FanPost

The New CBA And HS Draftees


I am not a fan of the new CBA that was unanimously ratified, but it is how things are now. How will it change the order of selection in this and future drafts? As we look to June, I'll fill you in on what I think will happen, with the caveat that I may be very wrong.

In the last few years, some teams have made it a habit to throw inordinately large bonuses at high school draftees, effectively 'buying' them out of their college commitments. A cap pool with specified penalties for overshooting said levels is The Commissioner's Office's solution.

As far as veterans in the MLB are concerned, this is already a rousing success, as some very friendly contracts have already been given to players inking deals. As stated here and elsewhere, the main benefactors of the new setup will be MLB vets and college baseball teams. With less opportunity to throw money penalty-free at high school talent, much of it will go to school. The 2015 draft might be really good.

How will big league clubs adjust their selections? I think the top of the draft will look somewhat similar to prior drafts. The middle/later rounds will be different, though. My Cubs will make a reasonable proxy, but your team will likely be similar.

Drafting sixth in Round One, I expect the Cubs to select one of seven players: Appel, Buxton, Correa, Gausman, Giolito, Zimmer, Zunino. In all reality, only two of them should be left. If Giolito is representing recovery by Draft Day, I'd be happy with any, though Correa would be my seventh. Team Theo will take the top player on their list of those remaining, regardless HS or college. They have two supplemental picks in Round One (Ramirez and Pena). If my hunch is right, they will continue to draft the Best Available (BA) until they have drafted a high schooler.

So, if they opt Correa, Giolito, or Buxton (as if he would fall beyond third), I would expect the Cubs to largely disregard HS talent for the next few rounds. Why? The added leverage of a second high schooler will limit the likelihood of signing other draftees. Most teams will be willing to reach for a fifteenth round talent in round six or seven for a quick sign at twelfth round money, but you can't really get away with that too many times. Each team might make a head-scratcher pick or two in the top ten rounds, but grabbing two or more bonus-begging high schoolers will cramp anyone's draft.

So back to the Cubs. If they grab Gausman or Zimmer at 1.6, the Ramirez pick will likely be their BA player. The trend will continue if they get another college guy with the Ramirez pick. But as soon as the Cubs (or any other team) grabs a high school guy, look for a barrage of college talent thereafter.

From a high school player's perspective, the top 30-35 might get decent bonus levels above slot. After that, if they aren't willing to settle for the recommended amount, make sure your college papers are in order. As much as a pro GM wants you, he'll scout you in a few years when you have fewer options.

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