The safe assumption is that major league baseball teams will sign their top 10 round picks. The loss of slot money for not signing a player gives teams strong incentive to agree to deals before drafting a player, and then not pissing off everyone involved for next year’s negotiations helps enforce all of the handshake deals. This means the only real surprise of the draft is what money all of those handshake deals were for. The first of the major dominoes fell today with the Phillies signing #8 overall pick, Adam Haseley for an overslot bonus of $5,100,000.
According to the Phillies they have also signed 6 other picks in Spencer Howard (2), Jake Scheiner (4), Nick Maton (7), Jhordany Mezquita (8), Jack Zoellner (9), and Connor Brogdon (10). Additionally, MLB’s Jonathan Mayo has them with an agreement with Jake Holmes (11).
According to Jim Callis the Phillies signed Howard for $1,150,000 which is $373,800 under the slot for the #45 pick. It is closer to the #57 pick which is good savings on a player the Phillies like more than the industry. Haseley’s bonus was $319,600 overslot, so after their first two picks the Phillies banked $54,200 to use on future picks.
We don’t know what the bonuses are for Scheiner and Maton, nor do we know the bonuses of Connor Seabold (3), Ethan Lindow (5), and Dalton Guthrie (6). I don’t think it is safe to assume all of the unsigned picks are at slot, but we will loop back to them later, because we do know the bonuses for 8-10. Jhordany Mezquita is getting $50,000, Jack Zoellner is getting $10,000, and Connor Brogdon is getting $5,000. That gives the Phillies a total of $381,100 in savings in those rounds and $435,300 across all of the top 10 round signings we know about.
Mayo reported that the Phillies are giving high school shortstop Jake Holmes $500,000 to sign in the 11th round. Given that it is after the 10th round only the overages on $125,000 (this is up from $100,000) count against the bonus pool. In this case the $375,000 overage knocks the Phillies’ savings down to $60,300.
This is not the only money the Phillies can use in bonuses as the rules allow you to exceed your total bonus pool by up to 5% and you only pay a 100% tax on that 5% overage (if you go beyond 5% they start penalizing you with lost draft picks). This year the Phillies had a total bonus pool of $8,312,600 making that 5% buffer $415,630. This gives the Phillies a total of $475,930 to give in bonus overages. This means that the maximum bonus the Phillies can give to a day 3 pick is $600,930. That is not going to be enough to sign away Shane Drohan or Kyle Hurt from their college commitments. We have already seen some other picks say they are going to college such as Edouard Julien (37), Bill Sullivan (28), and Brady Schanuel (20). At best the Phillies may be able to get 1-2 high school guys late unless one of their other picks in the top 10 comes in way under budget.