With a bunch of news today involving signing bonus for the Braves 2016 draft class, the bonus pool is close to being maxed out in terms of dollars.
Yesterday’s news saw Brett Cumberland, Taylor Hyssong, and Marcus Mooney all sign while Zach Becherer saw his corrected bonus total posted. That leaves just two of the Braves picks from the first 10 rounds unsigned, and both are being held up by MLB rules- Ian Anderson can’t sign until after he graduates high school on 6/23, and Tyler Neslony can’t sign until Texas Tech completes play at the College World Series.
The big news was Brett Cumberland’s overslot deal being worth $1.5M. This is a significant number as it really helps to spend all to almost all of the bonus pool(more later).
Getting underslot seniors Taylor Hyssong and Marcus Mooney to sign for just $15k is also big, as it locks the Braves into their slot savings on each and gives us a better idea of how much money remains in the pool.
Finally Zach Becherer’s originally reported $275k bonus was over-estimated, and MLB’s Jim Callis reported the correct number of $175k.
The Bonus Pool
The Braves have a bonus pool of $13,224,100 if you add their slot values for each of their picks in the first 10 rounds from MLB. I chose to do the math myself because their bonus pool total differs from Baseball America’s and doesn’t add up with the total of their picks.
According to the rules of the draft the team is allowed to exceed the bonus pool by up to 5% by paying just a 75% tax on the overages. That amount is exactly $13,885,305. Anything spent over that amount leads to the team being over 5% over, triggering a penalty which would cost the Braves their top pick in the 2017 draft. The Braves will not do anything to jeopardize a likely Top 3 pick in 2017 as well as the associated bonus slot.
Only players taken within the first 10 rounds count towards that $13.885M amount. From round 11-40, only money spent over the first $100k of a bonus counts towards the pool.
With that in mind now is a good chance to look at the current signings that factor into the bonus pool.
Ian Anderson and Tyler Neslony aren’t signed, and will be mentioned a bit later, but both must sign at this point because the Braves would be way over the pool limit without them due to each being an underslot guy.
Joey Wentz $3.05M
Kyle Muller $2.5M
Brett Cumberland $1.5M
Drew Harrington $900k
Bryse Wilson $1.2M
Jeremy Walker $275k
Matt Gonzalez $25k
JB Moss $10k
Taylor Hyssong $10k
Marcus Mooney $5k
Matt Rowland $400k(only $300k counts to bonus pool)
Zach Becherer $175k(only $75k counts to bonus pool)
Tucker Davidson $125k(only $25k counts to bonus pool)
If you add all of those guys together you get a total of $9,875,000.
Other guys that have signed like Roberto Osuna, Brandon WhiteX2, and Dalton Carroll among others aren’t being mentioned here because they are signing for likely under $100k and will not count towards the bonus pool.
Yet to Sign and Unconfirmed
The first guy I’ll get to here is Tyler Neslony, as he’s an easy one to go over. Based on the fact he’s a senior and drafted between guys who received $5-$10k, it’s safe to assume that he’s going to cost not much more than $10k when he’s able to sign. That brings the bonus pool to an estimated $9,885,000.
The next guy is Gabe Howell. Howell’s bonus figure isn’t public, but as a prep player who had some promise it is possible that he is going to cost the Braves more than $100k. It’s no guarantee, but it’s something to watch for. For the sake of argument I will assume he’s getting the maximum allowed without being overslot since he was only a JUCO commit- though Chipola is a very strong JUCO program.
This brings us to the last guy in the bonus pool, top pick Ian Anderson. It’s well known that Anderson is an underslot guy, but the question is how much? Originally BA’s John Manuel reported he was nearing an agreement for $3.5M. That would mean the Braves have spent $13,375,000M.
Expecting word on Joey Wentz any minute, and word pre-draft was Ian Anderson had a $3.5M deal in the works https://t.co/hu7akElJds— John Manuel (@johnmanuelba) June 14, 2016
However more recently Jon Heyman reported that Anderson’s deal is for roughly $4M. That would take the Braves to $13,875,000 if he got the full $4M.
braves will have deal w/No. 3 overall pick Ian Anderson for about $4M. approx $2.5M slot savings helped w/wentz/muller/etc— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 20, 2016
What it Means
The Braves have somewhere between $510k and $13k left to spend depending on the actual value of Anderson’s deal. If Howell took over $100k, that’s even less to spend.
This is important because the Braves have two guys that fans would like to see signed, Josh Anthony and Nick Shumpert. Anthony reportedly is being offered around slot money($100k) and says that’s not enough to buy that him out of his Auburn commitment per a Twitter exchange. Shumpert doesn’t feel likely to sign for $100k either, as he likely had a larger offer than that on the table last year as a 7th round pick.
Yesterday pretty much finished off the Braves bonus pool, and depending on just how close to $4M Ian Anderson’s bonus is will determine how much money the Braves will have to spend on players like Nick Shumpert and Josh Anthony. Unfortunately, we won’t know much more for sure until after Ian Anderson signs his deal as to how much more room the Braves have to work with.