The Miami Marlins will make the seventh pick of the 2016 MLB Draft later tonight when the first round of the draft occurs starting at 6 pm EST tonight. The Fish have an important draft pick tonight because they simply have a lack of selections early on in the draft. While MLB drafts are built by little depth findings later in the rounds, Miami will at least have fewer selections to use early on, as the team has lost their competitive balance pick and their second-rounder off of recent transactions. The Fish traded their competitive balance pick, which would have been the 40th selection in the draft, as part of the Mat Latos trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. The team lost its second-round pick as compensation for the Wei-Yin Chen signing.
As a result, the Fish are lacking in selections in 2016. Here are the team's first five draft selections this year.
First round, Pick #7 overall
Third round, Pick #84
Fourth round, Pick #113
Remaining selections as normally ordered.
The Fish have a huge gap between the seventh and the 84th pick in the draft, meaning Miami will be missing out on a good amount of mid-tier talent and will have to stock up in the later rounds and hope for a few extra lottery tickets to work out.
The lack of selections also affects the bottom line that is available with which the Fish can play. The MLB Draft follows restrictions on bonus spending on players, with each team getting an amount equivalent to the recommended slot bonuses for each draft pick. Leftover bonus allotment does not roll over, but going over the allotment carries a hefty toll. Here are the penalties according to this Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- Exceed by 0 to 5 percent: 75 percent tax on the overage.
- Exceed by 5 to 10 percent: 75 percent tax on the overage plus the loss of a first-round pick in the following year’s draft.
- Exceed by 10 to 15 percent: 100 percent tax on the overage plus the loss of a first- and second-round pick in the following year’s draft.
- Exceed by more than 15 percent: 100 percent tax on the overage plus the lost of a first-round pick in the following two drafts.
Paying more money in bonus pool offerings can cost teams almost that much more in additional tax paid back to MLB and, if the overages are large enough, they could cause loss of draft picks for the following season. MLB cracked down hard to avoid issues of teams spending hard to try and buy up prospects who fell due to signability concerns. Instead, teams can now only work out deals for their higher-round picks that might be more favorable to them in order for the club to use its bonus money in the lower parts on those players who drop due to signing issues.
Miami has rarely done this, though it did have an example of this last season in drafting Josh Naylor in the first round and signing for less than slot for use for Blake Anderson with their 36th pick in the draft. Typically, Miami stays on slot with their draft selections, offering close to what they suggest and arranging deals fairly promptly. This year, the Marlins' lack of draft picks shrank their bonus pool however. The Fish have $6.4 million in draft allotment available for them to use.
What does this mean for Miami? The Fish do not have the option of signing a lower talent to an agreed-upon cheaper deal to use money later on, since they pick too far down in their second selection of the draft in order to pull a ploy like this. Therefore, expect Miami to stay on slot once again this year and not go overboard trying to aggressively someone who has a strong commitment to a college. Jason Groome, for example, is considered the best high school pitching prospect in the draft, but he owns a decent commitment to Vanderbilt University and it may take an above-average slot to sign him. I would bet that Miami goes after a safer player whom the team knows it will be able to sign in order to avoid a problem with wasting the year's development of a first-round pick.
If you want to catch the Marlins' draft, MLB.tv will have live coverage of the draft tonight starting at 6 pm EST! Stay tuned for more on the draft tonight!