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[The final in a short series of primer posts discussing the upcoming 2012 MLB Draft, which could be huge for the Cubs. The first in the series looked at ten of the players the Cubs might consider with their first round pick, and the second looked at the logics of the Draft. The Draft will take place from June 4 to 6, and you can expect plenty of live coverage here at BN.]

Last year, the Chicago Cubs went nuts in the Draft. They took great players early, they took great players late, and they paid handsomely to sign them. Wouldn’t it be nice to do that again this year?

But, no dice. In the offseason, baseball owners and the Players’ Association passed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which, among other things, dramatically altered the Rule 4 Draft (that’d be the June Draft about which we’ve been talking so much). Some of those changes – a competitive balance lottery, for example – don’t kick in until 2013, but a great many will be confronted by teams for the first time next week.

The Pool

Beginning this year, teams will be assigned a “pool” of dollars that they can use to sign players selected within the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The pool is based on the “slot” value of each of the team’s picks (each pick in the Draft is given a certain value, and each of a team’s picks’ values are added up to determine the pool amount). The Cubs’ pool in 2012 is a hair over $7.9 million, the 8th largest in the Draft. That’s the amount the Cubs will have to work with in the first 10 rounds, in which they’ll draft 12 players.

Last year, the Cubs spent just $6.56 million in the first 10 rounds, so they should be good to go, right? Well, not exactly, as you’ll see. Keep in mind that, in the Draft as a whole, the Cubs spent about $12 million. Unfortunately, that ain’t happenin’ this year.

The Penalties

OK, so there’s a pool of $7.9 million the Cubs have to spend in those first 10 rounds, but what happens if they go over it? Why can’t they just spend $12 million again this year? Penalties!

Any team that exceeds its pool by 0 to 5% must pay a 75% tax on the amount of the overage. Any team that exceeds its pool by more than 5% but less than 10% must pay a 75% tax on the amount of the overage AND loses a first round draft pick. Any team that exceeds its pool by more than 10% but less than 15% must pay a 100% tax on the amount of the overage AND loses a first round draft pick AND loses a second round draft pick. Any team that exceeds its pool by more than 15% must pay a 100% tax on the amount of the overage AND lose two first round draft picks.

As you can see, if you go over by more than 5%, the penalties get really steep.

Still, if you don’t care about paying a little extra money, but don’t want to lose future draft picks, you can safely go over your pool amount by 5%. I fully expect the Cubs to fall into that category, so we can actually think about them having a pool of about $8.33 million, rather than $7.9 million. That could make a difference.

The “Other” Draftees and Signees

You’re probably wondering about rounds 11 through 40 in the Draft (yup, the Draft is only 40 rounds now), and about kids who go undrafted. How do the financials work out for them? Pretty simply: teams can spend up to $100k to sign each of them, whether they were picked in rounds 11 through 40, or went undrafted and are signed as free agents. Any amount a team goes over $100k for a given player is counted against the pool.

Gaming the System?

This is what you really want to know. How can the Cubs game the system this year to do “better” in the Draft than other teams? The short answer is: other than going over their pool amount by no more than 5%, I’m not sure they can.

MLB has long had slot recommendations for draft picks. The difference between then and now, though, is that, until this year, the slot amounts had no teeth. That’s why the Cubs were able to draft someone like Dillon Maples in the 14th round last year and pay him $2.5 million to sign. That would be virtually impossible this year, thanks the penalties for going over the pool.

So how do you draft and sign more talent than other teams? Well, the most obvious way is to have more draft picks and have a higher draft position – but obviously there’s nothing you can do about those things on Draft day.

The drafters of the CBA were very careful to exclude any possible gaming you might think of. How about waiting to Draft overslot kids until after the 10th round? No dice – any amount you pay them over $100k counts against your pool. How about signing a bunch of undrafted kids to big money? After all, there are bound to be quality high schoolers who slide in the Draft, and then aren’t drafted at all. No dice. That over $100k rule applies to undrafted kids, too. How about offering a player a Major League contract as an enticement? No dice. Not allowed anymore. How about picking a couple guys in the first 10 rounds that you know you can’t sign, lowball them, have them reject, and then use that money on other, higher upside picks? No dice. If you don’t sign one of your picks in the first 10 rounds, the money slotted to that pick goes out of your pool. They really did think of just about everything.

