We’ve been anxiously awaiting (OK, well I’ve been anxiously awaiting) the release of this year’s slot values for the 2017 MLB Draft. (If you need more info on what those are, please read here.) There were reports that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement would compress the values at the top of the draft, so I’ve wanted to see just how much compression there would be – recall, in recent years past, the slot value for the top few picks was enormous, and then there was a dramatic fall-off, arguably creating more incentive to tank than you would usually see in a sport like baseball.
The top pick in 2017 will have a slot value of just $7.4 million, according to BA, down from $9.015 million in 2016. The next two picks are down a good bit, too. Not only could this theoretically reduce the incentive to tank, but it should also alleviate some of the leverage teams hold over players who are in the mix for those top picks (having such a huge gap between the slot values at the top allowed teams to say to players, “Hey, we’ll take you here if you agree right now that you’ll sign for $3 million under slot … and if you don’t, well you’ll fall and get less than that anyway.”).
BA also notes that the slots fall off more quickly than before in the mid-50s (for example, picks in the 70s are now around $100,000 lower than last year), and they are generally lower thereafter. That would mean less savings for teams that sign seniors in rounds, say, 6 through 10, in order to use those savings on over slot signings elsewhere in the draft.
Helping in that regard, though, is that the bonus pool cut-off amount for picks after the 10th round has increased from $100,000 to $125,000 (only the amount a bonus goes over $125,000 counts against the pool).
For the Cubs, their first round selections will have slot values of $2,260,100 (pick 27) and $2,080,100 (pick 30). That’s a huge jump from last year, when the Cubs’ top selection came at the end of the third round, with a slot value of just $573,900.
In total, then, the Cubs’ pool projects to be $7,099,300, which is the 17th largest pool. Last year, the Cubs’ pool was a mere $2,245,100, by far the lowest in the draft. I’ve never been so happy to see the Cubs in the middle of the pack. The Twins’ $13,481,500 pool is the largest. The Cardinals’ $3,925,500 is just slightly ahead of the Indians at the bottom of the list.
The MLB Draft is June 12-14, and we will have much more on it in the months to come. Having such limited resources available last year means that this year’s draft will be all the more important for the Cubs.