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Draft signings: where the White Sox stand

Precious money is left ... with five players yet to sign

Draft dreams: While it would’ve been nice to get Adley Rutschman [left], Andrew Vaughn is certainly a nice addition. Several other guys, including some solid prep prospects, are also worth dreaming on as well.

UPDATE: This article has been tweaked with the June 25 signing of second-round choice Matthew Thompson, the June 26 signing of first-rounder Andrew Vaughn and the June 28 signing of third-rounder Andrew Dalquist.

With this week’s signings of the top three Chicago White Sox selections, it appears the White Sox’s strategy worked out.

It was a very top-heavy draft for the White Sox. Many of the second-day picks were expected to be under-slot signings to simply help pay for the top selections; anything the second-day guys can produce in the minors would simply be a bonus.

We’ll put together a grade of the draft once all the picks have either signed or decided to pursue college. Anyway, before I detail where the Sox stand right now in regards to the signing of their 40 selections, here’s a little refresher regarding the draft bonus pool rules.

Draft Bonus Pool Rules

Teams are assigned a “pool” of dollars that they can use to sign players. The pool is based on the “slot” value of each of the team’s picks in the first 10 rounds (each pick in the draft is given a certain value, and each of a team’s picks’ values are added up to determine the total pool amount). You can sign players for more or less than their individual slot value, but the total of your bonuses has to stay under the bonus pool amount, lest you incur penalties (discussed below). Picks after the 10th round have no slot value attached to them, but any bonus of more than $125,000 for a pick in those rounds does count against the pool (e.g. if you sign a 15th rounder for $200,000, then $75,000 will count against your pool).

As for the penalties:

  • Teams that exceed their pool by up to 5% must pay a 75% tax on the amount of the overage.
  • Teams that exceed their pool by 5-10% must pay a 75% tax on the amount of the overage and forfeit a first round draft pick the next year. [Ed. note: This would be idiotic team behavior.]
  • Teams that exceed their pool by 10-15% must pay a 100% tax on the amount of the overage and forfeit first and second round draft picks next year. [Ed. note: This would be beyond idiotic team behavior.]
  • Teams that exceeds their pool by more than 15% must pay a 100% tax on the amount of the overage and forfeit a first round draft pick in each of the next two drafts. [Ed. note: Uh, hey, poor-planning team, consider sacking your front office.]

Most teams don’t have any qualms about exceeding its pool by up to 5%. The White Sox have a bonus pool this year of $11,565,500, and would pay a maximum of just $433,706 in fines if they spend up to the 5% excess on their bonus pool. The majority of teams go this route, although a few teams do in fact spend less than their full bonus pool allotment. No teams have exceeded the 5% excess since this system began in 2012, due to the severe consequences of doing so.

Fourth to 10th Round Selections

Initially, the first three White Sox draftees have yet to sign, but the final seven signed at well-below their slotted amounts — even speedy prep outfielder James Beard, who was selected in the fourth round.

On June 25, second-rounder Matthew Thompson signed for $2.1 million, well over his slotted amount.

Below are their slot amounts, their bonuses, and how much money the White Sox have saved overall for the draft pool:

Andrew Vaughn (1) $7,221,200 slot - $7,221,200 bonus = $0 savings
Matthew Thompson (2) $1,650,200 slot - $2,100,000 bonus = $499,800 cost
Andrew Dalquist (3) $755,300 slot - $2,000,000 bonus = $1,244,700 cost
James Beard (4) $527,800 slot - $350,000 bonus = $177,800 savings
Dan Metzgraf (5) $394,300 slot - $10,000 bonus = $384,300 savings
Avery Weems (6) $296,400 slot - $10,000 bonus = $286,400 savings
Karan Patel (7) $231,100 slot - $10,000 bonus = $221,100 savings
Ivan Gonzalez (8) $183,700 slot - $10,000 bonus = $173,700 savings
Tyson Messer (9) $158,100 slot - $10,000 bonus = $148,100 savings
Nate Pawelczyk (10) $147,400 slot - $10,000 bonus = $137,400 savings

TOTALS: $11,565,500 slotted - $11,731,200 bonuses = $165,700 cost

The guess would be that the White Sox’s initial strategy of bargain-basement buys on Day 2 was intended to “Bryce Bush” a Day 3 prep pick ... playing a hunch on some guys who might snap at a modest bonus to eschew school and get right into the pros. The fact that the White Sox paid a whopping $2 million to get Dalquist in the fold on Friday, fully negating Day 2 savings and then some, is a likely indication that there will be no Bush-esque lottery tickets for the White Sox coming out of the 2019 draft.

