As one of the 14 teams eligible for both rounds of the competitive balance pick lottery, there was some hope that, like last year, the Dbacks would get an extra selection between the first and second rounds of the 2014 draft. Luck was not completely on Arizona’s side, as the team failed to get a Comp A pick before landing the second pick in Comp B.
When the lottery was held for the first time last year as part of the new draft regime, Arizona grabbed the third pick in Comp A, getting a bump in their draft bonus pool. The team took Aaron Blair with their lottery pick, the 36 pick overall. Some of the best picks just after the first round are players with first-round ceilings and a question mark or two; Blair fits this mold, flashing a “starter’s repertoire” in the spring according to ESPN’s Keith Law, but lacking consistency and testing positive for a banned stimulant in May (full ESPN Scouts Inc. summary here).
Arizona can expect to have their third pick next year in Comp B, which will probably be in the 70th pick range. Next year, the Blue Jays will get an extra first round pick, 11th overall, for failing to sign high school pitcher Phil Bickford. Similarly, Miami will get a replacement pick within Comp A for failing to sign Matt Krook. That means that the Comp B pick can only be as high as 68th overall, but with a handful of compensation picks likely for teams that lose a qualifying free agent, Arizona will get bumped down. There were three compensation picks at the end of the first round in the 2013 MLB draft.
Other than the player Arizona could select with the Comp B pick next year, there are two other possible advantages to having the pick. One is the opportunity to mirror Kansas City’s draft strategy from this year by using the extra bonus pool money for flexibility — the Royals went under slot with their selection of Hunter Dozier in the first round in June, giving them a chance to go almost $2 million over slot with their Comp A pick to select and sign Sean Manaea, thought by many to be a early- to mid-first round round talent. Arizona’s 2014 Comp B pick could give them an extra $800,000 in bonus pool money to play with.
The other possible advantage comes from the fact that competitive balance picks can be traded. Two such trades happened with 2013 competitive balance picks — Detroit and Miami swapped picks as part of the Anibal Sanchez trade, and Miami also received a pick from Pittsburgh in exchange for first baseman Gaby Sanchez. Arizona’s 2014 Comp B pick could come in handy as Kevin Towers tries to land some bullpen help in this year’s trade season.
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