In recent years the White Sox have drafted pretty heavily in college players. This year, a different trend emerged. Their first pick, Andrew Vaughn, stuck with the college trend, but after that the Sox went in a completely different direction. The Sox next three picks were all high school players. Their second round pick is a right-handed pitcher from Cypress Ranch High School in Texas, Matthew Thompson. In the third the White Sox drafted Andrew Dalquist, another right-handed pitcher, this time from California. The White Sox fourth round pick was James Beard, a very athletic center fielder and the fastest player in this draft class.
Why are these picks notable? Well because Thompson had a scholarship from Texas A&M. A&M is currently ranked 18th overall by NCAA.com. They are a very successful college baseball school. He would be one of their best prospects. He could maybe make more money after going to college. He could maybe win the College World Series instead of living in minor league towns for a few years. Why would he come to the White Sox now when he could be drafted higher in a couple years and make more money?
Dalquist had a similar situation. Dalquist was committed to the University of Arizona. Arizona is not as successful as Texas A&M in baseball, but they are still a division one school. Arizona has even had a Hall of Fame pitcher drafted in their history. Trevor Hoffman was a Wildcat before going on to end his career second in career saves.
Well to understand that, a little explanation of the first ten rounds of the MLB draft is required. Every draft pick in the MLB draft is assigned a slot amount. For example, Andrew Vaughn’s slot amount was a little over seven million dollars. This is basically the amount MLB thinks the third pick in the draft is worth. The value of every pick in the first ten rounds is established before the draft. The value of every pick this season went from a maximum of over eight million for the first overall pick, all the way to a minimum of $142,200 for the last pick in the tenth round.
What is important to know about these numbers is a team is not obligated to pay a player their slot amount. Andrew Vaughn has nothing to worry about. As the third pick in the draft, his signing bonus will more than likely be close to his slot value. Thompson’s slot amount is about $1.65 million. That’s a good amount of money. Would a player be willing to go to school to make more? Potentially. For Dalquist, a similar situation. His slot bonus is $755,300. Again, a lot of money for a player just out of college, but Dalquist has other options.
What if there was a way to pay Thompson, Dalquist, and Beard more to ensure they would join the Sox instead of going to college? Well, the White Sox found a way to do that. The Sox picks from the fifth through tenth inning were all college seniors. College seniors are in a tough spot during the MLB draft. They have to take what is given to them essentially. Other players can go back to school. College seniors don’t have that option. FutureSox has been recording the White Sox draft pick signings since the draft. Dan Metzdorf, Avery Weems, Karan Patel, Ivan Gonzalez, Tyson Messer, and Nate Pawelczyk all were college seniors. Five of them have signed already and Gonzalez should be signing soon. They have all signed for ten thousand dollars each. Assuming Gonzalez signs for that same amount, the White Sox will save a ton of money on those players.
What does this mean for Dalquist, Thompson and Beard? With the MLB draft slot system, if a player signs a contract with the team who drafted him, any excess money from their slot value may be used on other players. In this case, the White Sox are signing six players for $60,000. If those players had all been signed for their slot values, they would have received a total of $1,411,000. That $1,351,000 difference can be used for other players drafted in the first ten rounds. Specifically, Thompson, Dalquist, and maybe some to Beard.
So essentially the White Sox really loved the talent of those high school seniors so they saved money elsewhere to increase their chances of signing Thompson, Dalquist, and Beard. There is little doubt there were discussions with those three in regards to how much it would take to sign them. Just like every other player in the draft, there are no guarantees, but obviously the White Sox liked what they saw in those three players enough to draft low ceiling college seniors with the rest of their picks through the first ten rounds.