That's the time of year: draft season! One month from today, the MLB draft will get underway on June 9th with the first and second rounds (and the supplemental round in between), extending through round 40 on June 11th. In total, 1216 players can expect to have their names called, with upwards of $225-million in signing bonuses likely to be doled out.
Over the next month, BBB will have have plenty of content previewing the 2016 draft, from a number of perspectives. We'll start with an overview of the farm system as it stands going inot the draft, to look for areas that might be of focus. Of course, the focus will always be on "best player available", but certainly by the second day needs start to factor into what is considered the best available.
We'll also review historical tendencies, though this has at least somewhat less relevance this year given the turnover in the front office. For that reason, we'll also review Cleveland's draft history when Shapiro was GM, as well as more recently when he was president. With that said, it's worth noting that despite the turnover at the top and in player development, the scouting side remained quite undisturbed with Brian Parker remaining director of amateur scouting (in charge of the draft) and the senior team behind him largely the same. In baseball, it's typical for the general manager/front office to be significantly involved in selecting first round picks and the overall organizational philosophy, but beyond that it really comes down more to the scouts, crosscheckers, and other draft executives.
Finally, we'll look at players who could potentially be available and of interest to the Blue Jays in the top could rounds (after that, it's purely throwing darts), in particular those that fit the needs and profiles discussed above. And as the draft approaches, we'll keep up to date on rankings, mock drafts and such from reputable sources as the draft approaches and that type of information firms up. And probably a few other things here and there - but first, let's start with a brief overview of how things set up for the Blue Jays in the 2016 draft.
Unlike last year, the Jays have their first round pick as they did not sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer (Russell Martin in the 2014-15 cycle), however nor they did receive any compensation picks for losing any such FAs (Melky Cabrera). As a result of the 2015 playoff run, the Blue Jays generic draft slot is the lowest since 1994 at 26th of the 30 MLB teams. However, as a result of forfeited picks, the Jays pick 21st of the 23 teams who retained their first round picks, though that's only six spots higher than their compensation round pick last year when they picked RHP Jon Harris 29th overall out of Missouri State.
In addition to the normal complement of picks, the Blue Jays also have an extra second round pick, 57th overall, as a result of not signing Brady Singer (56th overall) last year. He opted instead to attend the University of Florida, where he has impressed as a freshman, his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and 35 strikeouts against 11 walks with a 3.82 ERA in 35.1 innings. While in most college programs he'd be a weekend starter as a freshman, he's worked mostly out of the bullpen for UF, whose weekend rotation consists of A.J. Puk, a potential 1st overall candidate this year; Logan Shore, a likely first rounder this year; and Alex Faedo, a potential top 10 pick in 2017.
As a result of drafting near the back of every round, even bolstered with the extra pick, the Blue Jays' total bonus pool is on the smaller end of the 30 team, ranking 20th overall at $6,650,900. The pick-by-pick breakout for the Blue Jays is below (via Jim Callis of MLB.com):
In addition to their assigned pools, MLB teams can spend up to 5% beyond their pool while only paying a 75% tax on the overage (no team has gone beyond 5% over in the four drafts since this system was put in place with the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement). That would give the Jays another $333,295 to spend and bring their total spend without draconian penalties to just a hair under $7-million at $6,999,195 (technically 194.99). That also doesn't count any bonuses under $100,000 can be given to players chosen after the 10th round (anything above that counts towards the pool total). We'll also take a look at some strategies on how they can look to make the most of that.
So, that's what in store for the next month. If there's anything else that you think should be part of the draft coverage, let us know below.