The Indians had a plan, they stuck to it and they got the guys signed that they drafted. As it turns out, so did most of the rest of baseball.
The Indians did a masterful job saving enough money on Tyler Naquin, Kieran Lovegrove, Dylan Baker and their three college seniors (Wendle, Lee and Martin) in the first 10 rounds to be able to sign Mitch Brown, D'Vone McClure, Caleb Hamrick and Josh McAdams to overslot bonuses in the first 10 rounds. Maybe as a sign of how this new draft will effect drafting, the Indians failed to sign any of the higher profile guys who they drafted after the 10th round as, frankly, they just ran out of money.
They signed their first 16 picks. Most teams signed their first 10 picks, at least, as only 10 players in the first 10 rounds didn't sign. That is 328 out of 338 who signed. 36 picks in the first 16 rounds didn't sign so 482 out of 518 did sign. So, on average, most teams signed 15 of their first 16 picks. From this you could guess that most teams found a way to make this new draft procedure work for them.
If we make a big assumption that the Indians knew WHICH guys to draft (something that is still questionable after the much acclaimed 2010 draft class that, except for Francisco Lindor, is falling pretty flat on its face two years later), the Indians did a very good job.
Even with a mediocre (15th) draft slot and with no extra picks and 4 overslot bonuses in the top 10 rounds they still had $220,000 and change left over on Thursday night. Add 5% of their bonus pool and the Indians had close to $440,000 left to augment the $100,000 max they had available to give a player drafted after the 10th round without giving up a first round pick next year. If they used that 5% overage, the Indians would also owe ML Baseball . The only blemish on their draft is that they had most of that $220,000 left when the dust cleared at 4 pm CT today. The problem was they didn't have any $250,000 to $350,000 prospects left to sign at the last moment like they did last year. All the guys were either unsignable or only signable for very high six figure bonuses and the Indians didn't have the cap room left to make one of those signings happen. I was not for signing these guys for high bonuses as most of them represented, to me, Nick Pesco, Sean Smith, Travis Foley, Tony Dischler-like prospects who aren't really worth high bonuses.
The Indians played this draft exactly the way they wanted to. Maybe their strategy was good, maybe not, maybe novel or maybe, given the signing proficiency of other teams, just a variation on a theme. I think it was a great draft, all things considered (mediocre slot, low budget, no extra picks) as they got a lot of good prospects and stayed within their limted budget. They signed the guys they wanted to sign and for whom they had the money.
Next year, just pick one more $300,000 guy who you can blow your underage on at the last moment.
Contratulations to the Indians. I liked this draft from a strategic point of view which will almost always be my opinion when you sign a bunch of guys ranked higher than the slot they were drafted.
Now, on to the supplemental draft lotteries through the rest of the time until next year's draft.