2013 MLB Draft Primer: Bonus Pool, Slot Values, Penalties, All-That-Jazz

2013 mlb draft[If you're looking for information on the logistics of this year's Draft - the timing, the coverage, the order, etc. - you can find it here in the first installation of the Draft Primer. This morning's rash of hot rumors has already preempted this post twice.]

The 2013 MLB Draft has arrived, and, with the passage of the CBA before the 2012 season, everything you knew about draft strategy and protocol changed completely.

I wrote an in-depth piece about those changes, and I’d encourage you to read it here, because it informs so much of how the Draft will proceed. But, in case you don’t want the in-depth look and just want to know the gist, I’ll lay it out here, as well.

The Bonus Pool

Teams are 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’ bonus pool this year is $10,556,500.

The Slot Values

The slot values for the first ten picks are as follows:

1. Astros – $7,790,400
2. Cubs – $6,708,400
3. Rockies – $5,626,400
4. Twins – $4,544,400
5. Indians – $3,787,000
6. Marlins – $3,516,500
7. Red Sox – $3,246,000
8. Royals – $3,137,800
9. Pirates – $3,029,600
10. Blue Jays – $2,921,400

As you can see, it’s a very swift decline after the top four picks, which could assist those teams at the top in leveraging some dollars they save “under slot” on their top pick to sign “over slot” types later in the Draft.

The slot value for the Cubs’ second round pick is $1,361,900, the third round pick is $736,200, and the fourth round pick is $477,300. By the 10th round, that figure has slid down to $139,000.

The Penalties

Those bonus pools and slot values matter because if a team exceeds its bonus pool, it is subject to penalties. And note, if a team fails to sign a player, the slot value from that pick is removed from the bonus pool. This is why you’ll see teams heavily taking college seniors in the 6 to 10 round range: the team can sign those players for $10,000, and “save” money to be applied elsewhere in the Draft.

Also note that picks after the 10th round have no slot value (and you don’t lose any bonus pool money for failing to sign them), but any amount given to them in excess of $100,000 counts against the bonus pool.

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.

Given that penalty structure, it was unsurprising to see the Cubs gladly exceed their pool last year, but by an amount less than 5% over the pool. Assuming they’re willing to pay the tax again this year (they will be), you can think of their bonus pool as closer to $11,084,00 rather than $10,556,500.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

93 responses to “2013 MLB Draft Primer: Bonus Pool, Slot Values, Penalties, All-That-Jazz”

  1. BluBlud

    And with the 2nd pick in the 2013 MLB draft, the Chicago Cubs select……….Lebron James!!!!!! I’ll keep up with draft tonite, but my attention will be focus on the NBA Finals.

    1. DarthHater

      After almost 50 years, there aren’t many things that could get me to abandon being a Cubs fan, but that might be one of them.

      1. BluBlud

        Come on Darth, the man is a beast. There is no denying his talent. I wouldn’t doubt if the guy could be a hell of a baseball player.

        1. Timothy Scarbrough

          He is one of, if not the best, athlete in the world, he should be able to play any sport with success.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Could he be a jockey?

            1. Timothy Scarbrough

              That would be tough. Although I bet he could race on elephants pretty well.

            2. BluBlud

              that might be about the onlything in sports he couldn’t do.

            3. RoughRiider

              No. But he could be the horse.

              1. Cubbie Blues

                That would be a rough ride.

            4. Kevin

              The horse would ride him

          2. JulioZuleta

            I’ve had this argument with other people before. I am 99.9% sure that he could not have been a professional in any other sport. That 0.1% I left is for football, but even that is so ridiculous to suggest. No way could he play baseball or hockey. Completely, completely different skill sets.

            1. Timothy Scarbrough

              Well, with his athletic skill set I feel like if he had put that much effort into the sport since he was 5 or whenever he started playing basketball perhaps he could. Just transitioning now would be incredibly difficult. I don’t know.

              1. BluBlud

                Guess we were thinking alike.

              2. hansman1982

                Ya, that is probably true; however, since he is a god in baseketball doesn’t mean he would even be average in baseball.

                But, considering his build, he’s probably best suited for a basketball/football debate.

            2. BluBlud

              The best tight ends in football(Tony Gonzalez, Antonio gates, Joey Graham, Rob Gronkowski) were all basketball players. He has more speed and size in terms of weight and height, then any of them. So there is no doubt he could at least play TE in the NFL and at a high level. But with his skills, athleticism and makeup, If he had focus on just about any sport from childhood, he would probably have at least been able to be decent professionally.

