Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Two Bits of Great News

Two bits of great news for Astros fans:
  1. The Astros signed P. Sandoval to a player contract
  2. The aforementioned P. Sandoval is 11th round draft pick Patrick Sandoval, and not Instagrammer extraordinaire Pablo Sandoval
If you have not enough pitching in your system, Patrick Sandoval is the guy you want.  If you have not enough internet access in the dugout and 80-odd million sitting unused on your payroll, then Pablo Sandoval is your guy.  I would rather have Patrick, if I were the Astros, but Pablo has the advantage of being an established major-league player.

Kidding aside, the Astros signed Patrick Sandoval to a contract worth 900K to him, and costing more like 1.3MM to the Astros because of the tax on the overage.  One of the benefits of having a massive draft pool is that there is a little more room to move before exceeding 105% of your draft pool, too, although BatGuy (the Accountant and architect of measuring units) is probably the guy who will explain that a little better.

Anyhow, the maths are roughly as follows (as per the always awesome MLBTR).  All teams have an 10th+ round slot of $100k.  Sandoval signed for 900K, leaving 800K that needs to be accounted for out of the Astros' draft pool.  The Astros are thought to be around 249K short of exceeding their bonus, leaving them needing to pay an overage tax on the remaining 550-odd thousand.  The overage tax is 75% on the 550K, so that amounts to around 550K plus approx. 410K tax.  So the whole contract will cost the Astros 900K plus 410K, so around 1.3MM.  Numbers rounded for convenience, but the above link explains it using another couple of decimal places.

So, along with the signings of Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, and Daz Cameron, the Astros also get it done with one of their after-round-10 singings.  It is tempting at this point to declare that the Astros totally gamed the whole draft, which has an element of truth to it.  But my counterpoint is that the Astros had the most advantageous draft in history - no team has ever had two top-five picks, and certainly not in the capped-bonus-pool era - and, as a result, a massive draft pool.  So a good amount less than what they pulled off this time around could have easily been considered a failure.  I think they probably drafted Kyle Tucker a pick-or-four early, and I think that Dansby Swanson was probably first on their board, but they have certainly had a really solid overall draft.  Bregman's and Tucker's signing, of course, was the main reason they were able to sign Cameron, so no criticism there.

But they needed a good draft, partly to erase the nightmares of 2014, and partly to compensate for what could be a lean 2016.  I would not be surprised to see them blow up next years' drafts.  If they make the postseason, they won't get a protected pick.  They will look to sign a free-agent starting pitcher or two - someone like a Jordan Zimmermann perhaps - who will nearly certainly get a qualifying offer, and which will subsequently result in a lost draft pick.  The tradeable sandwich-round draft picks are not out yet, but they may try to trade from their AA / AAA depth to obtain one of those.  But I would not be surprised to watch them lose their first and perhaps second round picks for next year, which I think makes this draft even more important.  The scouts will really be tested, scrambling around for signable and useful third- and fourth-round picks.

Anyhow, for now, feel free to celebrate the arrival of Patrick Sandoval, and/or the non-arrival of Pablo Sandoval.  And admire the Astros' draft.  It may be the last loaded one for a while.