"Can you do better than the Rays did with a $12MM budget?"
So basically, which players could I "draft" and "sign" for under $12 million in the top 10 rounds, and would it look better than what the Rays did? Rule #1 that I went by was that I assumed the players go in the same spots they would in the real draft. That means no C.J. Cron or Kolten Wong falling to the Rays. That means I can't take someone different from the Rays at #32 and then pretend Jake Hager is available at a later pick. Rule #2 is that players got the same signing bonus they did in real life, regardless of where they were taken. So if there's a third-rounder who got $1 million and I take him in the supplemental first round, he still gets $1 million. Obviously draft position could change things but it's impossible to tell so I'm sticking with that.
And obviously this is all done in hindsight, so I definitely have that advantage over the Rays. Without further ado...
So what do you guys think? Which draft do you like better? Are there any players you'd want in (if you don't have access to BA's advanced signing database, just ask and I'll get you that player's bonus)? If you want my draft to be under the Rays's budget, just swap out Dan Vogelbach for someone who got roughly $1 million or less. Here's my reasoning behind the picks:
Taylor Guerrieri and Mikie Mahtook are the best bang for your buck at the back-end of the first round, so I'm sticking with those two. Instead of Jake Hager, I'm going for Henry Owens, the big lefty who was the best HS pitching prospect in California. He gives the Rays a second high-ceiling high school pitcher to replenish the low minors along with Guerrieri. With the next pick I take another HS pitcher, this time Michael Kelly. He isn't quite on the Guerrieri/Owens tier and his bonus reflects that, but still a very live arm. At #41 I opt for shortstop Trevor Story, giving me the up-the-middle player I didn't get by passing on Hager and Brandon Martin.
At #42 I go with Dante Bichette. He's basically a bat-only guy but he doesn't command a big bonus. Dan Vogelbach is definitely a bat-only guy, and I'm a little leery of taking two with consecutive picks (42 and 52), but considering I went with a lot of pitching early I'm okay with it. At #56 I go with Carl Thomore over Kes Carter. They're both outfielders with decent, but not top-of-the-line tools. Carter as the college guy is obviously more advanced, but I'm a sucker for NJ high schoolers. I'm fine with Grayson Garvin, and to wrap up the supplemental round picks, I go with Adrian Houser. He was an Oklahoma HS RHP who got overshadowed by uber-prospects Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley. Houser is athletic with a live arm but obviously not on the elite tier.
From there on I'm going with a lot of the same picks as the Rays: I like Granden Goetzman and Lenny Linsky in round two, as well as Johnny Eierman for $550k. Instead of Riccio Torrez in round 4, I go with Stony Brook pitcher Nick Tropeano who is basically the pitching version of Torrez in that they're more polish than raw tools. J.D. Davis decided to go to Cal State-Fullerton in the alternate universe as well. I take Ryan Carpenter a round earlier than the Rays do. In the 7th round, I go with college senior reliever Kevin Quackenbush who signs for a very tiny amount. John Alexander stays in the 8th round, Matt Rice in the 9th round, and raw athletic outfielder Jerrell Allen over Jacob Faria in the 10th round.