The only way to pay guys overslot is if you’ve “saved” money elsewhere in the first 10 rounds by signing someone else underslot. For example, let’s imagine that the Cubs take a decent college pitcher – but not one of the top, say, 10 such pitchers – with their number six overall pick. They could probably sign that guy for considerably less than the $3.25 million slot amount, and could use that savings toward some overslot guys in later rounds.

But, here’s the thing: by doing that, you just passed up on the opportunity to take one of the top six talents in the Draft. And however great you might be at drafting overslot types in the later rounds, you can’t get back the opportunity to get someone like the guys who are going to be going in the top 10. So how much did you really accomplish by this approach? Well, not much unless you grab *multiple* overslot types late, and get them all to sign. It’s doable, but it’s also extremely risky.

From my perspective, your best bet is to use your first round pick on the best player you can get, and then try to get him to take slightly less than slot. From there, you go ahead and draft a few overslot types throughout the Draft, and see where the chips fall by the signing deadline (which has moved up to mid-July from mid-August, by the way).

The only other way I see to game the system is super complicated. It involves a Draft that you see as incredibly deep (this year’s isn’t it), and a subsequent two seasons where you see your team being very good. For example, let’s imagine that the 2013 Draft class is viewed as awesome, and full of tough-to-sign types, who are expected to slide in the Draft. Let’s also imagine that the Cubs expect to be very good in 2013 and 2014 (like I said, we’re just imagining for the purposes of this exercise). Then, in the 2013 Draft, the Cubs can go hog wild on drafting overslot types, and pay them whatever it takes to sign. Yup, they’ll incur heavy penalties including the loss of their next two first round picks, but those penalties are softened by the fact that the lost first round draft picks would likely be coming at the end of the first round (since the team is expected to be good in the following two seasons). Thus, your net talent take in those three Drafts is much higher than it would be if you didn’t go hog wild.

As I said, it’s complicated, and involves projections that are almost impossible to make. But that’s how difficult the CBA has made things for teams looking to improve rapidly via the Draft.

I remain hopeful, though, that the new guys in charge of the Cubs have already thought of creative ways to improve more than other teams in the Draft. Theo, Jed, and Jason are a hell of a lot smarter than I am, so they just might pull it off.

  • Sinnycal

    It sucks that the likely top talent in the draft (Giolito) could fall to us but the new CBA will keep us from getting him.

    • Kyle

      He’s a high school pitcher who is already having UCL problems and hasn’t thrown off a mound in quite some time. I wouldn’t want him with the No. 6 overall pick at any price.

      • ETS

        ^^^ This

      • BD

        I haven’t seen a mock draft that has Giolito going in the first round. He could be a steal at that point, if he can get his arm healthy.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        $1? I’d take him.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Not at number six, I wouldn’t.

          I’d happily take him in the supplemental round, though.

          • BD

            Exactly. How about getting some combo like Fried/Giolito, Correa/Giolito, or Zimmer/Giolito?

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            I think taking him there is a waste of a pick because he would never sign for anything close to that dollar amount for the 43 pick ($1.196M)

            • Sinnycal

              I’ve heard he already told KC he won’t sign with any team below the top four picks.

    • ETS

      What sucks is instead of spending stupid money on draftees, now teams have extra cash for big FAs. Honestly, I’d rather see 20 HS kids get an extra million bucks in a signing bonuses than see Pujols get a 254m deal instead of a 234m deal (pujols might be a bad example but hopefully you get my point).

      • DocPeterWimsey

        You might, but the Players Union would rather see the money go to free agents, and they got a vote in the CBA whereas the amateurs did not.  Similarly, some of the owners (one Chicago owner in particular) do not want millions of dollars going to HS kids when that could be going to <LOCATION UNDISCLOSED>, especially when the majority of those kids won’t pay dividends ever.

        The only people involved who do want big signing bonuses going to HS kids are the agents: and for once they had no influence on events.

        • ETS

          I would think your average GM wouldn’t like the new CBA. Yes some of those signings won’t pan out, but many will and over spending on the draft is an easy way to build depth in your system. Several 100m signings don’t work out either and those cause some serious problems.

