Image credit: Max Clark (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
One of the biggest challenges in evaluating the draft in real time is the fact that going sooner doesn’t always mean a team took the best player.
With baseball’s soft slotting and bonus pool system, teams can creatively navigate the draft board with under-slot deals for players to save more money for later picks, or go all-in on a big overpay for a player they really like early. In the end, you have to follow the money to get a clearer picture of what teams are up to.
Now that the signing deadline is behind us, here’s what the first round would look like based on signing bonus value:
|Round||Actual Pick||$ Pick||Club||Player||Signing Bonus||BA Rank||BA – Industry Gap|
I’ve also included a column that shows the gap between Baseball America’s pre-draft rankings and the “rank” that is based on the signing bonus value for each of the top 30 picks. Players with the largest deltas will be some of the most interesting to follow in the next few seasons.
Positive numbers in the “BA – Industry Gap” column represent players that the BA draft board likes more than the signing bonus a player received. Players with negative numbers represent players that the BA draft board likes less than the signing bonus a player received.
While it’s an overly simplistic measure and something we won’t know the truth on for several years, here are the players among the top 30 bonuses that the BA draft board has as the best values in the class:
- Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Braves (+11)
- Arjun Nimmala, SS, Blue Jays (+9)
- Jacob Gonzalez, SS, White Sox (+7)
- Walker Martin, SS, Giants (+6)
- Kyle Teel, C, Red Sox (+6)
Here are the players that the BA draft board has as the biggest reaches in the class:
- Nazzan Zanetello, SS, Red Sox (-83)
- Steven Echavarria, RHP, A’s (-45)
- Jonny Farmelo, OF, Mariners (-22)
- Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Angels (-21)
- George Lombard, SS, Yankees (-9)