May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm by David Lee under Atlanta Braves, Draft
In this morning’s blog post, Buster Olney broke down the Top 10 picks and what they’re worth, as well as what each team spent in last season’s first 10 rounds.
I decided to use the comparison to see how the bonus pool might affect draft spending this year. Below is what I have (totals are Top 10 picks only):
|Teams||Last year||Difference between last year and pool (red=pool is smaller)|
The first thing you may notice is not every team has the same number of picks or had the same number last year. I realize this, so some of the comparisons aren’t worth taking a ton of value from. But you do see some differences in the bigger amounts.
The Pirates and Nationals went above and beyond the other teams in spending, and they will see the biggest difference in dollar amounts between last year and this year. The Pirates gave Gerrit Cole an $8 million bonus as the No. 1 pick, but their slot is going for $6,563,500 this year. Their second-rounder, Josh Bell, received a $5 million bonus, and their slot for the second round is now $746,300. (They have two first-rounders and a comp, so their first three picks are obviously much higher than the second round amount).
This is why multiple draft picks in the early rounds are more important than ever. Teams can no longer rely on big spending to nab the waffling first-round athlete. Therefore, they need those extra picks to make up the difference. So you will see teams such as the Pirates, Nationals, Rays and Royals, who rely on draft spending, getting hit with the impact of bonus pools.
What does this mean for the Braves? It never really meant much. They spent around $2.5 million on the first 10 rounds last year, and their bonus pool is a little more than $4 million, so it’s not a big difference. They have gone the way of easy signings, high floors and experienced college players. Having a pretty low bonus pool compared to other teams just plays into their strategy.
The Braves’ first round pick at No. 21 is going for $4,030,800, and the second-rounder is going for $1,825,000. Last year, the Braves gave first-rounder Sean Gilmartin a bonus of $1,134,000. As the chart shows, their pool allows for greater spending for the same number of picks.
Another thing to keep in mind for this year is that the class is projected to be weaker than in years past. The spending is always increasing naturally over time, but last year may have seen a larger increase than usual due to a strong top of the class. So the comparisons between last year’s spending and the bonus pools may be exaggerated slightly because of this.
Olney mentions that the assumed weaker class could result in smaller bonuses in the first few rounds, saving money for later picks. This doesn’t add up to me because the biggest spending will be in the early rounds, and teams don’t generally save money for later picks, because the only talent worth overspending for is in the first round or two. If a team targets a player in the first round or two and he falls to that team, it will likely pop him with the recommended amount. I don’t expect to see teams saving money for later rounds, nor do I expect to see many teams going over the recommended amount and attempting to cut back in later rounds.
How teams handle the bonus pool is an intriguing aspect to this year’s draft, because teams will be forced to look at spending in a new way. However, if you were expecting the Braves to change their ways because of it, you may be disappointed.