          Basically, I see the CBA as forcing you to make a few large bets instead of many smaller ones. I could be wrong.

          • BD

            Pretty sure GMs didn’t have a say (besides trying to be in their owners’ ears).

            • ETS

              Sorry, I wasn’t trying to imply that they did.

          • hansman1982

            My guess is none of the GM’s like the new CBA. The good ones were still going to draft the same guys and be smart enough to save an extra $5M to send to the draft.

            • Myles

              I guarantee you Kenny Williams loves this new CBA. Reinsdorf basically made these draft rules in his own image, because he never spent money on the draft (and now, neither can anyone else)!. Kenny knew he could never overspend and now he doesn’t have to worry about it.

  • HoustonTransplant

    This article makes my face hurt…I can’t wrap my head around it. Theo, Jed, and Jason might be smarter than you, but you sound pretty smart to me considering you understand all this…

    So, after round 10, you can only sign guys for 100k? If you go over, it’s taken from your “pool?” That sounds QUITE restrictive (which is the point I guess). Let’s hope the guys running the show are indeed rather smart.

  • ETS

    I heard read that this draft is “middle heavy” as in no superstars but lots of depth. Perhaps the cubs go cheap in the early round to lock up some later picks? I’m thinking good players with signability concerns (IE Dillion Maples last year).

  • Evan

    So I am assuming that this will have a major effect on trying to sign high school players that also receive full rides to play college football then. It was my understanding that we paid Mapples so much, because we didn’t want him to go play football at UNC. Granted he was going to be a place kicker, but we wanted to get him introduce to pro baseball ASAP.

    • BD

      I believe the goal is to get kids like that taken earlier (based on talent), so that they actually get a chunk of the pool.

      But I am interested to see if there are any kids who will skip out on baseball in order to play football, now that they likely won’t get contracts comparable to years past.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Yes, what the CBA has done is made a college scholarship a much more competitive offer relative to a baseball contract.  This was always true to some extent: that’s why low round draft picks like Prior & Lincecum took the better offer from a college.  That used to be true of 40’s round picks (which I don’t think will exist anymore); now it will be true (probably) for 20’s rounds picks, too.

      • hansman1982

        ya and now any offer of paying college tuition counts as $$$ under the new system. They really thought of everyway humanly possible to screw the Cubs rebuilding efforts.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I would amend your line to “the rebuilding efforts of the Cubs and every other team not called the White Sox.”  The ChiSox have been working under the new CBA for over a decade, after all….

      • Evan

        I figured that would be the case. It will be really interesting to see how this all plays out.

  • Bleacher Nation Fan

    Brett,

    Can teams offer major league contracts to drafted players?

    • Kyle

      No. The new CBA ended that.

      • hansman1982

        I wonder how many guys who didn’t sign last year are now deeply regretting that move

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thank you for asking that, and to Kyle, as well. I need to add that in there.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Goldstein’s Top 10 Mock is up. He has the Cubs selecting Zunino with the sixth pick. It just seems like such a meh/blah pick.

    1. Houston Astros: Byron Buxton
    2. Minnesota Twins: Mark Appel
    3. Seattle Mariners: Carlos Correa
    4. Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman
    5. Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer
    6. Chicago Cubs: Mike Zunino
    7. San Diego Padres: Albert Almora
    8. Pittsburgh Pirates: Deven Marrero
    9. Florida Marlins: Courtney Hawkins
    10. Colorado Rockies: Max Fried

    • Ogyu

      Hrmph. Of all the possible ways for the first 6 to fall, that seems like the least attractive for the Cubs. But from what I read, they’d probably take Fried over Zunino anyway.

      • hardtop

        i think i would.

    • BD

      If a catcher isn’t going to be something like McCann, Mauer, etc- you can’t take him that high. Especially with a pitcher like Fried still available.

      • SouthernCub

        ok McCann is probably the most overrated C in MLB, and BY FAR the worst defensive C

      • Cub Style

        Thurman Munson was pretty good. That’s where I see his ceiling, though as a more modern version of him.

