Due to the renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Association this offseason, the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft will inevitably differ from previous years.
Of all the changes to the draft that will be implemented for the first time this June, perhaps the most significant is that each organization will have a monetary cap on their signing bonuses. Basically, every slot through the first 10 rounds of the draft now has a corresponding and non-negotiable bonus value. So, while the No. 1 overall selection is slated to receive $7.2 million, the final selection in the 10th round will receive $125,000.
And even though teams with more draft picks in the first 10 rounds will have a larger Signing Bonus Pool, they still will be penalized for exceeding their specified draft budget. Depending on the severity of the infraction, the punishment may be levied in the form of taxation relative to the amount overspent, or even the loss of future draft picks.
But what about players drafted beyond the 10th round? Well, beginning in the 11th round, every slot—including non-drafted free agents—will be assigned a $100,000 Signing Bonus Value that’s separate from the aforementioned Signing Bonus Pool. Interestingly, organizations are free to spend any leftover money not used in the Signing Bonus Pool on said picks beyond the 10th round.
Two other important changes to this year’s draft are that the number of rounds has been reduced from 50 to 40, and the signing deadline has been moved up a month from August 15th to July 13th.
Having laid out the major changes, here is a look at 10 highly-touted prep prospects that pose as the biggest signability risks in the wake of the new CBA.