The Astros have agreed to a $900K bonus with 11th-round pick Patrick Sandoval, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter). Sandoval, a high school left-hander out of California, is receiving an enormous bonus for a player selected this late in the draft. Under the current rules, bonuses for players drafted after the 10th round do not count toward a team’s draft pool so long as they are $100K or less. In other words, the Astros are taking an $800K hit to their bonus pool with this bonus.
Houston has, to this point, spent $17,040,000 of its $17,289,200 bonus pool (per MLB.com), so the Sandoval signing will put them over their limit. However, teams are allowed to exceed their draft pool by less than five percent without forfeiting future picks. The $249K remaining in the team’s pool plus the maximum $863K overage means that Houston is still about $313K shy of incurring the loss of a first-round pick in the 2016 draft.
Sandoval’s bonus, then, results in a $550,800 overage on the Astros’ behalf. That overage will be taxed at 75 percent, meaning Houston is paying $413,100 in luxury taxes to acquire Sandoval. In essence, his $900K bonus will actually cost the club $1.313MM.
In Sandoval, the Astros are acquiring a player who ranked as the 135th prospect in this year’s draft, per Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel. Callis and MLB.com colleague Jonathan Mayo ranked Sandoval 139th, while the Baseball America staff ranked Sandoval 392nd among draft prospects.
Callis and Mayo call him an athletic, projectable left-hander who sits in the 88-90 range with his fastball but touches 91 and 92 mph at times. Per their scouting report, Sandoval flashes an “absolute hammer of a curve,” but the pitch is inconsistent. BA notes that his arm action can get a bit long, leading to issues repeating his delivery and, therefore, with his control. However, those issues diminished in his senior year of high school, they add.
The Astros have a pair of tough-to-sign player remaining unsigned in their post-10th-round crop in the form of prep righty Luken Baker (Texas) and prep righty Cole Sands (Florida), but Callis feels that the $313K they have remaining before incurring draft pick forfeiture won’t be enough to entice either player to forgo his commitment to college (Twitter link). The max that either player could be offered is $413,660.