  • Kevin

    It sounds like Collusion to me. What right does anybody have to restrict the amount you should pay for a draft pick? Same thing is happening in Football too. I know things in the NFL got crazy but they never got so crazy in MLB. If a player is worth $10M to sign then he should get $10M, no questions asked. Do we have a free market or not? .

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Not in baseball…

    • Ogyu

      Labor unions are a legally permitted form of collusion. So are professional sports leagues.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It is collusion if the employers (here, owners) unilaterally impose it on their employees. However, a CBA is a bargaining agreement.  Now, where this might violate anti-trust laws is in the fact that it applies to non-union members (i.e., unsigned players) who had no say in the bargaining agreement: in a sense, both employers and one subset of employees are “colluding” against a different set of employees (impending minor league players who are not represented in the MLB players union).  My guess is that it would depend on the judge and which president appointed him/her….

      • WGNstatic

        Isn’t this where the anti-trust exemption granted MLB comes into play?

        • Patrick W.

          I don’t think the anti-trust exemption comes into play here. Collusion can still happen under non-interstate commerce actors. But beyond that, the Players Union voted for and ratified this contract, so the only people put at competitive disadvantage are non-members of the players union. To fight that battle, you have to take on the union you wish to be a part of, and if you win, you likely dissolve that union as a collective bargaining entity, thereby destroying the only real power you have to negotiate. It is the presence of the union that generally stops owners from colluding (now that they have been caught and severely punished for it.)

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The owners have been found guilty of collusion in the past, so the anti-trust exemption is not a “get out of jail free” card.  Whether it would exempt them here or not, I do not know: and my guess is that it would be down to interpretation of law rather than anything specifically written, as this is a fairly unique situation.  (It is also quite possible that different states have different laws that pertain to this.)

          • WGNstatic

            It is true that MLB has been found guilty of collusion before (’86-87 offseason for example). However, it was the MLBPA that sued MLB that season.

            My understanding is that the collusion in that case was illegal because it violated the CBA. The collusion in that case was the individual teams communicating illegally in violation of the CBA.

            What MLB is doing here is essentially the same as any company setting a salary scale for new employees, which any company is free to do. MLB is a single actor here, so they really cannot “collude” with anyone else.

            The problem is that MLB is the only gig in town, so, as a monopoly they can “unfairly” set starting salary that is too low without fear of a competitor signing away their new employees. Typically, this could be fought as an anti-trust violation. However, MLB has an exemption to these laws, therefore the injured parties cannot sue MLB on these grounds.

          • Scotti

            Again, the other sports have even tighter slots and their undraftes players are not part of their union either. This really isn’t unique.

    • Scotti

      The union signed off on it so it’s a stretch to call it collusion. Unions throughout the world work with management to set wages. Little different here. Half of these first round picks will never see a MLB AB or IP. Of the other half most will be marginal players at best.

    • SouthernCub

      Socialism my man, its rampant

  • Kevin

    It’s sad when you have a room full of billionaires trying to figure out a system how to screw the players out of money so they can keep more for themselves. Can we say GREED?

  • Fearbobafett

    Correa seems to the be the wild card in all the mock’s i have been looking at and to some extent Buxton if the Astros or Twinkies don’t take him.
    The common theme i keep seeing is that the top 3 college arms will all be gone by the time we pick, Zimmer being the only one possibly to slip to us.
    It has been posted prior, but it does look like we will be deciding between Correa and Fried, but i would be happy with Zunio also, as it would make-up some, from the cheap ass Tribune company passing up Wieters (6mil) and taking some easy sign kid named Vitters (3.2).

  • cubsin

    If Goldstein’s projection of the top five is correct (in any order), I’d rather take Almora or Fried.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d be OK with Zunino. I could see a lot of value there in a few years.

      • CubsFanBob

        I am really starting to like Zunino. I feel we would be lucky to have him.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I’m not convinced that Zunino will hit for a high enough average to ever truly take advantage of his power.  It’s hard to hit 30+ HR a season when you’re only hitting .210, for example.  That said, he is said to be a good defensive catcher.  He doesn’t need to provide much offense to be a very good catcher.

          If he does hit for both a decent average and power, then you have a prime bat at a position of very high injury risk.  That means, I think, he’d need to be moved to outfield less he become the next Joe Mauer or Buster Posey.

