You may recall that as of the last couple years, every pick through the end of round 10 of the MLB draft has a slot value. This is sort of a recommended signing bonus for each of those picks. The #1 overall pick has a slot value of $7.9 million this year, all the way down to the final few picks of the 10th round, which have a slot value of $137,600. Teams can still sign their draft picks for however much they want, but if their total expenditures on players in the first ten rounds exceeds the combined slot value of those picks, they are fined. If they exceed their budget by more than 5%, they forfeit a pick in next year''s draft.
It is important that teams draft some players they expect to sign for "below slot." College seniors are the most likely players to do that, as they don't have the option of staying in school and waiting to de drafted again. Drafting (and signing) such players frees up room to go "over slot" for players who aren't going to sign unless there's enough money on the table. This is mostly top high school players, all of whom have scholarship offers they can take instead of signing.
LGT's full coverage of the Indians' 2014 draft
The Indians had 12 draft picks before the end of round 10 (the extra picks came via the qualifying offer Ubaldo Jimenez declined, and the competitive balance lottery that MLB holds for low revenue and small market teams). They drafted 7 high school players with those picks, and 5 college players.
Here are those players, along with other pertinent information, the most important item being whether or not they've agreed to a deal yet, and if so, whether it's above or below their slot value:
|Round||Pick||Player||Pos.||School||Slot Value||Actual Bonus||Difference|
|1||21||Bradley Zimmer||OF||U of San Francisco||$2,008,100||$1,900,000||- $108,100|
|1||31||Justus Sheffield||LHP||Tullahoma HS||$1,733,000||$1,600,000||- $133,000|
|CB||38||Mike Papi||OF||U of Virginia||$1,495,400|
|2||61||Grant Hockin||RHP||Damien HS||$928,700||$1,100,000||+ $171,300|
|3||97||Bobby Bradley||1B||Harrison Central HS||$539,600||$912,500||+ 372,900|
|4||128||Sam Hentges||LHP||Mounds View HS||$400,200||$700,000||+ 299,800|
|5||158||Julian Merryweather||RHP||Oklahoma Baptist||$299,600||$20,000||- $279,600|
|6||188||Greg Allen||OF||San Diego State||$224,300||$200,000||- $24,300|
|7||218||Simeon Lucas||C||Grant Community HS||$168,200||168,200||0|
|8||248||Mich Miniard||RHP||Boyle County HS||$154,800||$350,000||+ 195,200|
|9||278||Alexis Pantoja||SS||Puerto Rico Baseball Academy||$144,600||unknown||???|
|10||308||Steven Patterson||2B||UC Davis||$137,600||$10,000||- $127,600|
A few other notes:
- Merryweather and Patterson have perfect examples of guys drafted far ahead of where they would have been of the slot bonus system didn't exist, and their signings freed up over $400,000 that can be spent on other guys.
- Sheffield was also given a scholarship to Vanderbilt, since that's what he's turning down in order to sign. The value of that scholarship ($250,000) does not count against the draft budget.