Dodgers’ top MLB Draft pick J.T. Ginn still unsigned ahead of Friday deadline

The deadline is rapidly approaching for signing 2018 MLB Draft picks, and the Dodgers still have 11 unsigned draftees. A few are, pretty obviously, not going to sign, but two of the unsigned are the Dodgers’ 1st and 2nd round picks.

Here’s how it all breaks down at present.

Round Player Slot Bonus Savings
1 J.T. Ginn $2,275,800 unsigned ?
2 Michael Grove $917,000 unsigned ?
3 John Rooney $538,800 $565,740 $26,940
4 Braydon Fisher $402,300 $497,500 $95,200
5 Devin Mann $300,600 $272,500 $28,100
6 Bryan Warzek $233,800 $202,500 $31,300
7 James Outman $184,200 $157,500 $26,700
8 Luke Heyer $155,300 $47,500 $107,800
9 Josh McLain $143,600 $7,500 $136,100
10 Deacon Liput $136,800 $134,300 $2,500
17 Aldrich DeJongh $125,000* $150,000 $25,000
Total $5,288,200 $2,035,040 $185,360

*-Slot amount isn’t actually $125,000, but every dollar over counts toward the bonus pool.

The Dodgers had to go over slot slightly to get Rooney to sign and gave Liput the largest bonus for a 10th-round pick since the new rules were put into place in 2012. Here’s what the previous six 10th-rounders got:

So, that was a bit of a surprise. But seeing as Liput had a year of eligibility remaining, he had a bit more leverage than your typical 10th-rounder.

The Dodgers are currently $185,360 under their draft pool right now. Factoring in all the savings and the 5 percent (less $1) they’re allowed to go over, they’re still $449,769 from that mark. I wouldn’t get too attached to that number, though, as the Dodgers reportedly had to go about $300,000 over slot to get Grove to sign (not reflected in the table because the exact bonus amount is currently unknown). It’s a bit odd considering he missed the entire 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He won’t even throw until the instructional league, and with Ginn one of the six remaining unsigned 1st rounders around baseball, it’s just a little concerning.

For argument’s sake, let’s say Grove gets the $300,000 over slot amount. That would make his bonus $1,217,000. By my math (which is probably wrong), that means the Dodgers could offer Ginn as much as $2,779,849 without crossing the 5 percent (less $1) threshold. If they have to offer that much, that would mean the Dodgers won’t be going over slot for any of the unsigned post-10th-rounders like Brandon White, Julian Smith and Trey Dillard, effectively losing them to the 2019 draft (2021, in White’s case).

Here are the post-10th-rounders whose signing bonuses are known (thanks to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline). Aside from De Jongh in the table above, none of them have yet to receive more than $125,000 — including 32nd-rounder Jacob Gilliland, which was surprising to me.

  • 11th round: RHP Stephen Kolek, Texas A&M — $125,000
  • 12th round: C Hunter Feduccia, LSU — $125,000
  • 13th round: 1B Dillon Paulson, USC — $125,000
  • 18th round: OF Niko Hulsizer, Morehead State — $125,000
  • 19th round: OF Sam McWilliams, Meridian CC — $125,000
  • 20th round: RHP Caleb Sampen, Wright State — $125,000
  • 21st round: C Tre Todd, Liberty — unknown
  • 23rd round: RHP Justin Hagenman, Penn State — $75,000
  • 25th round: C Aaron Ackerman, University of Illinois, Chicago — $125,000
  • 25th round: RHP Hunter Speer, William Carey University — $12,500
  • 27th round: LHP Connor Mitchell, Butler — $50,000
  • 28th round: RHP Reza Aleaziz, Oklahoma State — $50,000
  • 29th round: OF Daniel Robinson, Central Michigan — $75,000
  • 30th round: OF Matt Cogen, Belmont University — $50,000
  • 31st round: LHP Andrew Shaps, William Jessup University — $5,000
  • 32nd round: RHP Jacob Gilliland, Next Level Academy (Ala.) — $125,000
  • 33rd round: OF Drew Avans, Southeastern Louisiana — $5,000
  • 34th round: LHP Austin Drury, North Florida — $100,000
  • 36th round: OF Jeremiah Vison, Golden West College — $50,000
  • 37th round: OF Jon Littel, Oklahoma State — $5,000

It sucks some of these guys only got $5,000 to sign, but that’s the nature of the beast that is the draft. It’d be nice if everyone got a bigger bonus and/or a living wage, but that seems to be more idealistic at this point because reasons (sigh).

For hopefully the last time, here’s a refresher on the rules that come with signing draft picks.

The 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, if any picks from rounds 11-40 or undrafted free agents are signed for more than $125,000, the overage will count against the bonus pool. And here’s how the overage penalties shake out.

Overage (percentage) Penalty (taxed amount)
0-4.99 75 percent tax on overage
5-9.99 75 percent tax on overage
Loss of 2019 1st-round pick
10-14.99 100 percent tax on overage
Loss of 2019 1st- & 2nd-round picks
15-plus 100 percent tax
Loss of 1st-round picks in 2019 & 2020

The Dodgers can go up to $264,409 (5 percent, less $1) over their allotted slot amount of $5,288,200 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.

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Jeren Kendall didn’t sign until deadline day last year. The Dodgers went down to the wire with Walker Buehler (who signed) and Kyle Funkhouser (who didn’t sign) three years ago. The bottom line is that Ginn should still get signed, while Grove’s announcement should be coming any day.

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 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 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.