The Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft will take place tonight live from MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey at 6:00 PM Central Time. The major league baseball draft is not like other drafts. It’s not as popular because clubs don’t get the same type of immediate impact that they receive in the other major sports. Drafts are 40 rounds though and the next three days are extremely important regardless of who is really watching.
Major League Baseball uses bonus pools in order to cap spending on amateur talent and the draft is no different in that regard. The total amount of money that all teams will be afforded to spend this year is $266,480,400 which is a 3.9% increase on last year’s figures. Each club has a bonus total that they are allowed to spend depending on where they pick and how many selections they have. 10 teams have been awarded eight-figure bonus pools. The Arizona Diamondbacks possess 7 of the first 75 picks this year and have a bonus pool totaling $16,093,700. The Baltimore Orioles ($13,821,300), Kansas City Royals ($13,108,000) and Miami Marlins ($13,045,000) are next in order.
The Chicago White Sox have a bonus pool of $11,565,500 but can spend just over $12 million on their class if they choose to do so. They have the 3rd overall pick tonight and will select at #45 as well. The #3 pick has a suggested slot value of $7.2 million. The Chicago Cubs pick at #24 and #64 and have roughly $6 million to spend this year. The rest of the bonus amounts and draft rules can be found here. Picks #1-#78 will take place tonight covering all of rounds one and two. Rounds 3-10 will take place on Tuesday with rounds 11-40 on Wednesday.
One thing that is similar in all major sports’ drafts is that executives utter the phrase, “best player available.” White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Nick Hostetler has said it. Jason McLeod of the Cubs has as well. It’s not that easy in baseball though because there is a bonus pool to dip into. It’s very common that high school players with a strong college commitment fall down the draft board and end up in a later pick range but still getting paid an adequate sum of cash. Teams need to make decisions in regards to what to spend and where. The allotted bonus amounts are used for a team’s selections in rounds 1-10.
Amounts over $125K count against the bonus pool. Players drafted in the top 10 rounds generally sign deals because clubs lose the pick and the ability to spend the money associated with that slot if they don’t sign the player. It’s a very complicated process but if a guy considered to be a “tough sign” goes in the top 10 rounds, the likelihood increasingly points toward the club having a deal ready with that particular player. Players in rounds 11-40 get $125K. If they sign for more than that, it counts toward a team’s bonus pool. I started this process last year and this was my final mock draft from 2018.
1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman-C-Oregon State
I think Mike Elias shopped around to get a deal but ultimately chooses to go with the best player in this class. Rutschman should eclipse the $7.5 million that Casey Mize received in this spot last year.
2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr.-SS-Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas)
Witt Jr. has the strong bloodlines and is the best prep talent in the 2019 class. This has been the rumored selection for quite sometime.
3. Chicago White Sox: CJ Abrams-SS-Blessed Trinity HS (Georgia)
Nick Hostetler and crew choose the athletic middle-of-diamond player over slugger Andrew Vaughn and pocket some money to re-allocate later in the draft as well.
4. Miami Marlins: JJ Bleday-OF-Vanderbilt
The Marlins have taken a prep heavy approach of late but reports indicate that the scouting department wants the Commodore’s slugger in this spot.
5. Detroit Tigers: Andrew Vaughn-1B-California
The Tigers have been linked to Florida prep outfielder Riley Greene but Vaughn is too good to fall any further than this.
6. San Diego Padres: Riley Greene-OF-Hagerty HS (Florida)
Greene is the best high school hitter in the class and San Diego hasn’t been shy about adding prep talent high in the draft of late.
7. Cincinnati Reds: Alek Manoah-RHP-West Virginia
The Reds would like one of the 6 hitters to fall to them but instead go with a college pitcher. TCU’s Nick Lodolo will be considered here as well.
8. Texas Rangers: Brett Baty-3B-Lake Travis HS (Texas)
Baty was a late riser and a candidate for many teams to save money and re-allocate later. Baty can really hit but is 19.5 years old on draft day.
9. Atlanta Braves: Hunter Bishop-OF-Arizona State
Bishop was a late bloomer but has big time power and can play in CF. Athletic lefty that had a big year for the Sun Devils.
10. San Francisco Giants: Bryson Stott-SS-UNLV
Giants decide to take the next best college hitter on the board. Stott had a big year for UNLV and will stay in the middle of the diamond.
11. Toronto Blue Jays-Jackson Rutledge-San Jacincto JC (Texas)
Some think that Rutledge is the best pitcher in the draft class. Toronto took Nate Pearson two years ago out of a JC as well.
12. New York Mets: Nick Lodolo-LHP-TCU
Lodolo didn’t sign with the Pirates out of high school and falls a bit further than was expected here. Solid gamble for the Mets here.
