We’re 7 weeks away from the MLB Amateur Draft, and as the scouting reports come in and the smoke screens begin it seems a good time to review some draft basics. Each team is assigned a draft pool based on the number of picks they have in the first 10 Rounds and the order in which they get to make draft selections. Each pick carries a specific dollar value (sometimes called "slot value") and it’s this accumulation of value that sets the MLB approved budget for teams to work with. Teams can sign players at or below or above the individual draft pick slot value as long as the sum of the team’s picks does not surpass the approved budget. Going over that budget comes with consequences:
- Spend 0 – 5% over the allotted budget and pay a 75% tax on the overage.
- Spend 5 – 10% over the allotted budget and pay the 75% tax on the overage PLUS lose their 1st-round pick in the next draft.
- Spend 10 – 15% over the allotted budget and pay a 100% tax on the overage PLUS lose their 1st- and 2nd-round picks in the next draft.
- Spend above 15% over the allotted budget and pay a 100% tax on the overage PLUS lose their 1st-round picks in the next TWO drafts.
With that bit of unpleasantness over, let’s look at where Oakland picks in 2017.
|RD 1: #6||$5,303,000|
|RD 1: #33||$2,033,500|
|RD 2: #43||$1,597,300|
|RD 3: #81||$697,500|
|RD 4: #111||$482,600|
|RD 5: #141||$360,500|
|RD 6: #171||$271,300|
|RD 7: #201||$212,100|
|RD 8: #231||$168,300|
|RD 9: #261||$145,500|
|RD 10: #291||$135,900|
These picks give Oakland a draft allotment of $11,407,500. Clearly the team isn’t in a position to give up on future draft picks so they can't go too far past that total, but they can spend up to $559,000 over their allotment and only face the 75% tax on the overage … a penalty of $419,250. Add this all up and the A’s can commit $12,385,750 towards their draft allotment signings. Teams are also allowed to sign players in Rounds 11-40 to signing bonuses up to $125,000 and those bonuses don't count against the draft allotment cap. I mention this because last year the A's spent $745,000 to sign late-round picks and none of that money counted against their cap. So it's possible the A's could spend over $13 million to sign talent in the upcoming draft.
So whom can we expect to see the A’s spend money on this year?
I haven’t a clue. It’s still April!
But here are some names to keep in mind for the #6 overall pick:
Have the Hype, Can They Back it Up?
Jeren Kendall is a Junior CF out of Vanderbilt. A toolshed, he came into the season on the short list of the best position prospects in college ball. He has 70-grade speed, some power potential and is considered an elite defender. He also has a LOT of swing and miss to his game, to the point that scouts are starting wonder if he’ll make enough contact to start.
Alex Faedo is a Junior RHP who some scouts considered to have the best arm on Florida’s 2016 starting rotation -- his rotation-mates last year were A.J. Puk and Logan Shore. Faedo had minor arthroscopic surgery on both knees last fall and his stuff hasn’t been as strong as he showed last year. Baseball America’s preseason #1 college prospect is looking to get his strength and fastball back to 2016 levels; if he can do that then I imagine Oakland takes a hard look his way if he’s available at #6.
MacKenzie Gore is a high school LHP out of North Carolina who's been sitting in the low-to-mid-90’s this spring. BA’s 38th-best high school prospect in the preseason, he’s now being talked about as a near lock for the Top 10. Sure, Oakland hasn’t taken a prep arm in the 1st round since Jeremy Bonderman in 2001 but that just means that they’re due!
Adam Haseley was BA’s 63rd best college prospect during the preseason but the Virginia Junior is currently hitting .396/.495/.689 with 12 HR and a 32/15 BB/K rate. HOLY CRAP! Currently ranked #13 on BA’s latest Top 100 Draft list, Haseley plays CF and has also made 10 starts on the mound for Virginia.
He’s a Short College RHP and Reminds Folks of Sonny Gray …
J.B. Bukauskas is short. Listed at 5’11" (6’0" on the UNC website) he’s considered a Top 5 prospect by BA and Scout and ranks #6 on MLB’s draft board. He gets compared to Sonny Gray because he’s been a very successful college pitcher and he throws in the mid-90’s. Mock drafts push him to the latter-half of the Top 10 … because he’s short and teams tend to hesitate on drafting short pitchers. Except Oakland, obviously.