BA’s Draft Database is constantly being updated with signings, and the recent signing of Reds first-rounder Devin Mesoraco made him the ninth first-rounder to sign. The Reds gave Mesoraco $1.4 million cash, plus money for school, a deal that continued this year’s commissioner’s office-mandated downward trend of bonuses.
Mesoraco was picked 15th overall. Last year’s No. 15 pick, prep outfielder Chris Marrero, received a $1.625 million bonus from the Nationals, meaning Mesoraco received a little more than 10 percent less than Marrero did last year. That’s right in line with other first-round signings. Rangers first-rounder Michael Main received a $1,237,500 bonus as the 24th overall pick, while last year’s 24th pick, Braves first baseman Cody Johnson, got $1.375 million. I did the oh-so-difficult math, and Main received exactly 10 percent less than Johnson got, right in line with what we’ve been hearing all along on Major League Baseball’s recommended signing slots in the first round.
(Incidentally, Main, one of the best athletes available in the draft, was drafted as a righthander, but he told the Orlando Sentinel that while he will focus on pitching, he will do some hitting, at least in the short term. He had yet to debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League.)
The same 10 percent discount helps explain why the A’s signed UC Riverside righthander James Simmons for $1,192,500–right at 10 percent less than righty Bryan Morris got at No. 26 overall last year. Outfielder/first baseman Matt LaPorta, who went seventh overall to the Brewers, remains the highest-drafted player signed. At $2 million, LaPorta received about 13 percent less than last year’s No. 7 overall pick, prep lefty Clayton Kershaw. Of course as a college senior, LaPorta had less bargaining power than most first-rounders.
Not every first-rounder has signed at or below slot, though. Indians pick Beau Mills, a corner infielder out of Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State, signed for $1.575 million, the same bonus the No. 17 pick (Matt Antonelli) got last year. (Outfielder Tyler Colvin signed below slot at $1.475 million a year ago, but it was a special case for the Cubs, who spent heavily later on Jeff Samardzija.) But every other first-round pick–from No. 8 overall Casey Weathers to No. 25 pick Aaron Poreda and of course No. 28 pick Ben Revere–has signed for less than the slot received a year ago, usually right around 10 percent.
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