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2023 MLB Draft: What The First Round Would Look Like Based On Money


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:

RoundActual Pick$ PickClubPlayerSigning BonusBA RankBA – Industry Gap
111PITPaul Skenes$9,200,0002-1
122WSHDylan Crews$9,000,00011
143TEXWyatt Langford$8,000,00030
134DETMax Clark$7,697,5005-1
155MINWalker Jenkins$7,144,20041
196COLChase Dollander$5,716,90060
177CINRhett Lowder$5,700,0008-1
168OAKJacob Wilson$5,500,0009-1
1119LAANolan Schanuel$5,253,00030-21
1810KCBlake Mitchell$4,897,50015-5
11311CHIMatthew Shaw$4,848,50013-2
11012MIANoble Meyer$4,500,00075
11213ARITommy Troy$4,400,000121
11714BALEnrique Bradfield$4,169,70016-2
1s3515MIAThomas White$4,100,00019-4
11416BOSKyle Teel$4,000,000106
11617SFBryce Eldridge$3,997,50022-5
11518CWSJacob Gonzalez$3,900,000117
11919TBBrayden Taylor$3,877,600145
12220SEAColt Emerson$3,800,00027-7
12121STLChase Davis$3,618,20028-7
12622NYYGeorge Lombard$3,300,00031-9
PPI2923SEAJonny Farmelo$3,200,00045-22
11824MILBrock Wilken$3,150,000231
12725PHIAidan Miller$3,100,000205
12026TORArjun Nimmala$3,000,000179
25027BOSNazzan Zanetello$3,000,000110-83
37228OAKSteven Echavarria$3,000,00073-45
12429ATLHurston Waldrep$2,997,5001811
25230SFWalker Martin$2,997,500246

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)

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