The 2022 MLB Draft is just three weeks away, with the Arizona Diamondbacks picking as early as No. 2 overall after an MLB-worst 110 losses in 2021. The Diamondbacks finished with the same record as the Baltimore Orioles, but the tiebreaker would be decided by the two teams’ record from the 2019 season when the D-backs won 85 games and the Orioles won 54 after the teams also had identical records in 2020 (25-35).
Going into the draft, the Diamondbacks will have a total bonus pool of $15.112MM. Here’s how it breaks down:
Diamondbacks Picks & Bonus Pool - 2022 MLB Draft
When it comes to spending, the bonus pool typically accounts for players taken in the first 10 rounds and how much they sign for. In addition, players selected in the 11th-20th rounds can sign for up to $125K without counting towards the pool. Players selected that late in the draft that sign for a higher bonus will have the overage count towards the pool. It’s a common tactic to use the 11th round pick as a means to secure a falling high school talent who may have expected to be taken early on the second day of the draft. We saw that approach in 2018 when the Diamondbacks drafted Blaze Alexander and signed him for $500K ($375K counts towards the pool).
This year’s bonus pool is the second highest pool for the Top 10 rounds of the draft under current Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen with the 2019 pool of $16.093MM being first. We have some recent performance from this front office about how they would attack the draft. With a pool greater than $16MM in the 2019 Draft, the team opted to go for an approach mostly governed by best player available on the first night with the selections of Corbin Carroll, Blake Walston, and Brennan Malone with their first three picks before going with the portfolio approach with college performers starting with the Drey Jameson selection to sign high school players Glenallen Hill Jr., Avery Short, and Brock Jones away from college.
That approach above was more of a result of the sheer number of picks the team had in the 2019 draft, with seven selections in the first two rounds, pushing up the bonus pool value. In 2022, they will have a big pool as a result of picking early in every round rather than having a lot of darts. The team will decide if it’s a better strategy to just go with their top player on the board and worry about the signing bonus later or if they take a haircut with the selection and look to grab a falling high school talent at 34. With a lot of prep prospects in the 15-30 range on most prospect lists, I think multiple teams in the top five will take that approach.
As we get closer to the draft, which will start on Sunday July 17th, we will be discussing which players should be in the mix for the team’s top overall spot as well as their other picks for that night.