The Houston Astros exceeded their bonus pool for their 2020 draft picks.
The gaps have been filled in for us in terms of the signing bonuses given to the Houston Astros draft picks, and they can’t be accused of being cheap. They had the lowest total bonus pool of any team in the 2020 MLB draft, and they actually went over it slightly.
The total bonus pool they had was $2,202,600, and they ended up giving a total of $2,283,000 to their four draft picks. That means they’ll have to pay a 75 percent tax on that $80,400 by which they exceeded the threshold, which admittedly is a relatively small price to pay.
More than half of their total bonus went to their first selection, compensatory pick Alex Santos. He signed for a bonus of $1.25 million, which is well above his slot value of $870,700. The Astros likely had this possibility in mind when drafting him and made sure they could do it.
Santos was rated relatively highly, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 56 prospect in the draft. The Astros got him at No. 72 overall, so it appears their willingness to go above-slot helped them get a steal. We already know they gave third round pick Tyler Brown his exact slot value, while fourth rounder Zach Daniels got about $30,800 less than his slot value.
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Where they were really able to save money was with their fifth round pick, UC San Diego shortstop Shay Whitcomb. His slot value was $324,100, but they signed him for just a $56,000 bonus. It probably has nothing to do with his talent, but rather the circumstances of where he was drafted.
This pick was the final selection in the draft, so anyone not taken here would only be able to sign for a maximum of $20,000 as an undrafted free agent. While taking a deal so far below slot value isn’t ideal, it’s better than the alternative. The Astros probably had more than one player in mind here and took whichever one would agree to their terms.
So now that they have all their players signed, the next question is when they’ll be able to actually play. There probably won’t be a minor league season this year due to the pandemic, so hopefully we’ll be able to see these players in action next spring.