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Updated: Qualifying offers and the 2015 First-Year Player Draft

At some point this winter next year's draft order will be decided. But first the qualifying offer situation needs to play out.

Rich Schultz

Of the many things we'll learn this off season, one that I find to be of utmost interest is the final draft order for next year's First-Year Player Draft. We already know the tentative draft order, but that will change soon (-ish). It's going to be affected by this year's crop of free agents with draft compensation attached via the qualifying offer system.

Very quickly, teams may extend a one year contract offer equal to the average salary of the top 125 salaries in baseball ($15.3 million this year) to departing free agents. That player may accept and return for the one year deal. If that player declines a couple of things happen. That player now has draft pick compensation attached to him. Whatever club that signs him (assuming it's not his previous club) is required to forfeit their highest draft pick (typically the first 10 picks in the draft are protected, but this year the top 11 are protected). Should that happen, the team that extended the qualifying offer is awarded a sandwich pick that comes immediately after the first round.

This year 12 free agents have received qualifying offers. Those players have until Monday to decide if they'll accept or decline the QO. To date, no player has accepted the qualifying offer. That could change this year with reliever David Robertson and aging outfielder-but-really-first-baseman-but-probably-should-be-DH Michael Cuddyer receiving qualifying offers. It's also possible those or any of the other players sign contracts with their previous clubs, eliminating the draft pick compensation.

Until we know the destination of these 12 free agents, we'll not know the ultimate order of next year's draft. Tentatively, however, we know the Brewers own the 17th overall pick*, the 35th overall pick (from the competitive balance lottery), 53rd pick, and 89th pick. One thing to note: The competitive balance pick the Brewers received can be traded so it's possible the Brewers will no longer possess that pick come draft time.

(*UPDATE: Somewhat shockingly the Mets have signed Michael Cuddyer. In doing so they forfeit the 15th overall draft pick and the Rockies gain a compensation pick after the first round. That means the Brewers first round pick moves up a slot to 16th overall. The rest of their picks are unaffected.)

In 2014's draft the Brewers owned the 12th, 41st (competitive balance pick), 50th, and 85th overall picks. They drafted Kodi Medeiros, Jacob Gatewood, Monte Harrison, and Cy Sneed with those picks. Other notable picks: Troy Stokes (116 overall), Dustin DeMuth (146), Jordan Yamamoto (356).

In 2013's draft the Brewers had forfeited their top draft pick as a consequence of signing then free agent Kyle Lohse. Because of that they did not pick in the first round and so owned the 54th, 72nd, and 90th overall picks. They drafted Devin Williams, Tucker Neuhaus, and Barret Astin with those picks. Other notable picks: Taylor Williams (122), Michael Ratterree (302), David Denson (452).

In 2012's draft the Brewers owned the 27th, 28th, 38th, and 92nd overall picks. They drafted Clint Coulter, Victor Roache, Mitch Hainger, and Tyrone Taylor with those picks. Other notable picks: Ty Wagner (155), Anthony Banda (335),