The first day of the Major League Baseball draft is where stars come from, but it’s on the second day, featuring Rounds 2-10, when all of the scouting work can take a franchise from the doldrums to a championship. 

Because of how the MLB draft works, in which teams are able to cut under-slot deals with top prospects in some cases, there are going to be first-round talents that fall into a bargain spot if a club has the financial resources to sign a later-round player to a lucrative deal. 

There are always intriguing talents throughout the second day of the draft. Not all of the players selected today will sign, but most of them are going to get into professional baseball and add depth to a team’s farm system. 

Here’s all the information to get you set for the second day of the 2015 MLB draft. 


Start Time: 1 p.m. ET

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Team to Watch: St. Louis Cardinals

Since the MLB draft is so rigidly structured, it’s hard to find teams after the first day with more picks than anyone else. 

The one exception this year is St. Louis, as the Cardinals were awarded an extra compensation pick after the third round for failing to sign Trevor Megill last year. That gives them nine picks over eight rounds instead of the eight that 28 other teams have. (The Chicago White Sox are the only team with seven picks.)

One thing that’s made the Cardinals so successful over the last four years, even as they lost players like Albert Pujols to free agency or Adam Wainwright to season-ending injuries twice (2011, 2014), is the depth they have built through the draft. 

For example, St. Louis’ 2009 class is going to be one of the best in recent memory. Here are the big leaguers that have already come out of that group:

That’s a ridiculous amount of high-end talent to get out of one draft class, even if a pitcher like Joe Kelly is dragging the rest of the group down with his 5.40 ERA with Boston. 

Keep in mind the Cardinals have also promoted recent draftees like Kolten Wong (2011) and Michael Wacha (2012) and still have top prospects Stephen Piscotty (2012) and Marco Gonzales (2013), among others, on the way to St. Louis. 

ESPN’s Dan Szymborski did an even more in-depth breakdown of success in the draft through 2012 and found that the Cardinals have been one of the top three drafting teams in baseball based on value over expectations:

Those stats are based on where a player was taken relative to the historical expectations from the same position and how much value the drafting team got before the player hit free agency, per Szymborski‘s explanation in a 2013 article on 

Few teams are able to find and develop off-the-radar talent better than the Cardinals. That’s allowed them to build such considerable depth and maintain a high level of performance while dealing with the loss of superstars to injuries or free agency. 


Storyline to Watch: The Adjustment Bureau

There are always players who fall in the draft due to signability concerns. Some of them end up not signing after being selected. Mark Appel is the most famous recent example to spurn millions of dollars after the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him eighth overall in 2012. 

The Associated Press (h/t ESPN) reported after Appel failed to sign that Pittsburgh’s offer of $3.8 million was five percent above the assigned slot for the eighth pick:

Pittsburgh was prepared to go as much as 5 percent above its threshold and incur the first level of penalty, a 75 percent tax on the overage. But the Pirates didn’t want to fall into higher levels, which include the loss of future draft picks.

That slot was assigned $2.9 million from the drafting team’s bonus pool in baseball’s new labor contract, which imposes penalties on clubs that exceed the threshold — the totals of the slots for a team’s selections in the first 10 rounds.

In order to go that much over a required slot, teams can either go over the assigned value and risk penalties from MLB, either with the loss of a future draft pick or financially, depending on how much over a team goes. 

There are other ways for teams to manipulate the draft in their favor, as Houston did in that same 2012 draft. The Astros selected Carlos Correa first overall and signed for $4.8 million, which was $2.4 million less than the assigned value of the pick, per’s Brian McTaggart

In the same report from McTaggart, he noted it was “likely” the Astros would have to go above the $1.258 million pool to sign supplemental first-round pick Lance McCullers

Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said during Correa‘s introductory press conference, included in the McTaggart report, that the Astros were hoping to have another big rollout for McCullers if they got him signed. 

“Our goal is to have an event like this during our next homestand for Lance,” Luhnow said. “We have a long way to go to get there, but that’s our goal and I’m optimistic we’ll get something done.”

Sure enough, McCullers would end up signing with the Astros for $2.5 million or virtually double the assigned value of his pick. They were able to do that because of how much they saved from Correa‘s deal. 

Teams will always play the draft in their favor financially. ESPN’s Keith Law even noted in his final mock draft that Arizona seemed like a lock for Dansby Swanson with the top pick, but “one thing that could blow this up would be if Arizona attempts to sign Swanson for well under slot prior to the draft and fails to do so.”

The needs of a franchise, as well as its willingness to invest millions of dollars in a player with no professional experience and what the player believes he is worth are always going to be factors in the MLB draft. 

That leads to a lot of talent falling further than it should on an even playing field and makes for an interesting second day of the draft. 

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