With the 2018 MLB draft behind us, the next step is for the Oakland A’s to sign all of their new picks. They’ve mostly done so, with 10 of their top 11 selections already putting pen to paper. The only one remaining is University of Florida catcher J.J. Schwarz, who is still playing in the College World Series and must wait until his team has finished its postseason run before he can turn pro.
Each club is given a bonus pool to work with, based on the predetermined value of each pick in the first 10 rounds. Click here to learn more about bonus pools. Exceeding your allotted pool brings penalties, most meaningfully if you go beyond 5% of your allowance (at which point you lose future draft picks). Teams often hug up toward that 5% overage, but no one has ever gone past it. The A’s pool this year is $9,553,200, which means their functional limit is $10,030,860.
In past years the A’s have gotten creative with their bonus pool. They’ll go underslot on a few picks, whether an under-the-radar selection in an early round and/or buying low on college seniors in later rounds, and they’ll use that extra money to nab a highly touted high schooler who slipped due to signability concerns. In that way, they can add another 1st-round talent in the 2nd-4th round range, like they did with Dakota Chalmers ($610,000 over in 2015), Skylar Szynski ($470,000 over in 2016), and Nick Allen ($1.3 million over in 2017).
There were no such shenanigans this year, though. Oakland mostly stuck with college picks, and the one high schooler who did show up on Day 2 was all the way down in the 6th round and didn’t command much over his slot value. A couple of the college guys got a few extra bucks, but relatively speaking everyone stuck right around their assigned values. Here’s a look at how the bonus pool has shaken out so far, with Schwarz still yet to sign.
|8||JJ Schwarz||C||173,000||Playing||in CWS|
At the moment the A’s actually stand in the danger zone, at 5.4% over their bonus pool. That means Schwarz will need to sign slightly under his slot (by at least $32,840), so expect to see him get at most $140,160. This isn’t something to worry about, though, as teams have this kind of thing figured out far in advance and there is no reason to expect any surprises in terms of getting Schwarz signed under the limit.
For even more peace of mind, remember that Schwarz is finishing his senior season and has no leverage in terms of returning to college ball. Last year the A’s took college seniors in Rounds 6-10, and each of them signed under their slot by at least $100,000 — a few only got five figures, with 10th rounder Jack Meggs settling for a total of just $10,000. The only other senior on the above list is Feigl, who also went under his slot. Fitting Schwarz under the cap shouldn’t be a problem.
Update, 7/6: Schwarz signed for $140,000, bringing the A’s total bonus pool spending up to $10,030,700. That’s only $160 short of their aforementioned ceiling. Well done!
Here’s a look down the rest of the class. Everyone after the 10th round can sign as high as $125,000 without affecting the bonus pool. Players in bold have signed, and those in italics haven’t yet (most eventually will but a few won’t, especially the high schoolers at the very end of the list):
11. Joe DeMers, RHP: Playing in College World Series (Washington)
12. Noah Vaughan, OF: $100,000
13. Dallas Woolfolk, RHP: $50,000
14. Gus Varland, RHP: $125,000
15. Calvin Coker, RHP: terms not yet known
16. Bryce Nightengale, RHP: $50,000
17. Devin Foyle, OF: terms not yet known
18. Cobie Vance, SS: $50,000
19. Matt Cross, C: $40,000
20. Max Schuemann, 2B: $45,000
21. Daniel Martinez, RHP: $40,000
22. Aiden McIntyre, RHP: $1,500
23. Jonah Bride, 3B: terms not yet known
24. Dakota Mills, RHP
25. Al Jones, OF: terms not yet known
26. Leudeny Pineda, RHP: $25,000
27. Chase Calabuig, OF: $1,500
28. Reid Birlingmair, RHP: $50,000
29. Austin Briggs, LHP: terms not yet known
30. Gio Dingcong, 1B: terms not yet known
31. Alexander Pantuso, RHP: terms not yet known
32. John Jones, C: terms not yet known
33. Joseph Pena, SS: terms not yet known
34. Nick Ward, 2B: $1,000
35. Brandon White, RHP (high school)
36. Chad Bryant, RHP
37. Andrew Miller, 1B (high school)
38. Austin Piscotty, OF: $1,000
39. Hudson Haskin, OF (high school)
40. Lyndon Weaver, CF (high school)
If you’re wondering why some guys only got four digits, those are the college seniors: McIntyre, Calabuig, Ward, and Piscotty, plus the five guys from Briggs through Pena whose dollar amounts haven’t yet been made public, plus Coker and Bride. There’s one more senior in Mills, who hasn’t yet signed.
For more on who all of these players are, check out our draft coverage:
- A’s Farm: Get to know the top 11 picks
- Day 1 (Rounds 1, 2, Comp)
- Day 2 (Rounds 3-10)
- Day 3 (Rounds 11-40)
And finally, the first few draftees have been added to the roster of Low-A Vermont (in order of which round they were picked):
4th. Alfonso Rivas, 1B
5th. Brady Feigl, RHP
7th. Charlie Cerny, RHP
12th. Noah Vaughan, OF
They’ll be joined by more of their peers in the days and weeks to come. Welcome to the whole 2018 draft class!