Atlanta Braves Draft Manipulation 101
How the Atlanta Braves Can Get the Most out of this Draft
The Atlanta Braves and the team’s draft plans have been highly discussed already, and we’re still a month and a week away from the event! Perhaps it’s because of the team’s rare high draft position, perhaps it’s the major league club’s poor record, perhaps it’s because this is possibly the last season of this current draft setup, very possibly, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the players union (MLBPA) and the owners is to be negotiated after the 2016 season.
What will the Braves do? Who will they pursue? How can they take advantage of this current structure before it goes by the wayside (possibly) after this season? Let’s take a look at that last question today:
How To Manipulate the System
Here are the basics – every pick in the MLB draft has an assigned bonus value, and if you add all those numbers together in the first 10 rounds, you have a team’s assigned draft pool. Every team has an allotted amount after round 10, though they can use money left over from the first 10 rounds’ budget to help lure players drafted later to sign rather than go to (or return to) school. This was all negotiated as part of the most recent CBA to help curb the previous issue when big budget teams would simply be willing to spend incredible amounts of money to players drafted later in the draft to encourage them to price themselves beyond the means of lower-budget teams that frequently were drafting at the top of the draft.
This new policy has most frequently been manipulated by teams by changing their approach starting about round #3. As you watch starting in that round, you’ll note a lot more college players being taken, and typically a lot of them that are not on the top of any draft boards from experts. The reason? Signability. Teams draft guys from the 3rd through 10th rounds (in some combination) and pay them at under slot for those draft positions in order to help pay higher bonuses to high-level players that slide down past the 10th round. You’ll often see players rated as a 3rd round talent start coming off the board quickly starting in the 11th round as teams can use the 1-10 bonus pool to supplement their equal pool for 10-40.
So what can the Braves do to manipulate this system in 2016? I see two real possible scenarios. To get some basics out of the way, the Braves hold the 4th highest draft pool budget with $12.385,200 in draft pool money. The picks break down as follows:
- #3 – $6,510,800
- #40 – $1,616,800
- #44 – $1,459,700
- #80 – $788,800
- #109 – $546,800
- #139 – $409,600
- #169 – $306,600
- #199 – $229,700
- #229 – $184,100
- #259 – $171,800
- #289 – $160,500
Next: Gaming the System - Part 1