After wrapping up day two of the 2020 MLB Draft on June 11, the Colorado Rockies had selected six amateur players to add to a cache of purple prospects.
Coincidentally and symmetrically, three are high school players and three come from the college ranks; it also breaks down as three hitters and three pitchers.
In the fourth round, Colorado looked in-state for the 110th overall selection, RHP Case Williams from Douglas County High School in Castle Rock.
By signing the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, Williams now joins Pine Creek’s Ryan Warner (third round, 2012) and Greeley Central’s Shawn Chacon (third round, 1996) as the only Colorado high school players to be selected by the Rockies within the first four rounds of the MLB Draft.
Williams also became the highest Colorado prep player to have been drafted since LHP Brock Burke was selected in the third round by the Tampa Bay Rays out of Evergreen High School in 2014.
Entering the 2020 First-Year Player Draft, Williams was deemed the 231st-best prospect by FanGraphs and outside the top 500-best prospects by Baseball America.
According to MLB Pipeline, the 14-2 varsity pitcher signed below the recommended slot value ($527,800) for $450K.
While the Rockies have the seventh-highest bonus pool of $10,339,700 in this year’s draft, the savings from Williams’ slot could be used to sign outfielder Zac Veen.
Since 2012, MLB has instituted bonus pools for all 30 teams, with each pick through round 10 being given an assigned value.
The total value for those picks dictate what the team can spend on players in rounds 1-10 (2020 was only rounds 1-5) without incurring a financial penalty or worse.
If a club exceeds its assigned pool by 0-5 percent, they pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. Ultimately, this is a negligible cost considering such overages have happened 149 times the previous eight years, including 21 times last year.
Should a team outspend their bonus pool allotment by more than 5%, the team could lose a first round pick and pay a tax on that additional money; if they outspend by more than 15%, they face a loss of two first round picks and pay an even larger tax.
Though teams may commonly outspend their bonus pool by less than 5%, no team has ever gone above that mark.
If a selected player is not signed, the value of his pick gets subtracted from his club’s pool.
In translation, this wrinkle that makes the concept of bonus pools even more intriguing for the shortened draft in 2020: losing the money is even worse than losing the player.
As for the case with the Rockies’ first pick, Veen could prove to be the most difficult in this class to sign due to his leverage of going to college and re-entering the draft in 2023.
In addition, the best prep hitter in this draft was a potential candidate to be selected as high as second overall. Given that this pick comes with a hefty suggested price tag of $7,789,900 – more than $2.8M higher than the Rockies’ assigned value for their slot ninth overall – Veen and his advisor may want an overslot deal.
The team has yet to announce an official signing of the other five players drafted, but under slot deals with any of the amateurs could have been pre-arranged before the selection.
The New York Mets signed their third round pick SS Anthony Walters for $400K under slot at just $20K – a figure used as the maximum value for undrafted free agents – and the Washington Nationals used the same $20K contract for their fourth round selection C Brady Lindsly.
- To date, Colorado has signed only one undrafted free agent. Luke Leisenring, a catcher from Division II University of South Carolina Aiken, is from Jefferson County and played at Ralston Valley High School from 2015-17, graduating a year early.
- Matt Schmidt, son of Rockies’ scouting director Bill Schmidt, signed with the Kansas City Royals as an undrafted free agent. The Parker, CO native and redshirt senior from the University of Michigan hit a decisive ninth-inning homer against #2 ranked Vanderbilt to start the Wolverines’ 2020 season.
- Air Force outfielder Ashton Easley signed with the Miami Marlins. The recently graduated co-captain joins 2019 teammate IF Nic Ready with the organization after hitting .301/.364/.512 hitter with the Falcons. His 15 triples were fifth-most. In addition, his 15 triples were the most among active NCAA Division I players, while his 59 steals were 11th.