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An introduction to Major League Baseball’s draft

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The amateur draft is right around the corner. Where will the Mets be selecting, and just how does the process work?

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Sandy Alderson & Fred Wilpon
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On June 4, Major League Baseball will host its 54th annual Rule 4 draft, better known as the first-year player draft. The Mets ended the regular season with an 70-92 record in 2017, finished fourth place in the National League East, and will make the 6th overall selection.

Draft-eligible players come from a variety of backgrounds. The following players residing in the United States and its territories are eligible to be drafted:

  • All college juniors and seniors
  • College freshmen and sophomores at four-year programs who are at least 21 years of age at the time of the draft
  • All junior college players, regardless of age
  • High school seniors

All draftees, with a handful of exceptions, must be signed by July 15. Players that do not sign with teams by the deadline are eligible to be selected in the following year’s draft, provided they still meet the criteria listed above. Any team that fails to sign its first- or second-round selection is to be provided a compensation pick, which comes one slot later in the following year’s draft than the pick the team used on the unsigned player. Any team that fails to sign its third-round pick gets a compensation pick after round three but before round four in the following year’s draft. From the fourth round onward, no compensation is awarded for failing to sign a draft pick.

In 2018, the Mets will have a total pool of $9,580,900 to spend on potential draftees. The Kansas City Royals, by virtue of their 80-82 record in 2017 and having lost free agents Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer, have the largest draft pool in 2018, valued at $12,781,900. The Los Angeles Dodgers, by virtue of their 104-52 record in 2017, have the smallest draft pool in 2018, valued at $5,288,200. The pools for all 30 teams combined is $255,969,600, which averages out to $8,532,320 per club. This represents an 4.2% increase as compared to 2017.

2018 Mets slot values

Round Overall Pick Slot Value
Round Overall Pick Slot Value
1 6 $5,525,200
2 48 $1,485,100
3 83 $705,300
4 110 $507,800
5 140 $379,400
6 170 $285,200
7 200 $222,300
8 230 $176,700
9 260 $152,100
10 290 $141,800

In addition, any bonus money above $125,000 given to an player picked in rounds 11-40 counts against the team’s bonus pool allotment.

A team that outspends its pool by 0-5 percent pays a 75% tax on the overage. A team that outspends its pool by 5-10 percent pays a 75% tax on the overage and loses their first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. A team that outspends its pool by 10-15% pays a 75% tax on the overage and loses their first- and second-round picks in the 2019 MLB Draft. A team that outspends its pool by more than 15% pays a 100% tax on the overage and loses their first-round pick for the 2019 and 2020 MLB Drafts. Since the bonus pool system was introduced in 2012, teams have outspent their allotments a total of 95 times, but never by more than 5%.