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MLB Draft 2022: Explaining signing bonuses, slot value and more originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The 2022 MLB Draft is officially complete.
From the first pick on Sunday through the 20th and final round on Tuesday, there’s no doubt that future superstars were selected this week.
We won’t know who those stars are for a few years as these young players progress through the minors, but that’s what makes baseball unique. Draft picks in other major sports often slot straight into the starting lineup, while most of these MLB prospects won’t see the big leagues for three or more years.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 MLB Draft picks’ money, signing bonuses and more:
How much money do first-round MLB draft picks earn?
The MLB draft is about more than just the prospects’ talent and positional fit – it’s about money, too. Each pick in the first 10 rounds has a designated slot value (signing bonus), with the first pick obviously slotted with the highest at just under $9 million.
Prospects don’t always sign for the exact slotted salary, though. Depending on the player, a team can sign their pick for “over-slot” or “below-slot.” So, if a team selects a lesser-touted prospect in the first round and signs him below-slot, the team can spend more on a better prospect in a later round.
Here’s the slotted value for each first-round pick in 2022, with the caveat that teams can try to negotiate below-slot value for these players:
How do they determine signing bonuses for MLB draft picks?
As aforementioned, each draft pick in the first 10 rounds has a slotted value. Each team has a specific value it can spend, and that value is determined by adding the slotted value for each of its picks in the first 10 rounds.
Teams cannot go over that total slotted value, but it can go over-slot for specific players. For example, if a team agrees to an under-slot signing bonus for its first-round pick, it can agree to an over-slot signing bonus for one or more of its later picks. As long as the total value after the first 10 rounds isn’t above the total slotted value, the team is in the clear.
Signing bonuses are negotiated between teams and prospects (and their agents). If a player agrees to an under-slot signing bonus with a team before the draft, it can ensure that it will be picked in a certain position.
This year, pitcher Kumar Rocker was widely expected to be a late first-round pick after he wasn’t signed as a first-round pick in 2021. Instead, he was drafted at No. 3 by the Texas Rangers. While the move seemed confusing at first, it was later reported that he agreed to a $5.2 million signing bonus – over $2 million less than the slotted value. This gave the Rangers more money to allocate in later rounds.
Who was the No. 1 pick in the 2022 MLB Draft?
The Baltimore Orioles selected Jackson Holliday with the top pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. A shortstop out of Stillwater High School in Oklahoma, Holliday is the son of former major-league outfielder Matt Holliday. The elder Holliday was a seven-time All-Star and 2011 World Series champion before retiring in 2018.
Jackson Holliday, 18, was committed to play at Oklahoma State but is expected to bypass college and join the Orioles’ organization.
How many picks are there per round in the MLB Draft?
There are 30 picks per round in the MLB draft… usually. There can be more or less than 30 picks in a round depending on a number of variables, including free agent additions or losses, luxury tax penalties, draft pick signings from the previous year and more.
Beyond just a normal draft round, there are also compensatory and competitive balance rounds. These rounds have far fewer picks, as they are awarded based on free agent losses (compensatory) and low-revenue teams (competitive balance).
What is the competitive balance round in the MLB draft?
There are two competitive balance rounds in the MLB draft. Competitive Balance Round A takes place after the first round, while Competitive Balance Round B takes place after the second round.
So, how do teams earn picks in the competitive balance rounds? Well, it’s complicated.
The 10 lowest-revenue teams and teams from the 10 smallest markets are eligible for a competitive balance round pick. All eligible teams are assigned a pick in either Round A or Round B. Unlike normal draft picks, competitive balance picks can be traded.
Here are the competitive balance picks from the 2022 MLB Draft:
Pick (CB Round)
Braves (via trade with Royals)
Orioles (via trade with Marlins)
Rays (via trade with Tigers)