The 2016 baseball season is already well under way as camps around Arizona and Florida are busy with baseball activities and the exhibition season has already begun. Camp started a bit later for some players than it did for others, such as Ian Desmond, who was the last Qualifying Offer free agent left on the market. He signed a one year deal to play with the Texas Rangers on February 29th.
With Desmond's signing, the 2016 MLB Draft order is now finally set. Only 23 teams will be making their first round selections given the volume of Qualifying Offers that were issued this season, followed by 11 compensation "sandwich" picks for the teams who lost out on their QO free agents this winter.
By virtue of their forgettable record in 2015, the Milwaukee Brewers hold the fifth overall selection in this year's draft. This will be the highest pick Milwaukee has had in the draft since 2005, when they also selected fifth overall. They chose Ryan Braun that year in a stacked draft class, and it ended up working out pretty well as Braun has become one of the best players in franchise history.
Our beloved local nine has four picks overall within the first 100 selections: 5th, 46th, 75th (Competitive Balance Round B) and 82nd. The Brewers will then pick fifth in each round from 4-40. Last year the Brewers chose 15th overall and also had four selections in the top 100: 15th, 40th (Competitive Balance Round A), 55th, and 90th. Amateur scouting director Ray Montgomery used those picks on Trent Clark, Nathan Kirby, Cody Ponce, and Nash Walters.
Perhaps equally as important as the draft order, the draft bonus pools have also been officially set as well. The pools are set up for negotiating and paying out bonuses to players selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft, and each selection comes with a recommended bonus slot value. If a player drafted after round 10 receives a bonus of greater than $100K that overage will count against the pool as well.
This year the Brewers have the seventh largest bonus allotment in the league at $9,364,300. It is stipulated in the CBA that bonus slots are to rise in line with MLB revenue growth, which means that bonuses increased by 4.6% this ,year.
Last year Milwaukee had the ninth largest bonus pool at $7,743,800. The club signed 31 of their 41 selections according to BCB's Draft Signing Tracker and came in about $500,000 below their bonus pool allotment. Montgomery rolled the dice on several high profile prep talents later in the draft like Nolan Kingham, Justin Hooper, and Donny Everett, though the club was not able to use their excess bonus money to agree to terms and lure any of them away from their college commitments.
The annual Rule 4 Draft will take place this year on June 9th in New Jersey. According to Fangraphs some of the top players available are righty Alec Hansen of Oklahoma, prep RHP Riley Pint, prep outfielder Blake Rutherford, Florida lefty A.J. Puk, and Texas A&M outfielder Nick Banks.