A Look at the Astros 2015 Draft Bonus Pool

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Much has been made of the success of the Astros in the first two rounds of the 2015 MLB player draft. The Astros were able to get three top-ten prospects with only two early picks. The three players are SS Alex Bregman, OF Kyle Tucker, and OF Daz Cameron. If you do the math there, the numbers do not add up. How did it happen? Let’s look at the complicated thing that is the MLB Draft bonus pool.

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Top rated prospect Daz Cameron dropped to the 37th overall pick, which surprised many people, but not Jim Callis. There were rumors that Daz Cameron had a specific number he would sign for, or he would honor his commitment to college. Let’s look at some of the Astros slot values for the 2015 MLB draft.

Bonus Pool values come from Jim Callis’s article Breakdown of 2015 Draft Bonus Pool

1st Overall pick (Arizona): $8,616,900

2nd Overall pick (Houston): $7,420,100

5th Overall Pick (Houston): $4,188,700

37th Overall Pick (Houston): $1,668,600

According to Callis, the Astros total budget to spend on first ten rounds: $17,289,200, but $13,277,400 is allocated towards three picks. That leaves only $4,011,800 for the rest of the picks in rounds two to ten. That sounds all fine and dandy, but if the Astros were to give Bregman and Tucker the full allotted amount, where does Cameron’s money come from?

The rumors are that Cameron had a $5 million dollar offer on the table prior to the draft, and that’s what it would have taken to bypass college. There were only four teams that could have offered that much: the Diamondbacks, Astros, Rockies, and Rangers. When those four teams passed, Jeff Luhnow probably knew that he would then drop all the way to the 37th overall pick.

The 37th overall pick allotment is $1,668,600; the Astros would have to borrow from the remaining $4,011,800 allotted for the rest of the draft picks to be signed. They would need the $3,331,400 of that money to sign Cameron, which leaves only $680,400 for other picks including the second round pick Thomas Eshelman.

The Astros drafted eight more players on day two of the draft, so they had to have the plan to save money somewhere. A method teams use to save money later in the draft is by drafting college seniors and signing them for cheap. These seniors are offered $500,000 bonuses because they don’t have the leverage to go back to college. Let’s look to see if this is a strategy that Jeff Luhnow used.

Draft Picks from MLB.com 2015 Draft Tracker

Third Round: Riley Ferrell – Junior (TCU)

Fourth Round: Anthony Hermelyn – Junior (University of Oklahoma)

Fifth Round: Trent Thornton – Junior (North Carolina)

Sixth Round: Nestor Muriel – High School (16-year old from Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico)

Seventh Round: Michael Freeman – Fifth-year senior (Oklahoma State)

Eighth Round: Garrett Stubbs – Senior (USC)

Ninth Round: Zac Person – Senior (LSU)

Tenth Round: Scott Weathersby – Fifth-year senior (Ole Miss)

As you can tell, the last four picks led showed that the Astros had senior-itis towards the end of day two. They are not just picking warm-bodies; they are picking players that could help them. They just skipped some of the younger, more potential/upside players. Could one of these seniors not sign, yes, however they get less money as an undrafted free agent after the draft.

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The other way is by getting an idea about how much it would take to get your first round pick signed for the least amount or the two players in the case of this draft. They went with the less-hyped, but equally talented Alex Bregman because they may get him to sign for a discount. Then they selected

Preston Tucker

’s younger brother Kyle Tucker, so the possibility of playing on the same team eventually could lead him to sign for less.

If the Astros could get Bregman to sign for $5 million and Tucker to sign for $3 million, they will have saved enough money for Cameron. Either way, the Astros got three first-round impact bats. Now that the Astros drafted them, the Astros need to do their diligence in trying to sign them.

Monitor Twitter and CTH as the Astros sign these players drafted.

Next: Ranking Top Prospects After First Two Rounds

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