[UPDATE (Dec 18): This post is out of date. I made an error with the order in the sandwich round and I'm no longer current with recent signings (eg, Rollins). I am not updating my list because a similar effort at Twinkie Town, SBN's Twins' blog, is more thorough and more accurate. For a better assessment of likely draft order, I recommend that post.]
Over in another thread, there is some discussion of where the A's draft picks will be next year. I took a shot at trying to figure it out. As long as I'm doing so, I may as well write a post about it. This serves two purposes: First, it shares my work with the rest of AN. Second, it lets you help make sure I get it right.
In fact, I'm not at all sure I've got it right. With regard to the rules, I think I have them correct, but it's possible I've missed something. With regard to the signings so far, I'm not at all sure I've got all of them, but even if I have, there will no doubt be more soon.
So please chime in with any corrections or updates in the comments. I'll try to edit the main post where I can.
1. Basic Draft.
For the basic draft, each team gets one pick per round. The order for picks in 2012 is the reverse of the order of final standings in 2011. Draft order for 2012 is as follows:
1 Astros, 2 Twins, 3 Mariners, 4 Orioles, 5 Royals, 6 Cubs, 7 Padres, 8 Pirates, 9 Marlins, 10 Rockies, 11 Athletics, 12 Mets, 13 White Sox, 14 Reds, 15 Indians, 16 Nationals, 17 Blue Jays, 18 Dodgers, 19 Angels, 20 Giants, 21 Braves, 22 Cardinals, 23 Red Sox, 24 Rays, 25 Diamondbacks, 26 Tigers, 27 Brewers, 28 Rangers, 29 Yankees, 30 Phillies
2. Compensation for Unsigned Players.
If a team fails to sign its first-round pick in 2011, it gets an extra first-round pick in 2012 at the same slot as the prior year. Last year the Blue Jays had the #21 overall pick. They chose Tyler Beede and failed to sign him. Therefore an extra pick for the Jays will be inserted in the first round at #21, and the nine teams picking 21st through 30th will be bumped down by one slot.
3. Compensation for Free Agents (old rules)
At the end of the year, all of the free agents coming available that year are ranked according to a formula used by the Elias Sports Bureau. The formula is intended to rank the players according to how good they are. (Exactly how good a player is is subjective. I think most would agree that the Elias formula has its failings, but it does at least approximate overall talent.)
From this list, a group from the top is designated "type A", and another group below that is designated "type B". When a type A free agent is signed by a new team (and also meets other conditions; notably, is offered arbitration) then the new team must give a draft pick to the old team. If the new team is in the top half of the draft order, that pick will be in the 2nd round; if the new team is in the bottom half of the draft order, it will be in the 1st round.
Note that this does not add an additional pick. The pick that was already there goes from one team to the other. For example, the Angels were slated to get the #19 pick in the first round. Because they signed Albert Pujols, that #19 pick will go to the Cardinals instead. The Cardinals get two first-round picks and the Angels get none; the rest of the round is unaffected.
Additionally, when a Type A or Type B free agent is signed by a new team (and meets the other conditions), the old team gets a "sandwich pick". Sandwich picks come in the "sandwich round", which is a group of picks inserted between the first and second round. Note that the sandwich pick for a Type A free agent is in addition to the compensation pick. For a Type B free agent, the sandwich pick is the only benefit, and it costs the old team nothing. The sandwich picks are collected in the order of the Elias ranking from best to worst, so the Type A picks will all come before the Type B picks. [EDIT: This is incorrect. The sandwich round does not go in Elias order. The A's are before the B's, and within each group they go in regular draft order.]
4. Compensation for Free Agents (new rules)
The rules listed above are from the old CBA. The new CBA scraps that system entirely at the end of the 2012 season. For the current off-season, the old system mostly applies, but with some modifications. The exact nature of the modifications has not been disclosed in full detail, but we have a pretty good idea of how it works. The gist of it is that several of the would-be Type A free agents have been reclassified. Six of them have been named "modified Type A" and five more have been named "modified Type B".
The modified Type B's are simple. They were on the bottom of the Type A list before, and now they're on the top of the Type B list. They are treated exactly like Type B free agents now.
