A group of new athletes will join the Major League Baseball family this week as the MLB holds its annual draft.
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Louisville catcher Henry Davis with the first overall pick and the Texas Rangers grabbed Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter — son of retired big league All-Star Al Leiter — with the second overall pick.
For players, the team that drafts them can have a major impact on how they develop as baseball players, but it also can have a huge impact on how much money they earn.
Each draft slot in the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft is assigned a certain amount of guaranteed bonus money it can offer that player, referred to as the “slot value.” The slot value is guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus.
A team could opt to spend more than the slot value but could incur a penalty from MLB if they do — a team could also spend less than the slot value, but risk the drafted player not accepting the offer. Unlike the NBA and NFL drafts, athletes selected into MLB can opt to go back to college if they are drafted out of high school, thus forfeiting any bonus money from the MLB team.
In baseball, all drafted players begin their careers in the minor league system, where salaries are low, so the signing bonus they receive on draft day makes up most of the money they will earn until they reach the majors. Once in the majors, they can begin to negotiate a new contract — only about 10% of minor leaguers make the big leagues, according to data from MotherJones.
A more detailed look at the MLB’s slot value system can be found here.
Because of this system, dropping a few spots during the draft can actually cost players hundreds of thousands and dropping 10 or more spots can cost a young athlete over a million of dollars.
Here are the estimated signing bonuses for the first round selections of the 2021 MLB draft, according to contract monitoring site Spotrac.
Pick No. 1 Henry Davis, Pittsburgh Pirates
Slotted bonus: $8,415,300
Pick No. 2 Jack Leiter, Texas Rangers
Pick No. 3 Jackson Jobe, Detroit Tigers
Pick No. 4 Marcelo Mayer, Boston Red Sox
Slotted bonus: $6.664,000
Pick No. 5 Colton Cowser, Baltimore Orioles
Slotted bonus: $6.180,700
Pick No. 6 Jordan Lawlar, Arizona Diamondbacks
Slotted bonus: $5,742,900
Pick No. 7 Frank Mozzicato, Kansas City Royals
Slotted bonus: $5,432,400
Pick No. 8 Benny Montgomery, Colorado Rockies
Slotted bonus: $5,175,900
Pick No. 9 Sam Buchman, Los Angeles Angels
Slotted bonus: $4,949,100
Pick No. 10 Kumar Rocker, New York Mets
Slotted bonus: $4,739,900
Pick No. 11 Brady House, Washington Nationals
Slotted bonus: $4,547,500
Pick No. 12 Harry Ford, Seattle Mariners
Slotted bonus: $4,366,400
Pick No. 13 Andrew Painter, Philadelphia Phillies
Slotted bonus: $4,197,300
Pick No. 14 Will Bednar, San Francisco Giants
Slotted bonus: $4,036800
Pick No. 15 Sal Frelick, Milwaukee Brewers
Slotted bonus: $3,885,800
Pick No. 16 Khalil Watson, Miami Marlins
Slotted bonus: $3,745,500
Pick No. 17 Matt McLain, Cincinnati Reds
Slotted bonus: $3,609,700
Pick No. 18 Michael McGreevy, St. Louis Cardinals
Slotted bonus: $3,481,300
Pick No. 19 Gunnar Hoglund, Toronto Blue Jays
Slotted bonus: $3,359,000
Pick No. 20 Trey Sweeney, New York Yankees
Slotted bonus: $3,242,900
Pick No. 21 Jordan Wicks, Chicago Cubs
Slotted bonus: $3,132,300
Pick No. 22 Colson Montomery, Chicago White Sox
Slotted bonus: $3,027,000
Pick No. 23 Gavin Williams, Cleveland Indians
Slotted bonus: $2,926,800
Pick No. 24 Ryan Cusick, Atlanta Braves
Slotted bonus: $2,831,300
Pick No. 25 Max Muncy, Oakland Athletics
Slotted bonus: $2,740,300
Pick No. 26 Chase Petty, Minnesota Twins
Slotted bonus: $2,653,400
Pick No. 27 Jackson Merill, San Diego Padres
Slotted bonus: $2,570,100
Pick No. 28 Carson Williams, Tampa Bay Rays
Slotted bonus: $2,493,900
Pick No. 29 Maddux Bruns, Los Angeles Dodgers
Slotted bonus: $2,424,600
The MLB draft resumes on Monday at 1 p.m. EST on MLB.com