The consensus appears that the Indians and everyone else are going to be limited with their spending compared to last year. While that is no surprise it could lead to some interesting reactions to the new rules, the biggest and probably most well covered so far being how it impacts athletes with options in other sports. Maybe something that hasn't been detailed as much is the impact it will have in draft strategies.With a lower pool of bonuses overall and for most individual teams (we can only assume this but in general it seems true) the average bonus paid out to players will definitely go down. I don't think the players in the first round will likely bear the brunt of of these spending limits. Like most scenarios where restrictions are artificially created the players in the middle class of players will likely be the ones most impacted. Teams will still go after the high upside players with signability concerns, and the players at the bottom tier of the draft don't have much to give up leading to a squeezing of players in the mid rounds losing out.
Over the past four years Indians first round picks have taken up a varying amount of their total payouts, Lonnie Chisenhall 16% in 2008, Alex White 46% in 2009, Drew Pomeranz 28% in 2010, and Francisco Lindor 35% in 2011. Given that Pomeranz and Lindor, were high picks the quantity of the total pool makes sense but White shows that if talent slips allocating a large amount of your spending to one player can be feasible. I would expect spending on the first round picks to be in the range of 25%-50% of the total pool for most teams with ones selecting in the top 5 to push that over 50% in special cases.
Overall the Indians have been some of the more aggressive players in terms of paying out bonuses. Part of this is due to selecting in the top half of the draft but it does reflect a willingness to pay for talent. Pomeranz and Lindor, while likely to sign did have some leverage against the team and Cleveland proved willing to go over slot to get the deals done. White also earned an above slot deal even though he was a senior given his credentials.
|Indians Bonuses Paid
||Avg Bonuses||Top Bonuses||Rank|
As mentioned in the MOD #1, the Indians may have the luxury of choosing the best player available when their pick arrives. Most prognostications see them taking a collegiate pitcher to fill some of the void left by the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, and since that seems to be where the talent in the 10-25 rated prospects are that is a good bet. Here are some of the options that the Indians could have at pick 15.
|Kyle Zimmer||RHP||San Francisco||This one be an ideal situation if he fell, some concerns with his performance at the end of the season. What his his real velocity though, the high 90s from early Spring, or the lower 90s he finished the season at?|
|Luc Giolito||RHP||California HS||Probably the biggest risk of the draft after his elbow injury.|
|Courtney Hawkins||OF||Texas HS||Could be the next best tools player on the board after Buxton but will take some time to develop.|
|Richie Shaffer||3B||Clemson||Good offensive upside, something that could be useful for the Cleveland system even if he is forced to move to 1B.|
|Andrew Heaney||LHP||Oklahoma St||Probably the best college lefty, seems like a good fit and may be able to move quickly.|
|Devan Marrero||SS||Arizona St||Not going to be overvalued due to all of the other middle infield prospects in the system but you can never have too many shortstops. Questionable offensive upside would put him in a hole behind Lindor on the system depth chart.|
|Zach Eflin||RHP||Florida HS||Could provide nice value if he drops to the mid first round. Prototypical HS pitcher frame with the ability to hit the mid-90s with his fastball.|
|Stephen Piscotty||3B||Stanford||Some risk after spending the last three years in the Stanford system. Will he develop more power?|
|Michael Wacha||RHP||Texas A&M||Considered a low ceiling high floor player, but if his breaking ball develops more he could project at as mid-rotation and higher.|
|Marcus Stroman||RHP||Duke||Will this finally be the year that the Indians take the undersized college arm that they always seem to be connected to?|
|David Dahl||OF||Alabama HS||A little more advanced than the typical high school hitter but are his tools worthy of a pick this high?|
|Chris Stratton||RHP||Mississippi St||Putting up numbers in college but will it transfer against better competition?|
|Lance McCullers||RHP||Florida HS||This could be a reach but you'd be betting on him making strides and staying in the rotation. Despite the concerns I kind of like him.|
|Joey Gallo||3B||Nevada HS||If Shaffer is gone and they want to go with a strong corner bat, Gallo could be the guy.|
|Matt Smoral||LHP||Ohio HS||This would be a popular pick given the local ties (Solon, OH High School), but it comes with a lot of risk given the missed time due to a broken foot.|
|Brian Johnson||LHP||Florida||Are the Indians looking for someone to move quickly? Johnson could be the guy then as some see him as a mid-rotation piece by 2013.|