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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
Brodie Van Wagenen & Jeff Wilpon
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

On June 3, Major League Baseball will host its 55th annual Rule 4 draft, better known as the first-year player draft. The Mets ended the regular season with an 77-85 record in 2018, fourth place in the National League East, and will make the 12th 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 2019, the Mets will have a total pool of $8,224,600 to spend on potential draftees. Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the Draft has an assigned value, with the total for each of a club’s selections equals what it can spend in those rounds without incurring a penalty. If a player taken in the first 10 rounds doesn’t sign, his choice’s value gets subtracted from his club’s pool. Any bonus money above $125,000 given to an individual player selected in rounds 11-40 also counts against a team’s allotment.

Round (Overall Pick): Slot Value

1 (12): $4,366,400

2 (53): $1,370,400

3 (89): $667,900

4 (118): $487,900

5 (148): $364,400

6 (178): $277,100

7 (208): $216,600

8 (238): $174,000

9 (268): $154,600

10 (298): $145,300

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 2020 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 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts.