Now that James Shields is signing with the Padres, we can close the book on the 2015 MLB Draft order, and look at where the Chicago Cubs will be picking in the early rounds.
First, the draft order in the first round, accounting for draft picks lost due to free agent signings:
2. Astros (for failing to sign first overall pick in 2014 Brady Aiken)
7. Red Sox
8. White Sox
From there, we have the compensation round (teams getting picks for losing qualified free agents), and the first competitive balance round (notice the gift the Cardinals get):
29. Blue Jays
37. Astros (traded by Marlins)
That means the Cubs’ second round pick, when accounting for second round picks lost via signing qualified free agents, lands at number 47 overall. Last year, despite picking 4th overall, the Cubs’ second round pick was only a couple spots higher, at number 45. In other words, we can hope for the Cubs to get a talent comparable to last year’s second rounder, Jake Stinnett – who also saved the Cubs some bonus pool money.
Speaking of which, Baseball America has used that draft order to estimate this year’s draft bonus pools, when accounting for revenue inflation within the game.
Although the Cubs pick 9th in the draft, BA estimates that their bonus pool – about $7.55 million – will be just the 14th highest, thanks to the many compensation and competitive balance picks other teams are receiving (for example, the Cardinals’ pool is estimated at $150,000 higher than the Cubs’).
Last year, the Cubs’ pool was about $8.35 million, and they wound up spending about $9.783 million on signing bonuses. (Recall, a team can exceed its pool by up to 5% without incurring any loss of draft pick penalties, and also picks after round 10 can be signed for up to $100,000 without counting against the pool).
So, as you’d expect when picking five spots lower in the draft, the Cubs likely won’t be able to bring in quite as much talent in 2015 as they did last year – in terms of the cost to sign the players, anyway – but they should still have plenty to work with, especially if they continue to sign over their allotted budget (something they’ve done more than any team in baseball in the Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod era).
As we get into the amateur seasons – they’re starting in some places this week – we’ll have much more on the draft. If you can’t wait that long, and you’re trying to remember how this “spending pool” business works, you can read this for a refresher.