11th to 40th Round Selections

Again, the signing amounts for Day 3 draftees have no impact whatsoever — unless they sign for more than $125,000. While 22 players have signed, only three players have signed for more than $125,000 thus far:

Victor Torres (11) $125,000 maximum - $175,000 bonus = $50,000 over max
Misael Gonzalez Acosta (12) $125,000 maximum - $185,000 bonus = $56,000 over max
D.J. Gladney (16) $125,000 maximum - $225,000 bonus = $100,000 over max

TOTALS: $375,000 slotted - $585,000 bonuses = $210,000 over max

A total of $210,000 has thus been removed from the White Sox’s bonus pool as a result. Signing amounts haven’t been reported for those who were selected in these rounds, but unless they sign for more than $125,000 as mentioned above, their bonuses will have no impact on future signings.

Most, if not all, college seniors have signed, or will sign, below the $125,000 amount simply because they lack the leverage of the prep players or college underclassmen. Such players include Cooper Bradford (13), McKinley Moore (14), Caleb Freeman (15), Jeremiah Burke (17), Sammy Peralta (18), Joshua Rivera (19), Cameron Simmons (20), Chase Solesky (21), Pauly Milto (23), Jakob Goldfarb (24), Hansen Butler (25), Justin Friedman (26), Tyler Osik (27), Kaleb Roper (29), Daniel Millwee (30), Connor Reich (31), Jonathan Allen (32), Trey Jeans (33), Declan Cronin (36), Garvin Alston, Jr. (37), Tom Archer (39) and Nick Silva (40).

With the players listed above, that means 35 of the 40 selections have already signed. One collegian who hasn’t signed, and was more a courtesy pick to begin with, is Emmet Flood (38), who will not command more than a $125k bonus .

This leaves four players remaining — four interesting prep prospects. Outfielder Logan Glass indicated to local media that he will sign with the White Sox, blue-chip slugger Logan Britt has stated he is honoring his commitment to college at Texas A&M, and OFs Caeden Trenkle and Chase Krogman have given no indication which way they’re leaning.

More than 1 million is left to pay for over-slot bonuses

With the $210,000 excess bonuses spent thus far for picks 11-40, added to the $165,700 excess on bonuses from picks 1-10, the White Sox are not $375,700 in the red for the draft. Assuming they will be willing to pay a mild tax penalty for spending 105% of their allotted bonuses (a total of $578,250), that leaves $202,550 above the per-player max that could be spread out among Glass, Britt, Trenkle and Krogman.

In other words, it will not be a full signed Class of 2019. The White Sox may leave up to four players on the table, signing only Glass.

[Leaving the blurb below in, as WSM nailed the Vaughn bonus prediction exactly.—BB]

Andrew Vaughn (1): The third selection in this year’s draft has a slot value of $7,221,200. While Vaughn, a runner-up for this year’s Silver Spikes Award and considered by many to be the best bat in this year’s draft class, does have some leverage in the fact that he could always return to Cal to play his senior year, he would do so at the risk of having an off-season next year and also participating in a draft which is expected to feature far stronger competition. If anything, the White Sox may try to offer under-slot bonus cash, but it seems a fair bet that he’ll sign at or near slot value simply because he was considered by most draft sites as the third best player in this year’s draft. The reason he hasn’t signed yet is possibly attributable to seeing what fellow Pac-12er and No. 1 choice Adley Rutschman will sign for in Baltimore. Vaughn likely will be paid the full slot value, so let’s assume no change to the White Sox’s surplus bonus amount.