              1. JulioZuleta

                I’m not going to write another comment about this, but to say that since a guy is taller and faster than NFL TEs means he could play that position is completely ridiculous. I would lllooovvee to see LeBron James in on pass protection blocking Julius Peppers, or trying to get separation from NFL corners. Or see him catch a pass in traffic knowing he’s about to get laid out.

                To put your argument in context, here’s a real life scenario. A few weeks ago I went back to my high school field to play baseball with my brother that still goes there and his friends. I hit three or four balls easily out of the park. That must mean that since I can hit the ball the same distance as major leaguers, and further than some, that I should be in the MLB, right? I’m 6’1″ 210, can hit a baseball 400 ft on occasion and run faster than a lot of MLB guys. Hell, maybe I’ll get drafted tonight. I need an advisor, quick. Completely ridiculous suggestion.

                1. Falselife

                  No it’s not. Get a uniform, you start tonight.

            3. Alex

              He was a top recruit for football, check out some of his he’s football highlights. Dude was a beast.

              1. JulioZuleta

                Every year 3,600 D-1 scholarships are given. Every year 210 college football players are drafted. Of those 210, less than 1/10th go on to make a single pro-bowl. Of those 210, 3 will make the Hall of Fame. If you do some very rough math on that, 1 out of 175 players that accept D-1 scholarships will make even 1 pro bowl. I get it that he was a good high school football player, but a lot of guys were. He had a chance to be great, maybe. But go back and look at any top recruit list from any year and then look up the NFL stats of those guys.

            4. X The Cubs Fan

              He actually got a football scholarship to Florida…

          3. Dougy D

            Just like Michael Jordan?

        2. hansman1982

          Possibly, if he had spent as much time becoming a baseball superstar. Question is, how good is his batting eye?

          1. BluBlud

            Well his court vision is probably the best, and if not, near the best in the league. Those 2 skills probably are similar for their respective sports. If his batting eye is anywhere near his court vision, I would think he be above average at the least.

            1. JulioZuleta

              Wow. Haha, I’m sure having the vision to see where 6’9″ men are about to be is similar to the vision needed to discern where an 86 mph slider is going to be. Ok, I’m done with this. I’ve had this arguments with others, and it always riles me up. Just absolutely terrible logic. How many 6’8″ successful hitters are there in the MLB? In MLB history? Zero.

              1. Falselife

                Richie Sexson was 6’8″ and had a career of about 10 years. Might not have been a stud, but he had a respectable career. I don’t think Lebrom would stand a chance, but had to stand up for Sexson.

                1. Mikhel

                  Sexon was 6′ 7″… that’s why IF the guy the NYY drafted (Aaron Judge) gets to play in MLB he will be the tallest position player ever, standing at 6′ 8″ (Sexon is the same height as Strawberry and Dave Winfield); the tallest MLB players were all of ‘em pitchers.

            2. hansman1982

              Basketball and baseball require two different versions of hand eye coordination.

              One, you are trying to shoot a ball at a stationary object, dribble the ball (often times barely using your peripheral vision and sometimes without seeing the basketball at all) and defend against someone moving a few MPH.

              The other, you have fractions of a second to determine where a 4″ spherical object is going to be a second or two later all the while you are trying to get a round object traveling at tens of MPH to squarely hit a (maybe) 1 square cm patch on another round object travelling upwards of 100 MPH with movement. Or you are trying to react, suddenly, to a batted ball travelling upwards of 110 MPH and catch it with an object not much bigger than your hand.

              I’d say that Lebron would have a much better chance of becoming a pitcher (both bball and pitching require repeatable mechanics) than a hitter and even then, I doubt that, right now, he could do it.

              1. Blublud

                Well, I guess its safe to say he chose the right sport. ;)

                1. hansman1982

                  That is very true…he’s, probably, going to be an all-time great.

        3. @cubsfantroy

          He flops to much. If the ball came within a foot of him, he would fall to the ground and complain that it hit him.

          1. BluBlud

            Now thats a low blow. No different then what Derek Jeter did. Hey, in not against the rules in baseball.

          2. Timothy Scarbrough

            If there is a way I can help my team win by flopping, I’ll flop. If you want people not to flop you need to change the rules.

            1. BluBlud

              Flopping is actually illegal in the NBA now. James, West, and Stephenson all got fined for it last series. The fine is only $5,000 though. So if all it cost me to make one play to win the series is $5,000, and I make $60,000,000 a year like Lebron does, I consider that money well spent.

  2. Hawkeye

    If I am thinking of this correctly, if you are selecting a college senior, why wouldn’t you offer to pay a small margin over what he would get if he fell one spot. For example, why would the Cubs offer to pay much more than $5.7MM to Appel? If he doesn’t take it, he is out of options, and every spot he falls only take more money out of his pocket. I am sure I have missed somthing here, and look forward to someone putting me in my place.

