Now that nearly all the free agents who could have affected the 2012 Amateur Draft order have signed, Jim Callis of Baseball America has tabulated the draft budget for each team under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Unlike the old system, in which Major League Baseball would make signing bonus recommendations for each slot in the draft and teams would often ignore those recommendations without the fear of any real penalty, the new system places extremely harsh punishments on teams that exceed their allotted draft budget.
Each pick in the draft still has a slot value, so the budget for each team is computed by adding up the slot number for each pick in the first ten rounds possessed by that team. Keep in mind that this budget is to cover the first ten rounds of the draft, as well as all bonus money in excess of $100,000 after round ten.
For the Cubs, their 2012 budget will be $7,933,900. Now, what does that mean for the Cubs’ drafting strategy?
Surprisingly, not much.
As you can see on the chart in the Baseball America article, the Cubs actually spent less than that on the first ten rounds of the 2011 draft by about $1.3 million. The Cubs’ total draft expenditure was greater than $7.9 million, but only by about $4 million. In other words, the difference between the 2011 draft expenditures and the 2012 draft budget is basically Dillon Maples and Shawon Dunston Jr.
That’s not to say that the Cubs would not have signed either of those guys had the 2011 draft been conducted under 2012 rules. A big part of the reason both Dunston and Maples fell in the draft is because they were thought to be strongly committed to college. The Cubs drafted them later than their talents alone would have dictated. Given that players who are considered tough signs have a fairly high rate of actually signing, I suspect some teams will be willing to throw the dice and take a couple of guys like Maples somewhere in the first four rounds in hopes of convincing them to sign for near-slot money.
Regardless, the Cubs should emerge from the 2012 draft with a nice collection of draftees. Thanks to Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena declining arbitration, the Cubs will have four of the first 65 picks in the draft, including the sixth pick overall. Even with the restrictions of the new CBA, there should be no shortage of talent for the Cubs to select.