When the Dodgers selected Maddux Bruns with their first pick of the 2021 MLB Draft, it was a bit surprising. The parallels to the J.T. Ginn selection in 2018 were there: Older prep pitcher player, committed to Mississippi State, etc. Thankfully, we’re not getting a repeat of that situation.
The Dodgers signed Bruns to a $2.2 million signing bonus — $224,6000 under the slot-recommended amount, as reported on Monday by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.
Before we get into that, here’s a refresher course on the bonus pool rules.
Every pick in the draft has a slot amount allotted to them. A player can be signed for more or less than the recommended amount, but a team cannot exceed its bonus pool without incurring penalties. If a draftee does not sign, teams lose that signing bonus from their overall pool (i.e., if Peter Heubeck doesn’t sign, the Dodgers’ bonus pool would decline by $577,000). Bonuses for undrafted free agents do not count toward a team’s pool, and the maximum amount a team can sign a UDFA for is $20,000 (which sucks).
Here are 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 2021 1st-round pick
|10-14.99||100 percent tax on overage|
Loss of 2021 1st- &amp; 2nd-round picks
|15-plus||100 percent tax|
Loss of 1st-round picks in 2021 &amp; 2022
The Dodgers can go up to $232,334 (5 percent, less $1) over their allotted slot amount of $4,646,700 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. Although, every year the draft is shortened and messed with by MLB and the MLBPA, the odds of that happening increase.
Teams have until Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. Pacific time to sign their draftees.
The Dodgers have already saved more than $500,000 against their bonus pool with three of their Top 9 draftees so far. Bruns was a bit overdrafted, according to public rankings, so a slightly underslot deal was expected. And the Dodgers tend to give their 8th-10th rounders low 4-figure bonuses (Tony Gonsolin once received a $2,500 signing bonus).
You can read more about Lockhart and Hobbs here.
I suspect most of the savings (thus far) will go to paying Heubeck and maybe trying to get 16th-rounder Michael Sirota out of his commitment to Northeastern University. There’s an outside chance 11th-rounder Justin Wrobleski commands a signing bonus north of the $125,000 slot amount.