The amateur draft is a little more than three weeks away right now, and we know the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has imposed strict spending restrictions that figure to change the way clubs operate. The Yankees have been allotted $4,192,200 for their eleven picks in the top ten rounds, including $1.6M for their first rounder (#30 overall). Any money in excess of $100k given to a player drafted after the tenth round counts against the draft pool as well.
The penalties for exceeding the draft pool are pretty harsh, including a tax on the overage and forfeiture of future picks. They really don’t want teams spending on amateurs, it seems. Baseball America recently published a list of slot values for the top ten rounds of the draft, which breaks down like so for the Yankees…
for 2011 unsigned 2nd rounder, LHP Sam Stafford
If a team does not sign a player, they can not use that pick’s money elsewhere. So the Yankees won’t be able to just not sign say, their fifth rounder and use that $205,900 on other players. They can game the system a little but, most notably by selecting some low-cost college seniors — they usually sign for bonuses in the $1k-$20k range — and using the savings elsewhere. If they take college seniors with their ninth and tenth rounders and pay them $25k each, they’ll have an extra $200k to spend on other players. The Yankees can also exceed their draft pool by $209,610 (5%) before the penalties kid in.
The slot values themselves are not low at all, in fact they’re actually larger than recent years (at least for the first few rounds). The problem is the restrictions and penalties; the inability to exceed slot for one player without having to skimp elsewhere. It stinks, but that’s the system they decided to put in place.