          And if my best case scenario is that I’m moving Zunino to the outfield, why wouldn’t I take Almora instead, given that he has a higher ceiling (in my opinion) and projects as a much better defensive outfielder?

          I’d be content if the Cubs picked Zunino, but there is no scenario in which he is my first choice for the Cubs to take with the sixth overall pick.

           

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            For me, from the REALISTIC options:

            1.) Zimmer
            2.) Gausman
            3.) Correa (these top three are very close)
            4.) Zunino
            5.) Fried (these next two are very close)

            I’m happy with any of these five, and I could also be happy with Almora (though slightly more nervous).

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              I would go:

              1) Gausman
              2) Zimmer
              3a) Fried
              3b) Correa
              3c) Almora
              4) Zunino

          • Cub Style

            He’s a career .327 hitter with a .371 average in his Golden Spikes season and .321 this season.

            His swing is very fluid with no glaring holes, in my opinion. Also, he has a good approach at the plate and can extend at bats.

            That said, I’m a big fan of his and he’s #1 on my board. I believe he could potentially reach a sort of modern Thurman Munson type of player.

      • Dumpgobbler

        You are correct sir. Zunino would be immensely valauble at 6. Best college bat by far at the C position. Projects at LEAST average at C and a middle of the order type bat. Should be a fast mover too. I have a couple other above him on my big board, but if we draft Zunino, I’d be completely happy.

        I’ve also read is Appel and Gausmen are gone by 5, McCullers is the pick there.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Really? Royals would take him over Zimmer?

          • Dumpgobbler

            Its been said that the royals flagged him; and other teams as well. KC Really lieks Gausmen, but “apparently” made a deal with McCullers taht they would draft him at 5 is Appel and Gausmen are off the board. This is all stuff I’ve read. It makes sense though. The royals like Gausmen a good bit, but probably like McCullers a lot too. They could probably save some money on McCullers, and overslot in the second, all while getting a veyr good arm in McCullers.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              If they could sign McCullers for under $3 million, that might be a pretty savvy move given the wide range of opinion on him (some (outliers) like him as a top 5 pick anyway).

              • Dumpgobbler

                I wouldn’t be shocked if McCullers is one of the more successful arms in this draft. I still predict out pick will be Almora.

    • djriz

      Of the 10 players Brett wrote about, I think Zunino has the highest ‘floor’ with a potentially high ceiling. And other than Appell, is probably closest to being Major League ready. That, to me, makes him an extremely attractive pick. Plus, he does play a premium position.

      When I read most scouting capsules on Almora, all I can think of is a high school version of Brett Jackson. Good at everything, not great at anything. I just think you need to do better with the 6th pick.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Almora has one other issue: Scott Boras is his agent (well, technically “advisor”). That means signability is a concern, and you almost certainly aren’t going to get him for even a hair under slot.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I think the Cubs will likely have an informal pre-draft deal in place before they pull the trigger.  They won’t risk a high pick on a guy they may not be able to sign.

          And that goes for every single team above the Cubs as well.  Players who will not agree to sign before they are actually drafted are probably going to fall.  I don’t expect teams to take chances with high draft picks under the new CBA.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Very, very good point.

  • Kevin

    Doc, good reply – “non-union members (i.e., unsigned players) who had no say in the bargaining agreement”, the end result is unsigned players will not get their true worth.

    • Scotti

      Both the NFL and NBA have slotted drafts for all intents and purposes. None of those unsigned players are in their unions either. The greatest difference here is that MLB draftees have a very miniscule chance of actually ever being worth their initial contract. (And this from someone who LOVES the draft)

      • ETS

        Sam bradford worth $50m yet? How about Jamarcus Russell?

        • Scotti

          If you study drafts the MLB draft success ratio-even in the first round-is by FAR the worst of the three. At least Bradford and Russell sold tickets. A typical MLB draft sees about 20% of first round picks become successful MLB players. Successful. Not All-Stars or HOF. Successful contributors. Guys who at the end of their career put up average or better numbers for a sustained period.