[Leaving the blurb below in, as an indication of how far above slot the White Sox were forced to go to secure Dalquist.—BB]

Andrew Dalquist (3): Even before the Sox selected Dalquist with the 81st overall selection, he was considered by most scouts to be a difficult sign due to his strong verbal commitment with the University of Arizona. I actually have Dalquist here instead of second pick Matthew Thompson, because the differential between possible bonus and slot value is expected to be much larger. Dalquist was expected to command a late first-round, early second-round bonus at the time of the draft, and little has likely changed since. As the third pick, Dalquist’s slot value is $755,300 while Thompson’s is $1,650,200. The White Sox were likely aware of Dalquist’s signability concerns prior the draft, and they likely would initially offer him $1.03 million which is the slot value of this year’s 65th selection (MLB Pipeline ranked him 65th). However, due to Dalquist’s leverage and the amount of bonus pool money the Sox have available, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sign closer to Thompson’s $1,650,200 bonus, which would be an over-slot allotment of a whopping $894,900. After all, while Thompson has arguably the higher ceiling, Dalquist may have the higher floor of the two. Let’s reduce the bonus pool to an even $1 million now.

[Leaving the blurb below in, as WSM missed on the Thompson bonus prediction by just $100,000.—BB]

Matthew Thompson (2): Thompson simply overmatched his prep opponents this year, to the tune of an 0.73 ERA and 15.4 K/9 ratio. However, he slid to the second round due to inconsistently maintaining his velocity and showing relatively poor control (5.08 BB/9). Thompson also has strong leverage, as he is verbally committed to in-state Texas A&M University. However, because his slot value is quite high at $1,650,200, he may not command a much higher bonus. Even though MLB Pipeline graded Thompson slightly lower than Dalquist at 69th, Thompson was ranked significantly higher by both Baseball America and FanGraphs. Thompson would likely be given a bonus higher than Dalquist’s, and a $349,800 increase to a nice cool $2 million would get it done. Based on my projections, adding close to $350,000 to Thompson’s bonus would still leave more than $650,000 in the bonus pool to play with (on top of each player’s $125,000 max bonuses).

Logan Britt (35): Britt was selected so late more due to signability concerns than concerns about his play. He’s a powerful bat, already has the classic right field build (6´5´´, 208 pounds), and a strong arm to boot; the only questions for Britt are attributable to swing-and-miss concerns. Britt was also a teammate of second overall selection Bobby Witt Jr. Like Thompson, he’s verbally committed to Texas A&M, and has already stated that he’ll be honoring that commitment.

Logan Glass (22): Glass has a similar build to Britt’s (6´4´´, 215 pounds) and runs quite well (with a 6.65 60-yard-dash according to Prep Baseball Report). In fact, Glass may be just as good (if not better) than Britt. He hit 11 homers and stole 14 bases this year, and displays a cannon arm that can pitch a fastball 92 mph. He’s a lot like Britt, and because his verbal commitment is with Kansas (a good school but not quite in Texas A&M’s class in baseball), he could be available for less money — which could also allow them to sign at least one of the next two athletes. For what it’s worth, Glass almost immediately told local media that he is signing with the White Sox, so there already may be a handshake agreement at $125,000.

Caeden Trenkle (28): Trenkle is an impressive athlete in his own right, but doesn’t have the size (5´11´´, 185 pounds) of the other two draftees. The Texas native is a left-handed batter who runs the 60 in 6.77 seconds, has a fastball that runs in the upper-80s per Perfect Game, hits the ball well to all fields and has gap power at present. He’s verbally committed to Oklahoma State, so he may be a difficult sign.

Chase Krogman (34): Krogman is yet another solid prep outfielder. While his foot speed is a bit below average (a 7.02 60 according to Perfect Game), he does have an above-average arm that would play well at either corner. He established all-time records for his Missouri high school in hits, homers, RBIs, doubles and runs scored prior to even playing his senior season. This year, he hit .392 with five homers and he consistently hits the ball well to all fields. His verbal commitment is with Missouri State, which is now known as a quality baseball school.

The White Sox made an excellent run at pulling off another great “lottery ticket” pick a la Bryce Bush 2018, but ultimately it seems those efforts will fall short, with scant money left to snap up three key prep outfielders.

But the Sox already immediately signed four prep prospects (Beard, Torres, Acosta and Gladney), which is not a bad lottery class at all.

Is there still a surprise up Chicago’s sleeve? It should be exciting to see how everything will play out.