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2019 MLB Draft pt 1: This One Weird Trick To Make Bonus Pool Talk Interesting

Let’s dive into bonus pools, and how the Braves could stack up against other teams.

The 2019 MLB Draft is just 11 months or about 334 days away since the draft will likely land on June 10th. While it’s still too premature to speculate on specific players, it’s never too early to look at some top prospects to get more familiar with names the Braves could call next year. Before we get to players in part 2 of this series, let’s take a look at how the Braves bonus pool, the money the Braves can spend on Draft day, will look and how it might stack up to other teams. If I haven’t put you to sleep yet, continue onward.

Before we dive into the numbers, I’ll touch on a couple of ways that teams can help increase their bonus pool.

Competitive Balance Picks:

Competitive Balance A (added after the 1st round) & B picks (added after the 2nd round) alternate every year for teams that qualify. The 2018 draft included 8 CBA and 6 CBB picks, so 2019 will only have 6 CBA picks (8 CBB picks). Those 6 teams include: Rays, Reds, A’s, Brewers, Twins and Marlins. The Braves do not qualify for a competitive balance pick.

These picks are tradable, however, this is happening less often. Only the Twins traded a CBB pick to the Padres this past season. Even with the Braves rebuild a thing of the past, I still want Alex Anthopoulos to put a premium on trying to acquire these picks.

The Reds, Twins and Marlins are teams that should have a top 10 pick in addition to a competitive balance pick.

Chances of the Braves acquiring a pick: 10%

Compensation Picks:

As for Compensation Picks, we’ll have to wait until this off-season to see who gets offered a one-year qualifying offer and rejects them. It’s doubtful the Braves would get a comp pick since I don’t think they’ll offer Nick Markakis a 1-year qualifying offer of around $18M. He’d most surely accept. However, a few teams like the Orioles, Nationals, Astros and Red Sox could all get a pick if they don’t re-sign their top players - Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. Also, Mike Moustakas isn’t eligible for a qualifying offer since a player can only be offered a QO once.

If a player like Machado is traded, his new team will NOT get a compensation pick for offering a qualifying offer. The player has to remain on the original team the full season. Should the Orioles keep Machado, their compensation pick along with the possibility of having the No. 1 overall pick and receiving a CBB pick, they’d have around $3 million more in bonus pool than the 2nd highest team. That would be insane.

The thing to keep in mind that any team is subject to forfeiting a pick if they sign a player that rejected a qualifying offer.

Chances of the Braves getting a compensation pick: Less than 1%

2016-2018 Bonus Pools:

In 2016, the Braves had the highest pool with over $15M. This was due to having a CBA pick and CBB pick, which were acquired via trades. This helped the Braves land three potential 1st rounders: Anderson, Wentz and Muller.

In 2017, the Braves had the 9th highest pool at just under $10 million despite picking 5th. This was due to lacking additional picks that other teams received.

The Braves had the 8th pick in 2018, but since they lost their 3rd round pick and had no comp picks they ended up with the 15th highest bonus pool at $8.27M.

2019 Estimated Bonus Pool:

This year will be different since the Braves will have the 9th pick for failing to sign Carter Stewart along with another first round pick somewhere in the 20’s. Also, they’ll have their 3rd round pick.

The Diamondbacks and Dodgers also couldn’t reach agreements with their 1st round picks so they’ll each get a pick at 26 and 31 in addition to another 1st round selection.

If the season were to end right now, the Braves would net out with the 24th. The reason it’s the 24th pick is that the 8th best record equals the 23rd pick; however, with the additional pick the Braves got earlier in the round every team moves down a pick. Hence the Braves picking 24th. Just note that if they finish with a better record, the Diamondback’s pick at 26 could come into play forcing the Braves down yet another spot.

Or the Braves could lose a 2nd round pick by signing a player like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

It’s time to peel back another layer and dive right in to the numbers. Going from the 8th pick to the 9th pick in the draft means they’ll lose about $219,00 in value. You pay the price in multiple ways for failing to sign your draft pick.

Another way to look at it is that the Braves picking at 24 will gain about $4,761,500 for the 9th pick. Don’t forget that the Braves will have the 3rd round pick back which has a value of around $683,800.

With all of that said, I’ve estimated the Braves bonus pool to be around $11,170,224 if you factor in a similar 4% increase that we saw from 2017 to 2018.

2019 Top 5 Draft Pools:

Just running some quick numbers, here’s where the Braves’ pool could rank (please note that figures are estimations and subject to change):

2019 Top 5 Draft Pools

Team Expected Pick Estimated Pool Notes
Team Expected Pick Estimated Pool Notes
Orioles 1 $16,342,976 If they trade Machado, it would be $13,742,976; Also includes CBB pick
Royals 2 $13,062,088 Includes CBB pick
Marlins 4 $12,828,088 Includes CBA pick
White Sox 3 $11,586,952
Braves 9, 25 $11,170,224

Obviously, depending on compensation picks, any loss of picks, the trading of competitive balance picks, and where teams ultimately end up picking in the 1st round will determine the final bonus pool numbers.

The Braves could find themselves with the 5th highest pool despite being a potential playoff team.

Having ~$3M more in next year’s draft would be a huge boon. They could go after a couple high quality guys or try spreading it out more among the top rounds staving off the need to sign a cheap senior another round or two.

In part 2, I’ll look at some of the top upcoming college players for the 2019 draft. The focus will be on end of the 1st round and later.

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