Things get a little more complicated for front offices and scouts with the new collective bargaining agreement being passed over the winter. Every organization is working with a strict draft budget for now on. Teams that spend over the cap will have to absorb steep tax penalties. Excessive over spending could even result in the loss of two future first round draft picks.
The Royals must make due with $6.15 million to sign their top 10 selections. Any player signing of an excess of 100,000 from the 11th to 40th rounds will also count towards the cap. Each pick in the first 10 rounds has a slot value. Even if a player goes unsigned by the July 13th deadline, (Moved up from August 15th this year.) the slot value for that pick will be subtracted from the cap. An organizations entire draft could be sabotaged if early round picks go unsigned.
Scouts schmoozing their targeted prospects will be an essential requisite to the job. On going negotiations throughout the spring will become a common place if it wasn't already. The rapid signing of Kyle Zimmer makes it likely that a principle to a deal was already in place if he fell to them at #5. Zimmer signing for $500,000 under slot will make it easier for the Royals to aggressively pursue some of their tougher signs. (Stay tuned, as I'll profile many of the Royals draft selections.)
Due to a weak draft pool this year, the system in place should work for the time being. Flaws will surface when we see stronger pools in future drafts? Will there be enough money in the draft caps to sign a considerable amount of the talent? Organizations are a little hamstrung with the new limitations, and as a result we could see an influx of prep talent make way to college. No longer will we see 11th round selections like Shawon Dunston Jr. signing for 1.3 million. (Cubs lured him away from his 2011 commitment to Vanderbilt.)
It's crucial to the sport that Major League Baseball and the union continue to work with the NCAA in regard to expanding scholarships. The college product should be enhanced with these efforts continued and with the changes to the First-Year Player Draft. How will it all affect the game as a whole? A lot of questions to be answered in due time, but there is always room for optimism.
Soak up an exciting weekend of Super Regional baseball as teams vie for a coveted spot in the College World Series.