13. Minnesota Twins: Keoni Cavaco-3B-Eastlake HS (California)
Cavaco did very well in workouts with teams after not playing on the showcase circuit over the summer.
14. Philadelphia Phillies: Kody Hoese-3B-Tulane
23 homers at Tulane and should stay at third base as a professional. Hoese likely saves the Phillies some money here.
15. Los Angeles Angels: George Kirby-RHP-Elon
Angels have gone heavy on the prep side in early rounds recently but opt for a college starter who is still on the board this year.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Corbin Carroll-OF-Lakeside HS (Washington)
Solid approach and reminds some of Jacoby Ellsbury. Arizona can flex their muscle with so many picks in this draft.
17. Washington Nationals: Josh Jung-3B-Texas Tech
Jung is a steal at this spot and there are still some promising college hitters on the board.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Quinn Priester-RHP-Cary-Grove HS (Illinois)
Two sport star might be the best high school pitcher in the draft class.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Shea Langelliers-C-Baylor
St. Louis gets a steal here. Excellent fielder who brings his bat to the park as well.
20. Seattle Mariners: Zack Thompson-LHP-Kentucky
Seattle is rumored to take a prep talent here but they end Thompson’s slide instead.
21. Atlanta Braves: Anthony Volpe-SS-Delbarton HS (New Jersey)
Signability questions but that won’t be a problem if the Braves pull the trigger here.
22. Tampa Bay Rays: Seth Johnson-RHP-Campbell
Effortless delivery and mid 90’s stuff. Rays save some money here to use later on.
23. Colorado Rockies: Will Wilson-SS-North Carolina State
The Rockies prefer college talent with this pick and Wilson will stay up the middle.
24. Cleveland Indians: Michael Busch-1B-North Carolina
Smaller for a first baseman but very athletic and can really hit.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Brennan Malone-RHP-IMG Academy (Florida)
Malone is too good to pass on at this point and the Dodgers can move cash around to get it done.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Matthew Allen-RHP-Seminole HS (Florida)
Power arm is the best high school thrower in the draft class. Arizona is putting good use to their boon of picks early on.
27. Chicago Cubs: Logan Davidson-SS-Clemson
The Cubs love college hitters and Davidson is a good one despite summer league struggles with wood.
28. Milwaukee Brewers: JJ Goss-RHP-Cypress Ranch HS (Texas)
The Brewers always swing on upside in the draft.
29. Oakland Athletics: Greg Jones-SS-UNC Wilmington
College performer who can really run and should stay in the middle of the diamond.
30. New York Yankees: Kameron Misner-OF-Missouri
Big time tools but limited SEC production.
31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Kyle Stowers-OF-Stanford
Dodgers have been linked to Stowers throughout the process
32. Houston Astros: Daniel Espino-RHP-Premiere Academy (Georgia)
Electric arm that needs time to develop secondary offerings. Might be maxed out physically.
33. Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Quintana-3B-Arizona
#77 ranked player in the class. DBacks need some money savers to sign their HS class.
34. Arizona Diamondbacks: Blake Walston-LHP-New Hanover HS (North Carolina)
Highly regarded HS QB. Not a showcase kid in baseball but could be a steal here.
35. Miami Marlins: Matthew Lugo-SS-Carlos Beltran Academy (Florida)
Miami opts for upside with their 2nd choice.
36. Tampa Bays Rays: Gunnar Henderson-SS-Morgan Academy (Alabama)
Athlete that has drawn comps to Corey Seager
37. Pittsburgh Pirates: Michael Toglia-1B-UCLA
College bat here after going with a prep arm in round one
38. New York Yankees: Rece Hinds-3B-IMG Academy (Florida)
Huge power and lots of swing and miss.
39. Minnesota Twins: Ethan Hearn-C-Mobile Christian HS (Alabama)
Big body. Can really hit. Will need some polish defensively.
40. Tampa Bay Rays: Spencer Jones-LHP/1B-La Costa Canyon HS (California)
Tough sign with a Vanderbilt commitment
41. Texas Rangers: Brooks Lee SS San Luis Obispo (California
Athletic upside play after going with Brett Baty in round one.
42. Baltimore Orioles: Kyren Paris-SS-Freedom HS (California)
43. Boston Red Sox: Braden Shewmake-SS-Texas A&M
Lefty hitter that should stay at shortstop
44. Kansas City Royals: Ethan Small-LHP-Mississippi State
45. Chicago White Sox: Hunter Barco-LHP-The Bolles School (Florida)
Athletic left-hander with premium stuff and durability issues
64. Chicago Cubs: Logan Wyatt-1B-Louisville
Chicago Cubs continue to add college bats to the system
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