    1. Kyle

      That’s what everyone’s trying to get their preferred pick to agree to, but there’s a lot of jockeying until the last minute.

    2. dw8

      Technically, Appel is not out of options. He has the leverage of holding up the selecting team’s other draft signs by not signing. It isn’t the leverage he had last year, but it is still some. Also, if a team below blows it out and uses some of the other pool money to go over slot, they can offer more than just their first round slot money.

  3. Die hard

    Frazier at 2.5 mil

    1. HackAttack

      Frazier will be 19 in September. Isn’t that kind of like a college kid playing against high schoolers?

      So I’d go with Meadows, who just turned 18. But that’s not going to happen.

      1. hansman1982

        If Frazier is in High School and almost 19, I’d say that takes him down a notch.

        Fangraphs, I think, did a study a few months back and said that youth at draft day helps.

        1. Cedlandrum

          September is the cutoff in school calendars for entering school. He was age appropriate all year as an 18 year old and will be 18 all the way through the summer. So next year will be his age 19 season all the way through just like Byron Buxton this year. It really is no big deal.

          1. TC

            It’s actually a pretty big deal. The article Hansman is (probably) referencing http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15295 shows that the younger a player is the more likely he is to outperform expectations based on draft position.

            1. hansman1982

              That’s it.

              I’m not saying it’s like he should be facing AA pitching at his age, but, for whatever reason, 6-9 months worth of age makes a HUGE difference.

              1. JulioZuleta

                I would want no part of Frazier. I don’t think I’d take him in the top 20, but someone obviously will. A 5’11″ (maybe) HS corner OF that appears to be done growing and has already filled out muscle-wise…no thanks. If a team takes Frazier before Meadows, I think they’re nuts.

                1. JulioZuleta

                  I didn’t even see whose original post I was responding to. Ugh.

                  1. Bilbo161

                    How about Kohl Stewart for a bit less than the two college guys. I’ve been thinking Houston might. Could we?

              2. Cedlandrum

                Sure that makes sense, but he graduated 5 months before he will turn 19. There maybe a difference in ability based on age, but the study talks about a year in age difference. Frazier is 18 and so is Meadows and they are just about 6 months difference in age. So I would give the edge to Meadows there, except when you read reports about bat speed and such Frazier may be the better prospect. I think the article talked about age being a big deal unless they were elite prospects. I don’t know if you would consider these 2 elite, but they are the 2 best hs bats, and I actually like Frazier better because he has quicker wrists and squares it up better.

                As for the outgrowing the position or whatever, I have read that Frazier will outgrow it and I have read that he is done growing. I have read he is 5’11 and 6’1. So who knows. He is pretty fast and considered a plus runner. He could stick in Center.

        2. TC

          I believe that the original piece on how important draft day age is was done by Rany Jazayerli at Baseball Prospectus a decade ago. He also mentioned the other day that a big reason teams are so high on Moran is that he is extremely young for a college player, 3rd youngest draft-eligible college bat.

          1. hansman1982

            Ya, I just read it for the first time a few months ago, probably through a linked Fangraphs article.

          2. SenorGato

            Just a reminder on this – Appel isnt even a half year older than the major college juniors (except Moran).

          3. DarthHater

            The Jazayerli article only talked about position players, right? I don’t think it tells us anything about the role of age when drafting pitchers.

            1. SenorGato

              There has to be some advantage in being a little older as a pitcher given the injury nexus from birth to 24/25ish.

            2. King Jeff

              Yeah, HS arms always seem to be the bigger risk. That said, I’d rather see the Cubs take a chance on Kohl Stewart(HS), than a fast rising college guy with one big year like Gray.
              I can’t see the Cubs passing on Appel if he’s available, but if that’s who the Astros pick, then I’d like to see the Cubs choose between Bryant and Stewart.

              1. SenorGato

                If they were to F with me and go.small, I would.prefer Stewart to Gray.

              2. JayPaul

                Definitely would prefer Stewart to Gray….I understand the risk involved with prep pitchers, but if Appel is gone and we don’t select my overall favorite in Bryant….I hope Stewart is in the conversation.

  4. JulioZuleta

    Law just issued a new mock…has Appel #1 :(

    1. JulioZuleta

      I don’t like to post too much Insider stuff, but since the Cubs are #2…he has is #1 Appel, #2 Gray.

    2. JB88

      As an Insider, I think KLaw’s mock should be taken with a very large grain of sand since he appears to be operating off of information from last night. He might be right, but I think his info, at this point, is dated.

      1. JulioZuleta

        I know, I still don’t think Hou will take Appel, but he does say that they are trying to make a deal. I’m sure everyone is trying to make a deal with everyone right now, though.

