The 2016 Rule 4 Amateur Draft will begin tonight at 7pm ET, when the Phillies will be on the clock with the first overall pick. For those who haven’t followed the draft in prior seasons or simply would like a refresher on the intricacies of the system, we’ll provide a quick recap in this post followed by a roundup of some of the top draft resources available to fans online.
Each team has an allotted spending pool from which their signing bonuses come. Major League Baseball has assigned a slot value to each pick in rounds one through 10, and a club’s draft pool is the sum of the slot values for each of their selections. Players selected after the 10th round do not count toward the pool, so long as they receive no more than $100K. Anything over $100K would count toward the pools (for instance, if the Mariners were to sign their 12th-round pick for $150K, then $50K would count against their draft pool). If a team does not spend the entirety of its draft pool, there’s no future bonus involved; leftover pool allotments do not carry over to the following draft, so it’s in a club’s best interest to maximize its allotments in each individual draft.
Exceeding the draft pool, however, is an entirely different story and comes with an escalating range of penalties, depending on the level of excess. Should a team exceed its draft pool by five percent, it will pay a 75 percent luxury tax on the overage. A five to 10 percent overage results in a 75 percent tax and the loss of next year’s first-round pick. A 10 to 15 percent overage results in a 100 percent tax and the loss of a first- and second-round pick in 2016. And, exceeding the draft pool by more than 15 percent results in a 100 percent tax and the loss of two future first-round picks.
However, teams are not bound to the individual slot values. They’re free to sign early picks under slot in order to go over slot for later selections (when some players have fallen due to signability concerns), and doing so is a common strategy for clubs with large pools. For instance, the Astros spent $6MM to sign No. 2 overall pick Alex Bregman last season despite a $7.421MM value for that slot, and they saved about $169K in signing No. 5 pick Kyle Tucker for $4MM. A large number of those savings went to their No. 37 overall selection, Daz Cameron, who had been considered a Top 10 caliber talent but slid to the compensation round as teams were wary of his asking price. Cameron’s slot came with a $1.668MM value, but Houston paid him a hefty $4MM with the savings from its top two selections and some additional under-slot value further down the board.
Under these rules, no team has been willing to pay the price of forfeiting a future pick, so no team has exceeded its pool by more than five percent. Excesses of up to five percent are commonplace, however, as the 75 percent luxury tax isn’t much of a deterrent to big league teams.
All that said, here’s a rundown of the draft order, slot values, the top ranked draft prospects (via multiple outlets) as well as mock drafts from some experts who have devoted seemingly endless hours of their time over the past few months to provide the best insight possible.
Draft Order (Slot Values via MLB.com’s Jim Callis)
- Phillies — $9.015MM
- Reds — $7.763MM
- Braves — $6.51MM
- Rockies — $5.529MM
- Brewers — $4.382MM
- Athletics — $4.069MM
- Marlins — $3.756MM
- Padres — $3.631MM
- Tigers — $3.506MM
- White Sox — $3.381MM
- Mariners — $3.287MM
- Red Sox — $3.193MM
- Rays — $3.099MM
- Indians — $2.974MM
- Twins — $2.817MM
- Angels — $2.661MM
- Astros — $2.504MM
- Yankees — $2.442MM
- Mets — $2.379MM
- Dodgers — $2.316MM
- Blue Jays — $2.285MM
- Pirates — $2.254MM
- Cardinals — $2.223MM
- Padres — $2.191MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Justin Upton, who rejected a qualifying offer)
- Padres — $2.160MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Ian Kennedy)
- White Sox — $2.129MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Jeff Samardzija)
- Orioles — $2.098MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Wei-Yin Chen)
- Nationals — $2.066MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Jordan Zimmermann)
- Nationals — $2.035MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Ian Desmond)
- Rangers — $2.003MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Yovani Gallardo)
- Mets — $1.972MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Daniel Murphy)
- Dodgers — $1.941MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Zack Greinke)
- Cardinals — $1.91MM (Compensation for loss of free agent Jason Heyward)
- Cardinals — $1.878MM (Compensation for loss of free agent John Lackey)
Clearly, the bonus pools are skewed by compensatory picks awarded to teams that see a pending free agent reject a one-year qualifying offer and sign elsewhere. This year, the Reds, Phillies, Padres and Braves have the largest bonus pools, and you can see a full breakdown of each pool here.
Draft Rankings/Scouting Reports
- Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com have ranked the Top 200 players in this year’s draft class and provided free scouting reports on each player for the public. Callis and Mayo have video of each player, where applicable, and they also provide a rating of each prospect’s individual tools on the 20-80 scouting scale.
- Keith Law of ESPN.com ranks the Top 100 prospects — headlined by Louisville outfielder Corey Ray — and his colleague, Eric Longenhagen, has a penned a full scouting report on each of the 100 players on the list. Their work requires an ESPN Insider subscription, though that’s a highly recommended purchase for this time of the year.
- Baseball America provides the deepest list of draft prospects you’ll find online, as their rankings span to the Top 500 prospects in this year’s class. The rankings themselves, headlined by Florida left-hander A.J. Puk, are free to the public, but the individual scouting reports require a subscription that we also highly recommend with the Draft tonight and the July 2 international signing deadline looming.
- Callis and Mayo released a side-by-side mock draft today in which they each take a stab at pegging all of the 34 picks listed above. They’re in agreement on the top four picks, believing that the Phillies will select high school outfielder Mickey Moniak, the Reds will select Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel, the Braves will select Ray and the Rockies will select Puk. As is the case with their rankings and scouting reports, the MLB.com duo’s mock draft is free to the public as well.
- Law’s most recent mock draft was published this morning. For the time being, he’s in agreement on Moniak going 1-1 to the Phillies but feels Puk will go second, with Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis going third overall to Atlanta. Law’s mock drafts require a subscription as well.
- While BA’s scouting reports require a subscription, the fifth iteration of John Manuel’s mock draft (and the prior versions) are free for public viewing. Manuel, too, has Moniak as the top pick with Puk and Lewis going second and third overall. Prep righty Riley Pint is his pick at No. 4, and he has Ray going fifth to the Brewers.
- It’s also worth noting that top draft prospect Delvin Perez, a high school shortstop out of Puerto Rico, has seen his draft stock slide precipitously since testing positive for an undisclosed performance enhancing substance. Perez’s upside initially had him projected as a Top 5 pick, but many believe that he’ll slide down toward the later first round. He’s something of a wild card in tonight’s draft.
Draft Prospect Interviews
MLBTR contributor Chuck Wasserstrom sat down with a number of the top names in this year’s draft class and conducted Q&As in which he asked the prospects about their skill sets, their backgrounds, their education, their big league aspirations and more. Those interested in getting a deeper look at some of the top prospects in the draft will want to check out the following interviews from our Draft Prospect Q&A series:
- Corey Ray, OF, Louisville
- Alec Hansen, RHP, Oklahoma
- Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer
- Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade Prep (West Hills, Calif.)
- Buddy Reed, OF, Florida
- Zack Collins, C, Miami
We’ll be tracking the action later tonight on a pick-by-pick basis and providing real-time updates for each selection here at MLBTR, and we will, as always, keep our readers posted as the various picks from this year’s class agree to terms with their new teams between now and the July 15 signing deadline for drafted players.