Dodgers sign top draft pick Jeren Kendall, others ahead of deadline

Jeren Kendall.

There wasn’t much doubt, but the Dodgers got their Top 3 draft picks signed today before the 2 p.m. deadline — Jeren Kendall, Morgan Cooper and Connor Wong.

The Dodgers also signed 11th-round shortstop Jacob Amaya, as he foregoes his commitment to Cal State Fullerton. They have a history of spending relatively big on 11th-rounders, so it’ll be interesting to see what his bonus ends up being.

It was a little contentious at first, though.

That would be Jacob’s father, presumably named Robert. He refuted the initial report, but the younger Amaya broke the news himself.

The entire draft was contingent on Kendall signing, and even though it took until the final day, it was worth the gamble. I thought the bonus might be a little more considering we got to deadline day without a deal, but who am I to criticize an agent and team for haggling over $200,000? Cooper came in under slot, while Wong came in at just over slot.

Round Player Slot Bonus Savings
1 Jeren Kendall $2,705,200 $2,900,000 ($194,800)
2 Morgan Cooper $1,020,700 $870,000 $150,700
3 Connor Wong $539,600 $550,000 ($10,400)
4 James Marinan $403,500 $825,000 ($421,500)
5 Riley Ottesen $301,800 $197,500 $104,300
6 Wills Montgomerie $234,400 $197,500 $36,900
7 Zachery Pop $184,700 $147,500 $37,200
8 Rylan Bannon $153,900 $122,500 $31,400
9 Connor Strain $141,300 $1,500 $139,800
10 Zach Reks $134,100 $1,500 $132,600

With the $2,500 accounting trick, the Dodgers’ bonus pool was $5,819,200. By my calculations, the Dodgers came in at $6,200 under their bonus pool, but that doesn’t account for Amaya’s deal or any other post-10th-rounders the Dodgers might nab. The Dodgers could spend $289,709 over their allotment without losing a draft pick, so the Dodgers could have offered Amaya almost $421,000 as a bonus. Regardless, rest assured the Dodgers did not go over their bonus pool, because no team ever does.

The Dodgers also signed 17th-rounder Nathan Witt and 20th-rounder Donovan Casey — both of whom I was expecting would go back to school. They didn’t, and that makes the draft class even stronger.

As Mr. Gurnick said, they signed 33 of their 40 selections. They also signed 33 players last season, but they also had a couple extra selections.

——

Again, here’s a brief review of how the draft signing process works under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Picks within the first 10 rounds get a slot amount allotted to them, and they must be signed in order for their slot amount to go towards the overall bonus pool. Additionally, any picks from rounds 11-40 or undrafted free agents signed for more than $125,000 (up from $100,000 from the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement) will count against the bonus pool.

Overage (percentage) Penalty (taxed amount)
0-4.99 75 percent tax on overage
5-9.99 75 percent tax on overage
Loss of 2018 1st-round pick
10-14.99 100 percent tax on overage
Loss of 2018 1st- & 2nd-round picks
15-plus 100 percent tax
Loss of 1st-round picks in 2018 & 2019

The Dodgers can go up to $289,709 (5 percent, less $1) over their allotted slot amount of $5,794,200 without losing a draft pick. No team has ever exceeded this bonus pool since this system was implemented in 2012, and it isn’t going to happen now. There’s also an accounting trick that allows the Dodgers to save $2,500 on each pick, and it basically gives the Dodgers an extra $25,000 to sign draft picks.

——

I liked this draft for the Dodgers. They got one of the best prospects and some projectable, high-velocity arms in the later rounds. Now, let’s focus on the trade deadline.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.