  • Beer Baron

    So in the hypothetical scenario where the Cubs go hog-wild in the 2013 draft knowing that they’d be competitive the following year… lets say they are competitive next year as well, are unable to extend Garza but since they are now competitive don’t want to trade him either. So at the end of the year they make him a qualifying offer, and when he signs elsewhere they get a 1st round pick in return. So they lose their own pick in the 2014 draft for over-paying, but now get a different one as compensation, plus all the talent they would have over-paid for in 2013. In the right scenario, it could be a small loophole – perhaps a team like the Brewers who have a small window left and a medicore farm system might say lets go for it this year, let Greinke walk at the end of the season, and in the meantime restock the system by overpaying in the draft.

    Or conversely, what if the hypothetically good 2014 Cubs went ahead and signed Tim Lincecum type free agent – would they lose their pick the following year as well or would it be a case where you can only lose it once?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m fairly certain it keeps going forward until you’ve lost all the first round picks you’re supposed to lose.

      • BD

        So could a team like the Brewers go hog-wild this year, and then let Greinke leave (after a qualifying offer), lose their own 1st round pick and their 1st round comp pick (from Greinke) next year, and be back in business in 2014?

        That might not be a bad way to go, considering the price for a guy like Greinke will be lower (since there’s no compensation for the team that gets him and then let’s him walk).

  • Kyle

    People are trying way too hard to figure out ways to game a system that is mostly game-proof.

    I really doubt there will be many, if any, significantly worthwhile overslot players to be drafted. It won’t be like in the past where the best players may fall far deeper into the draft.

  • Cubs Dude

    This may be a dumb question, but why does MLB allow players to enter the draft and then if they dont get the amount of money they want go back to college? In all other sports once a player declares for the draft they are considered a professonal, and can’t go play in college anymore. It seems like implementing something like this would simplify everything.

    • Scotti

      MLB fears Congress would take away their anti-trust exemption.

    • Kyle

      That’s more up to the NCAA than the league.

      But you can now go back to college after declaring for the NBA draft as well, so long as you haven’t signed with an agent.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, what happens with basketball and football are closer to collusion between the NCAA and the NBA & NFL rather than agreements between owners & players or collusion among owners.  I seem to recall that there were court cases about this in the past, particularly for basketball.  It was never an issue for baseball because baseball provides its own minor leagues whereas the NBA & NFL use the NCAA for their minor leagues.  So, baseball was signing HS aged kids since, well, forever.

      • Cubs Dude

        This whole guessing game to see if a player will sign or go to college seems like a complete pain in the a$$. I mean players like Giolito are messing with Franchise’s futures..

        • djriz

          I think teams are smart enough to include ‘signability’ in their scouting reports. If a player doesn’t give them a definitve YES, that player won’t be picked. It’s not worth the risk.

          I have a feeling Giolito is over playing his cards, and it will hurt him. He does have an injury issue after all.

        • Kyle

          I’d say the players themselves have a lot more on the line than the franchises. They get one shot to make something of their talents, and for most the signing bonus will be the only significant money they ever get from baseball.

    • JK

      I don’t think baseball players declare for the draft. I think they are just taken and then it is a question of whether the team can sign the player.

  • WGNstatic

    I very much doubt that many, if any players, will be willing to sign below their slotted amount.

    With the hard slotting rules, the teams will have much to lose if they fail to sign a draft pick. With that knowledge, the draftee can drive a pretty hard bargain to get his full slot value.

  • Nathan

    I would much rather have the Cubs pick someone different then Zunino mainly because I think they could get a very good catcher in the supplemental rounds in Peter O’Brien. Draft Gausman if he is there, and if not draft Correa or Almora. I am not really a Fried guy, but then again if they draft Fried I cannot really complain because they are in dire need of pitching in the farm system.

  • North Side Irish

    FWIW, Law’s latest Mock calls Almora to the Cubs “the closest thing we have to a lock in the top 10″. He has them taking Almora with Correa on the board, which I wouldn’t agree with at all, but that’s what makes all this discussion so much fun.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Wow, that’s quite a surprising take.

    • Joker

      And when has Keith Law been right?

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      And now Goldstein updated his with a source saying something like: “If the Cubs had the #1 pick, they might take Almora”

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        As I think someone else noted, Keith Law apparently says (haven’t yet seen it myself) Almora to the Cubs is as close to a lock as there is in the top 10.

