Blue Jays and the Draft

Hello Blue Jays fans. As a Pittsburgh fan, we have shared something in common over the past few years. Significant spending in the draft has created an infusion of talent into our farm system and led to excitement in our respective fanbases. The Pirates are behind as far as farm systems go, because man is that Blue Jay farm system impressive.

However, that excitement has taken a hit in recent weeks with the creation of a new CBA. In the new CBA, all indications are draft spending, and thus the ability to add significant talent to an organization via overslot deals, has been greatly restricted and hampered.

Unfortunately, I come with what will probably be viewed as even more bad news. I can by no means guarantee the following calculations are 100% correct or indicative of what can happen, but I am passionate about the draft and believe I have done my due diligence in being as accurate as possible in my conclusions considering the information, and more specifically, the numbers, that have been reported to the public.

Without further ado, what I know about the draft and how it will pertain to the Jays. (For the record, I have chosen to crunch the numbers relevant to the Blue Jays because I like AA, the Blue Jays draft strategy and success recently, and more generally, the Blue Jays in general. Though I must add... give us Jose Bautista back please.)


Most of my work comes from information from Jonathan Mayo, the draft expert over at First is a brief overview of what I'm trying to calculate and what is going on in general. The new CBA has affected the draft in multiple important ways. The compensation system for free agents has been overhauled (probably to the dismay of Blue Jays fans as AA has done an excellent job making the system work for him). There is a new "competitive balance" lottery. The signing day has been changed (Thank God).

Despite these changes being important, I'm focused on restrictions on monetary spending. Prior to the new CBA, a team could theoretically spend infinite amount of money on the draft. Now, due to the new CBA, there are restrictions on spending with very harsh penalties if the restrictions are broken. Without getting into the details, going over will cost a team 1st round draft picks, making overspending too costly to really consider it except in extreme circumstances (as far as I can tell).

Onto the details using actual numbers. Quoting Mayo from this article,

According to Major League Baseball, the signing-bonus pool for 2012 Draft picks will range from $4.5 million to $11.5 million per team.

So, looking at the draft order, the Astros will have a pool of 11.5 M for their standard 10 picks in rounds 1-10. The Yankees will have 4.5 M.

We also know the amount allotted for the top 10 teams overall. Those come from here and are as follows. Furthermore, Jim Callis adds to the discussion via twitter the second blockquote.

1 — $7.2 million
2 — $6.2 million
3 — $5.2 million
4 — $4.2
5 — $3.5
6 — $3.25
7 — $3
8 — $2.9
9 — $2.8
10 — $2.7

More evidence new values = 1.5x old slots & reflective of actual spending. : CBA top 10 pick values:

For the first few picks, the 1.5x rule doesn't work too well, but after that it seems to line here pretty well as you can see from 2010 slot values found here (I used the 2010 slot values because in the first Mayo article, he indicates that is where MLB calculated these numbers from, viewing 2011 spending as an aberration).

From these two sets of numbers, we can obtain the following. For rounds 2-10, the Astros next year will get an allotment of 4.3 million dollars (11.5 - 7.2 = 4.3).

Now, from the article I quoted Mayo from for the first set of numbers we can also draw this. The team picking 2nd in 2012 will get ~9.2 million dollars. The team picking fourth will get ~7.2 million dollars. That comes from this chart from the article.

Team 2010 2012

Rays $6,233,300 $7,674,600
Royals $6,196,000 $7,200,400
Pirates $11,374,900 $9,270,800

Now, it uses team names, but Mayo later cleared up that he simply was explaining how much money the Rays, Royals, and Pirates would get next year if they were drafting with the same picks they had in 2010. In the case of the Pirates and Royals, that is the #2 overall pick and #4 overall picks respectively, with the standard picks in rounds 2-10 and no compensation picks of any kind. It was different for the Rays, which I will go into in a bit.

Therefore, while the Astros next year will get 4.3 million dollars from their 2-10 round picks, the Twins drafting 2nd and O's drafting fourth will each only get ~3.0 million dollars from rounds 2-10 (9.2 - 6.2 and 7.2 - 4.2). The Twins will get an extra whopping $74,000 dollars more than the Royals for their equivalent picks in later rounds.

Now, unfortunately, we don't have exact 1st round values for picks past pick #10, and we only have the total allotment for the team picking 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 30th, but we can estimate using Callis's 1.5x rule. Doing that, the slot in 2010 for the #17 pick was 1.467 M multiplied by 1.5 equals ~2.2 M.

