Major League Baseball is looking to implement an International Free Agent Draft as soon as 2020. How would this impact the Kansas City Royals?
It wasn’t until Dayton Moore became the General Manager of the Kansas City Royals that the team really became proactive in the international free agent market. Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, and Luis Severino are all notable names that have emerged from international free agency.
As mentioned, the Royals have taken more of an interest in pursuing international free agent under Moore and signed Salvador Perez in 2006, Adalberto Mondesi in 2011, and budding superstar Seuly Matias in 2015, just to name a few.
The previous format of international free agency was that teams could negotiate in a “free-for-all” type of tactic. However, the league has been looking to implement a draft starting as soon as next season so that all teams could have a fair shot at landing a player they desire.
Per Baseball America, it would consist of a 20-round draft and each pick would have an assigned slot value. After the 20 rounds, teams can sign players that went undrafted for up to a maximum of $25,000. Players that are at least 16 years of age are eligible to sign with teams, which is consistent with the previous format.
Now for the draft order. Major League Baseball is not looking to replicate a worst-to-first overall record selection style, but rather it would be a rotating draft. Teams from one division would be able to sign the top 5 picks and the following year another division would have the opportunity. So how would this impact the Royals?
If the American League Central is the first division chosen in 2020, the Royals would have the second overall pick, unless the Tigers suddenly catch fire, in which case they would have the first overall pick. The Royals have historically had one of the highest bonus pools, in which they receive a little extra for being classified as a smaller market.
For the 2019-2020 period, the Royals had $6.8 million in bonus pool money to spend and they locked up the 5th best prospect Erick Pena with a signing bonus of $3.8 million. It will be interesting to see which division ends up with the first chance at the top five if indeed a 2020 international free agent draft is approved for next season.