        • ferrets_bueller

          Almora sounds to me like he’s a lot like Brett Jackson- polished, good at everything, not great at anything.

          • AD

            Speaking of Brett Jackson, he hit another home run tonight!

        • North Side Irish

          Jim Callis had the Cubs take Almora in his latest mock too…again with Correa still on the board. Really surprised by that, but Callis says “Almora has become the front-runner here.”.

          In McLeod we trust.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Saw that too…seems most likely now…
          I somewhat agree on the Brett Jackson comp, but I think his tools would rate a half grade better across the board (ceiling, which players never really reach anyway), and much better on defense.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I will admit I would love to have Fried. But, if we didn’t get him, I would prefer Correa. Dude won’t turn 18 until September, and there is something about drafting those upside kids that haven’t turned 18 before the draft. Probably more superstition than anything, but I like his bat. He did what he did this year, when anybody else his age was a high school Junior.

  • OkieCub

    Whether it was intended or not, I think one of the main consequences of the new CBA will be more players choosing college out of high school. As a fan of the college game as well as the Cubs, I think this will be a good thing. Most high schoolers would be better served with a few years of college anyway and it keeps MLB franchises from footing the bill.

  • nkniacc

    I also think your going to see fewer 2 sport players choose baseball

  • JungleDrew

    I would say it seems fairly obvious that they should take a high schooler, despite the more polished appearance of college ballers. I know you should always take the best player available and not draft for need, but when the 2 match up isn’t it the best of both worlds.
    Max Fried is the best LHP of the draft who is already projecting in the top 10. He is a high schooler, so that would suggest we might be able to get him for a little bit less than the 3 college pitchers if any of them fell to the 6 slot anyway. We already have a high school short stop in the system with Baez, not to mention several other middle infielders who could potentially block Corriea for years. But we need LHP pitching. Need and Best to sign just happen to match up nicely for us this year. The Cubs will take Fried.

  • Kevin

    The way the new CBA is written the Cubs can only pray to be competitive in as early as 5 years from now. I dont see a way to change things around any sooner with restrictive player movement. if you sign a top tier free agent you lose your 1st round pick the following year. It will be very difficult to have competitive clubs in both the majors & minor leagues at the same time. Teams will find it takes much more time to turn things around. Theo must.be scratching his head wondering what he got himself into. If anyone can do it he can but don’t expect a playoff caliber team for awhile.

    • Cub Style

      Picks are still protected in the first half of the draft, I believe from 14 up. It makes free agents more accessible to lesser teams.

  • Kevin

    Agree, in that case the team would lose their 2nd Round pick, good point.

  • Eric

    I view this new CBA as another way for the ruling class to make themselves richer. The rich vs the poor, the established vs. the promising. Wall St. vs. Main st. The aging (and less talented) stars will get even more rediculous large contracts (if they weren’t rediculous enough already) while the young and upcoming will not beable to get those enticing contracts to sway them into certain orginazations. It’s all about paying the already wealthy even more money and it’s disgusting.

  • Jan FortyTwo

    Thanks for another good article, Brett. After reading this, it’s the first time i think i have a little more than a clue about the implications of the new CBA. Finding the “right” strategy for the draft will be a lot harder (both for teams and agents/players, i think). Let’s hope Theo and Jed will outsmart the other teams.

  • Ty Thor

    The new CBA regarding the draft was really made to prevent large market teams with money that are already competitive from being able to improve more through the draft then teams picking at the top. Yes the teams at the top are able to pick which player they want first but usually those teams are small market clubs who may be able to afford one expensive player at the top but then are forced to take below slot guys in the later rounds due to their budget. In the past teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers etc. didn’t care because they could still get a quality player at the end of the first round and then make up for it by drafting guys in later rounds that could have gone higher but were to expensive for smaller market teams too afford. This allowed for these large market clubs to maybe get a lesser player in the 1st round but could still end up getting other guys with 1st round talent later on in the draft because they have the money to sign them and smaller market teams couldn’t afford to sign multiple guys who want first round money even if they were available to them.

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  • Kim

    Is there a rule for upper age limit for draft eligibility? Can a player wait out the limit in hopes of signing for more money?

    • Scotti

      No, he cannot. Even if he signs as an undrafted free agent he is subject to the same limits.

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