Draft Prep: How Much Can Theo Spend Version

The version of signing amateurs that we have all come to know and... ummm... tolerate for the last few years is out the door. Each draft pick had an acceptable 'slot value'. A team could sign a player to a bonus of or below that value. If the agreed upon bonus was 'larger than slot', it had to be 'run by the Office of the Commissioner' for approval. While the bonus was very rarely denied (see Purke, Matt 2009), a fine could be levied if permission was not requested (see Cerda. Matt 2008). Since teams eventually began to disregard any sort of respect for the old slotting system, a new one begins in 2012.

In this new version, each spot still has a value attached. That is where the similarities end. A team can (and sometimes will) sign a player for over the value. However, if the total bonuses given out exceed 5% over the value recommended, penalties begin. These penalties could include fines, and loss of future draft picks. Up to, and potentially including two first round picks.

More specified. Way more teeth.


As requested, I have included below the recommendations for the Cubs picks. Remember that, if a pick goes unsigned, the slotted amount for the pick disappears. Rumor has it that MLB isn't keen on the values being posted. Apparently, they think they can unilaterally force an information embargo. I wasn't going to post them. I changed my mind. If Al wants to delete them to keep Commissioner Selig happy, he is welcomed to delete them.

1.06 $3.250,000.00

1.43 $1,196,000.00

1.56 $911,700.00

2 $769,6000.00

3 $471,900.00

4 $343,200.00

5 $257,000.00

6 $192,500.00

7 $148,600.00

8 $138,800.00

9 $129,600.00

10 $125,000.00

Any pick after 11, the value is $100,000. Any overage is added to the amount spent on 1-10. For instance, if the Cubs sign their 12th Round pick for $117,000, the $17,000 get added to the total of the bonuses spent through the tenth round.


Much ado has been made of high schoolers going to college instead of taking 'merely' $100,000 bonuses. I've said it myself, and believe it. However, some will be drafted and signed after Round 10. Here's how.

One of the fun things about being the self-appointed Draft Prep Blatherer is that I can justify watching a Clemson vs.North Carolina baseball game instead of watching the Cubs. I have on a different computer tab, but I don't have to watch every pitch (in the dirt)/(one-hopping the wall). Listening to college announcers (Bristol does serve a purpose), I get to hear the pro-college side of things. Among the minutiae I've gleaned are how few college scholarships teams can give. Guess how many. I'll tell you later.

In football, schools (not being sanctioned ones, at least) can give 85 scholarships. A cursory look didn't find a number for men's hoops, but it's probably close to 14. MLB is contemplating chipping in to increase the number of baseball scholarships. (If they do, I hope Selig demands a hard limit on college pitch counts at about 110.) But how many are there now?

Before I answer that, consider college roster sizes are 35. Teams can have more players than that (Redshirts, practice players, and the like), but remember, if your top 3 catchers go down, you can't add a couple from JuCo ranks or by trade. Of that 40-ish player squad, teams have less than twelve scholarships for baseball. Much of the aid, then, is partial. A few hundred, a couple thousand, maybe a half-ride.


So, let's assume you or your son is a good high school ballplayer. Not Max Fried- or Byron Buxton-good, but good enough to interest big league teams. Since I love narratives, sit in for a kitchen table conversation.

Cubs scout "We're impressed with what we've seen from you, not only on the field, but off as well."

Potential draftee "Thanks. That means a lot."

Scout : "Due to new draft rules, this year, we are very limited in what we can offer in bonuses. Last year, we offered kids in your ability range way more than we can realistically spend this year. You don't want to hear that any more than I want to say it."

Draftee "Yeah, pretty much."

Scout "If you don't mind me asking, how much is (insert school here) offering you in scholarship?"

Draftee :"(Mentions dollar amount".

Scout "You deserve more than that, as they've probably said. Here's the deal, We'd like to get you to Arizona. Soon. We think you could be a quality add to the organization. We would consider you around Round 20. The catch is, we can only offer you $60,000 in bonus money Think about it. We'll be in touch. If we would draft you, and offer you 60 K in bonus money, would you sign?

Draftee: "Hmmmmm...."

Scout: "I know. Tough call. We will be in touch by Wednesday morning of the Draft. Other teams might call you as well. If you need more than that, we will head in another direction, but if 60 large will do it, we'd like you in Arizona bu June 15th."


Teams will offer bonuses (possibly) larger than usual mid-round bonuses. But many deals might get very pre-arranged. Or not. I think there will be quite a few kids in this economy that would like to be able to get started on a five figure bonus. Not as many as before, probably, but if your scholarship is partial, that's a whole lot of money to accept to not have to pay for tuition.

A key will be getting good quality in mid-rounds at reasonable prices. I trust Wilken in Rounds 25-35 rather well.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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