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2014 mlb draft featureExcellent news: high school righty Dylan Cease, one of the top 50ish prospects in this year’s MLB Draft is in the fold. Jim Callis reports that Cease gets a $1.5 million signing bonus, making him the Cubs’ second priciest signing in the draft. That $1.5 million bonus is about the slot value of the 38th pick in the draft, which is just after the first round, inside the Competitive Balance A round.

The Cubs got Cease in the 6th Round because of concerns about signability and an elbow issue, but they structured their other picks in such a way as to ensure they had enough money to sign him – and two other very high upside high school arms in the two rounds ahead of Cease, Justin Steele and Carson Sands.

On the signing, Callis adds that it rounded up a great set of signings for the Cubs:

As for the elbow issue, Cease’s partially-torn UCL will require Tommy John surgery, which he’s already scheduled to have later this month, according to Callis. For Cease, to me, it always made sense to cash in now, and then ensure that you’re going to get the absolute best care to repair and then rehab your arm. Prior to his injury, Cease was nearing 100mph, and was in the conversation for the top half of the first round.

Callis adds some data that supports just how much the Cubs must have liked Cease:

Suffice it to say, with patience and a good recovery, the Cubs are going to have landed a stud arm in the 6th Round (well, at least as much as you can call any high school pitching prospect who’s already had one arm surgery a stud). With TJS at the end of this month, Cease is not likely to pitch competitively (by which I mean in any kind of game at all) until late in the 2015 rookie league, or in instructional ball after next year’s summer leagues end. You’d be looking for him to really get going in a way that you could actually start getting stoked about him in 2016, possibly starting out at short-season Low-A Boise, or Low-A Kane County, if he’s really going well.

With Cease now signed, we’ve got the complete picture on the Cubs’ bonus pool:

1. Kyle Schwarber – Signed for $3,125,000 (Slot amount: $4,621,200)

2. Jake Stinnett – Signed for $1,000,000 (Slot amount: $1,250,400)

3. Mark Zagunis – Signed for $615,000 (Slot amount: $714,900)

4. Carson Sands – Signed for $1,100,000 (Slot amount: $480,600)

5. Justin Steele – Signed for $1,000,000 (Slot amount: $359,900)

6. Dylan Cease – Signed for $1,000,000 (Slot amount: $269,500)

7. James Norwood – Signed for $175,000 (Slot amount: $201,900)

8. Tommy Thorpe - Signed for $135,000 (Slot amount: $161,800)

9. James Farris – Signed for $3,000 (Slot amount: $151,000)

10. Ryan Williams – Signed for $1,000 (Slot amount: $141,000)

Prior to the Cease signing, the Cubs were up to $928,700 in savings below the bonus pool allotment. Throw in the additional $417,610 the Cubs can spend without incurring a loss of draft pick penalty, and the team had $1,346,310 extra to play with. The Cubs reportedly used $100,000 of that overage to sign 13th Rounder Kevonte Mitchell. For Cease, the Cubs went $1,230,500 over slot.

That means, after all of these signings, the Cubs have maybe another $15,000 or so with which to work to sign late-round guys. That’s not really much, though it would be added on top of the $100,000 they could use on each pick without impacting the bonus pool. All in all, I’m thinking this was the Cubs’ last big signing.

If so, it was just a hell of a good draft. Obviously you can’t really judge a draft until several years down the road, but, to the extent we can evaluate how well a team planned and executed a draft strategy to maximize their apparent take of talent, the Cubs pulled it off with aplomb.

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