Ever since the new CBA was announced, people have been trying to figure out a way to fit the old spending habits of teams in to the new set of rules. Pirates fans have been focused on how the team can spend $1.2 M on a ninth round pick, like they did with Clayton Holmes, or really any other example from the team’s spending over the last few years.
The focus has been applying the new rules to the old system. But the changes to the CBA didn’t just bring new draft rules. They brought an entirely new draft.
The one benefit that the new CBA provided is that it took some negotiating power away from the players, especially college players. If you fall out of the top picks, you’re not likely to land a huge contract. After the first four picks, players are going to have a hard time landing $4 M or more. We won’t see Bubba Starling getting $7.5 M as a fifth overall pick, or Archie Bradley getting $5 M as a seventh overall pick. Those players will have a choice: take the $2-3 M slot price that is offered, or go to college, re-enter the draft in three years, and hope that they can land one of the top three slots in the draft to get that $5-7 M payday.
In 2009 the Pirates were one of many teams who reached for players who were considered late-first round talent, all so they could go over-slot on later picks. Under the new draft, that won’t be necessary. The Shelby Miller’s and Jacob Turner’s and Tyler Matzek’s won’t have the bargaining power they had in 2009, where they could slide until one team felt they were worth a $4-7 M bonus. They will have a choice of signing for slot, or waiting three years and trying to get one of the few draft spots that pay that amount.
Teams might have a shot at getting a guy below slot. If Deven Marrero were to fall to the Pirates, they might get away with paying him a $2 M bonus, rather than spending the entire $2.8 M slot price. What leverage does Marrero really have? For that matter, what leverage does any college junior have? Do they go back to the draft next year as college seniors, hoping to improve their draft stock a few spots, all for an extra $800 K?
Teams could have a shot at saving money in the first, but I think we need to stop thinking of the draft as if it were still the old system. We don’t need to figure out ways to draft guys in the ninth round and pay them $1.2 M. Just draft those guys in the second round, where the slot price is close to that bonus figure. I’m sure there will still be a few over-slot deals, but I don’t think it will be as extreme as before.
The new draft looks to be set up so that players will be taken where they should be taken, rather than falling to a team who is willing to pay them. There’s not much leverage for college players, as they won’t improve their stock much in one season, and won’t have any leverage the following year to raise their value. High school players will have some leverage, but they’ll also have to be smart. A guy drafted in the third round out of high school might move up to a first round talent in three years. But does he pass up half a million dollars to take that risk, knowing that it’s not a guarantee that he’ll eventually go on to be a first round pick?
You also have to consider that if guys are going where they’re supposed to, you’re unlikely to get a late round pick that should have gone earlier. You’re not going to get a Zack Von Rosenberg in the 6th round, or a Colton Cain in the 8th round. Von Rosenberg, who was ranked as a compensation round pick in 2009, would have gone in the compensation round. Cain, who was ranked as a third-fourth round pick in 2009, would have gone in the third or fourth round.
There will be some high school guys who would have signed in the past, and won’t sign now. But the penalties for going over slot are extremely harsh, to the point where you forfeit draft picks, get taxed, and forfeit your right to being awarded extra draft picks. Because of the potential loss in picks, and the extra picks that will be awarded to teams each year, it looks like there’s more value in the new system if you play by the rules. And if the draft works as intended, and the Clayton Holmes of the draft go in the second round where they’re supposed to, rather than the ninth, there won’t be much of a need to bend the rules like there was in the old system.
Mark Appel - 8.0 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, ND
Chris Beck - 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 16 K, 1 HR, W (4-2)
Kevin Gausman - 6.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 0 HR, W (5-0)
Kyle Zimmer – 7.1 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, L (2-2)
Deven Marrero - 3-for-20 (.150), 1 SB, 3 K, 2 BB
Mike Zunino - 3-for-16 (.188), 1 R, 1 2B, 4 K, 2 BB
Trey Williams – 5-for-10 (.500), 5 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 0 K, 1 BB
-Chris Beck’s 16 strikeouts set a career high, and fell two short of the Georgia Southern school record. He threw 126 pitches in six innings.
-Kevin Gausman was 94-97 MPH, touching 99, and hit 97 in his 115th pitch, according to Kendall Rogers.
-Keith Law has a scouting report on Mark Appel for ESPN Insiders. Also in that link, Law mentions that Deven Marrero’s stock is falling with teams in the top third of the first round.
-Mike Zunino and Florida play North Florida on Tuesday, then start their weekend schedule on Thursday.
-Deven Marrero and Arizona State start their weekend schedule on Thursday.
-Trey Williams and Valencia high school play a tournament which lasts from Monday through Wednesday.