        1. JB88

          I think that Houston is trying to make a deal with all of Appel, Gray, and Bryant. The thing is, at the end of the day, Houston will take whoever is the cheapest of those three. Does anyone realistically believe that Appel will be the cheapest of those three? Because I don’t believe so.

  5. Whiteflag

    I hope the Cubs go #2 Bryant and pitching the rest of the way.

    1. Justin

      I agree if Appels gone. I don’t have a good feeling about Gray. He seems a bit risky. The Cubs can’t miss with this pick.

      1. BABIP (MichCubFan)

        Justin, I agree. I don’t have a good feeling about Gray. But then again I have only seen a few clips of him pitching, and the FO has scouted him a lot. I trust the FO but would still like to see Appel or Bryant…or if things end up crazy, Kohl Stewart.

  6. North Side Irish

    Interesting look at college pitchers drafted with the first two picks. Based on career WAR, over half of them turned out as strong regulars or better (12 WAR or better), plus a couple more are still in the minors (Cole, Hultzen) or are too young (Strasburg) to make the list.


  7. Mr. Gonzo

    If Ziomek is there at #41, do you think the Cubs should take him, or is that considering reaching too far? BA has him ranked 51st.

    1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      In a heartbeat, take him.

      1. Mr. Gonzo

        I would probably sh!t rainbows of happiness if the Cubs landed both Appel & Ziomek tonight.

  8. North Side Irish

    John Arguello ‏@CubsDen 1m
    Hearing #Cubs have good feel for what it will take to sign Appel and that it is likely more than Houston wants to pay http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/06/cubs-mlb-draft-primer-names-you-should-know-for-the-first-day/

  9. When the Music's Over

    Amusing how quickly the rumored Appel at pick #2 bonus demands have gone from slot or under slot, to above slot. So hard to believe anything.

    1. JB88

      That’s not what Cubs Den is saying, though. It is more nuanced than that. What he is saying is that what Appel wants is more than what the Astros are willing to pay. He could still want under slot for No. 2 and that could still be more than the Stros are willing to pay. Last year, the Astros only paid Correa $4.8 MM. If they stuck to that same organizational philosophy this year, Appel could be asking for $6MM (which would be under slot for the Stros and Cubs), but would still be above what the Astros want to pay.

      1. When the Music's Over

        It’s certainly hard to be sure about what’s real when everything is nuanced here say aggregated by rumors and opinions from a number of different sources. Just going by what I read (or at least what I remember from what I’ve read), which was that the Cubs would have some leverage (again, rumors and opinion), that whatever he will get this year will be far more than what he got last year, and that if him and Boras are smart, starting his MLB service time ASAP is in his best interest. All those things led me to believe at or just under slot. Even Arguello pinned him at $6M a number of times. Now I read Appel at $7M here. That would be over slot. Hence my comment.

        1. When the Music's Over

          *hear say

        2. JB88

          Where are you reading $7M for Appel? I can’t say I’ve seen every post on this site today, but I don’t recall ever seeing anyone anywhere suggest that Appel was demanding $7M.

          1. When the Music's Over

            In the previous post, Brett said the bonus demand for the Cubs slot for Appel could approach $7M.

            1. JB88

              Not to knock on Brett, but he is the only person who is suggesting Appel is asking for $7M—which he might be asking for—and I don’t see any quotes attached to that.

              So I suspect that Brett is engaging in a mental exercise to gauge whether people would take Bryant at $4MM over Appel at some larger number, not that Brett is actually saying Appel is asking for $7MM.

              1. When the Music's Over

                Either way, doesn’t matter to me, and for the record, I’d be happy to pay Appel slightly over slot.

                In the end, people can nit pick comments to death. Literally, almost every statement everyone makes has holes, and that isn’t specific to blogs. In this instance, in terms of saying Appel might (rumored) want over slot, I was just going by what I read on this site and past history, which suggests Boras (both in free agency and the draft) is unlikely to settle for anything less than slightly above slot. Again, was just saying that I found the rumors amusing.

                1. SirCub

                  Well considering that he turned down 3.8 mil last year, and he’s been considerably better this year, I’d say his asking price is definitely going to be on up there.

  10. Die hard

    Don’t rule out that top catcher yet at 3 mil

  11. BluBlud

    What happens if Appel doesn’t sign before next years draft. Does he go back into the draft, or does he become a free agent. If he can’t become a free agent, I would just sign my other 9 guys, and then tell him to take whats left. at that point, what is he going to do, retire.

    1. Kyle

      He goes back to the draft.

    2. cubchymyst

      Just read something about Luke Hochevar, He was drafted as a college senior and didn’t sign. So he played a year in the Independent League then was re-subject to the draft the following year.

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