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Data: Baseball Reference; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The 2020 MLB draft will total just five rounds, making it the smallest draft in league history.

Why it matters: Cutting the draft from 40 rounds down to five means just 150 amateurs will be selected instead of the customary 1,200, dramatically decreasing the newest crop of pros and causing a ripple effect through all levels of baseball.

  • Hundreds more prospects than usual will be funneled into a college system currently suffering its own financial meltdown, while simultaneously cutting off farm systems' most cost-efficient source of talent.

Details: Drafted players' signing bonuses will remain unchanged from 2019, but they'll be heavily deferred ($100,000 maximum in 2020, with remainder paid out across 2021-22). For reference, first through fifth round picks tend to earn bonuses ranging from $250,000 to $8 million.

  • Undrafted players' bonuses, meanwhile, are capped at $20,000. So, although teams can sign an unlimited number of undrafted free agents, it's unlikely many amateurs will accept such a pittance (sixth rounders generally earn closer to $200,000, and even tenth rounders can fetch a $100,000 bonus).

The big picture: As outlined in the table above, the most obvious impact comes in the form of those future stars who, under this year's rules, wouldn't even get drafted. But to field competitive teams, the league needs far more than just stars.

  • Of the 1,410 players who played at least one MLB game last year, 1,046 of them entered the league via the draft (74%). And 46% of those players were selected after the fifth round.

The bottom line: There was never going to be a universally acceptable solution to a problem this big, but there are concerns that MLB is merely kicking the can down the road for their future selves to worry about.

  • As super-agent Scott Boras said upon learning of this deal: "We probably should have bought a billboard that said, 'Go play other sports after Little League. Goodbye.'"

Go deeper: Fantasy baseball rolls on despite coronavirus-delayed season

Go deeper

Aug 9, 2020 - Health

Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths in 2020

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" that the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. will be "definitely" somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 by the end of 2020.

Why it matters: "Whether we're closer to 200,000 or closer to 300,000 depends on what we do now and how it evolves," Gottlieb warned on Sunday as the U.S. surpassed five million confirmed coronavirus cases.

54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A pricetag of $500-555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.

1 hour ago - World

U.S. presses Gulf countries to help resolve Sudan coup crisis

Jake Sullivan briefs the press. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The Biden administration has asked its partners in the Gulf and elsewhere to press the Sudanese generals who carried out a coup on Monday to release captives including Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and to reinstate the civilian government, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has limited influence over coup leader Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and other military leaders, many of whom have close ties to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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