For modified Type A's, if one of them is signed, the old team still gets its compensation and sandwich picks. However, the compensation pick is not taken away from the old team. Instead, the new team gets its compensation pick exactly where it otherwise would, and the old team still gets its pick directly after that, with the rest of the picks being bumped down a slot.
Remember that a Type A compensation pick is in the second round if the old team is in the top 15 of the draft order, or it is in the first round if the old team is in the bottom 15 of the draft order. (Note: One report suggested that a further modification changes this so that the compensation pick is moved to the second round only if the old team is in the top 10 of the draft order. I personally believe this to be a misinterpretation, but the evidence is not clear on the point. This will only make a difference if one of the two remaining modified Type A players (Michael Cuddyer, Ryan Madsen) is signed by one of the five team in the 11-15 range of the order (Athletics, Mets, White Sox, Reds, Indians), which probably won't happen.)
Albert Pujols (Y)
David Ortiz (N)
Prince Fielder (?)
C.J. Wilson (Y)
Jonathan Papelbon (Y)
Carlos Beltran (N*)
José Reyes (Y)
Jimmy Rollins (?)
Takashi Saito (N*)
Modified Type A:
Michael Cuddyer (?)
Kelly Johnson (N)
Josh Willingham (Y)
Heath Bell (Y)
Ryan Madson (?)
Francisco Rodriguez (N)
Modified Type B:
Ramón Hernández (Y)
Matt Capps (N)
Francisco Cordero (?)
Darren Oliver (?)
Octavio Dotel (Y)
Jason Kubel (?)
Rod Barajas (Y)
Aramís Ramírez (Y)
Raúl Ibáñez (?)
Mark Ellis (Y)
Ryan Doumit (Y)
Mark Buehrle (Y)
Frank Francisco (Y)
Bruce Chen (N)
Jason Fraser (?)
David DeJésus (Y)
Edwin Jackson (?)
Magglio Ordóñez (?)
Derrek Lee (?)
Dan Wheeler (?)
Freddy García (N)
José Molina (Y)
Aaron Hill (N)
Aaron Harang (Y)
Clint Barmes (Y)
Carlos Peña (?)
Jon Rauch (Y)
Wilson Betemit (?)
I've labeled each player with Y, N or ?. Y indicates that the free agent has been signed with another team and will result in picks. N indicates that the player will not result in picks, either because he re-signed with the same team or because he was not offered arbitration (the latter group are marked N*). ? indicates that the player still might or might not result in picks.
Please keep me updated with any signings I may have missed, or correct any I have mislabeled.
Among the modified Type A's, Willingham's signing with the Twins gives us an additional pick directly ahead of the Twins' second-round pick. Bell's signing with the Marlins will add a pick for San Diego after our Willingham compensation pick but before our regular 2nd round pick. If Cuddyer and/or Madsen sign with a new team, each would add a pick that could be in the first round or the second depending on the team that signs him.
In the sandwich round, there are currently four picks ahead of our sandwich pick for Willingham, nine more before our sandwich pick for DeJésus, and four more after that. Additionally, there are three more possible picks before our Willingham pick, six more possible picks before our DeJésus pick, and six more possible picks after that.
The Draft Order
Based on the above data, I believe the A's picks fall in the draft order as follows:
[EDIT: The list below has the sandwich picks in the wrong order. I will correct when I have a chance. In the meantime, see comment below for a link to a better list on a Twins site.]
1-10. First-round picks before the A's.
11. A's first-round pick
12-31. First-round picks after the A's, including Toronto's compensation pick for Beede.
[Possible insert one or two compensation picks for modified Type A signed by bottom-half team. Either or both of these may be inserted in the second round instead.]
32-35 [-37]. Sandwich picks before our first one.
[possible insert up to three more sandwich picks]
36 [-41]. A's sandwich pick for Willingham.
37-45. Sandwich picks between our two.
[possible insert up to six more sandwich picks]
46 [-57]. A's sandwich pick for DeJésus.
47-50 [-61]. Sandwich picks after ours.
[possible insert up to six more sandwich picks]
51 [-68]. First second-round pick.
52 [-69]. A's compensation pick for Willingham.
53-62 [-79]. Nine more second-round pick plus Padres' compensation pick for Bell.
63 [-80]. A's second-round pick.
64... The rest of the second round and the rest of the draft.
(Updated Dec 13, ~9:30pm)