Money Pool from Standard Picks

Now, I must point out that the 1.5x rule seems to clearly fall apart towards the back end of the first round. That is because slot for the #30 pick was .954 M (x 1.5) which equals ~1.43 M. That would mean to create a final total pool of 4.5 M, the Yankees picking 30th overall would get more in rounds 2-10 (3.07 M) than the Twins will picking 2nd overall. To me that makes no sense. Plus, the increments downward from picks 7 through 10 are only by 100K, much smaller than at the top of the draft. If you cut the increments in half to an average of 50K from pick #10 to pick #17, the 17th pick will get 2.35, so let's round that to 2.3M to split the difference a bit.

So the Blue Jays will get ~ 2.3 M. Moving to rounds 2-10 and using logic, the max any team picking past #4 will have in rounds 2-10 will be an extra 3 M. I will shift that down a few hundred thousand dropping from pick #4 to pick #17, and calculate the Jays will get an extra 2.8 M standard from picks 2-10. I don't think it will drop much more than that because it stabilizes quickly as seen from #2 to #4, and the Yankees will need a good amount at #30 to get to their 4.5 total, considering I can't see the #30 pick being worth anymore than 2 M or so. That would mean the Yankees will get 2.5 M from rounds 2-10, and the Blue Jays will obviously be in between the 2.5 and 3.0 number.

That means, total the Blue Jays will have around 5.1 million dollars for their standard picks. Accounting for variance, I think the minimum they will get will be about 4.5 million, but unfortunately the max will be about 5.5 million.

Compensation Picks

Now onto comp picks, because the Blue Jays will have plenty of extra picks come next June. This is where I get confused and/or dismayed, because the math doesn't line up with logic. Unfortunately, logic may be in short supply over at MLB HQ, so the math may still be right.

Again from Mayo's article we have the amount of money the Rays would have had under the new guidelines from their picks in 2010. From the chart above, that number is ~7.67 M. That year, the Rays had the #17 pick overall due to their record the year prior (which is good, cause it saves me doing more math). In addition, they had #31 pick overall (compensation for not signing Levon Washington in 2009), the 10th pick in the 1st supplemental round (#42 overall), their normal 2nd round pick (#66) and another compensation, this time at the end of the second round (for not signing Kenny Diekroeger - #79). Then they had their normal staple of picks in rounds 3-10.

If we use the amount I give the Jays for their standard picks come next June, and apply it to the Rays, that leaves ~2.6 M "leftover (7.67 - 5.1 = 2.57 rounded), with a low range of 2 M and a high range of 3 M.

Now, using the 2.6 M figure I calculated, if one were to assume the Rays would have gotten full value for their 30th pick, and we assume that pick is worth ~2 million dollars, that means the Rays only got ~600K for their two extra picks combined. That doesn't look too promising for the Jays who have found exciting prospects such as Syndergaard and Nicolino with extra picks in recent drafts, because that limited amount of money will probably have to go to college prospects, who generally have less upside.

Trying to be "optimistic, it is possible to shift down the spectrum and propose the Jays will only get say 4.6 M for their standard picks (thus the Rays would have too), and that the #30 pick only provides 1.8 M instead of 2.0 M. If that is the case, which is entirely possible, the Rays instead would have gotten ~1.4 M for their supplemental first round pick and extra second round pick (7.67 - 4.6 - 1.8). That is a much more palatable figure, especially considering the Blue Jays will have several picks of the supplemental variety.

The other possibility is that teams simply won't get full value for picks that come as compensation for unsigned players. Maybe the money for the #30 pick built into that Rays number wasn't the 1.8-2.0 M normally reserved for the #30 pick, but instead half of that. For the Jays, that would seem problematic because it means the #22 pick for Beede will give less allotment money, but I think it would actually be a benefit, because it seemingly would mean more money would come from compensation picks from free agents that land in the supplemental round, and the Jays will surely have plenty of those.

Conclusion TL;DR

I am very confident in my calculations and I personally predict the Blue Jays to have ~5.1 M dollars for the draft from there standard picks (doesn't no include any compensation picks, including the one for not signing Beede). The range on that money is from 4.5 M - 5.5 M.

Furthermore, it seems the amount of money added to the total allotment pool for compensatory picks is a low amount, and unfortunately an amount that will probably be upsetting to Jays fans. Now, the one thing I am unsure of is where the low figure comes from (because of a lack of data). What I mean by that, is the culprit could either be the compensatory picks from failing to sign players (the #22 pick for the Jays next June for failing to sign Beede) or compensatory picks for losing free agents. I believe one "class" of picks will provide satisfactory money, while the other "class" of picks will not. It is impossible to tell right now, but for Jays fans, the numbers seem to indicate it would be preferable if the free agent compensatory picks provided the satisfactory amount of money.

Thank you and sorry for rambling. Hope this helped a bit.

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