Major League Baseball has unveiled the order of the Competitive Balance rounds for the 2018 draft, and the Royals will have a selection in the “A” portion, which follows the first round.
The Royals, for now, are set to draft No. 36 overall with their selection in Competitive Balance Round A — though that order is subject to change based on teams gaining compensation picks and losing picks for free-agent signings. The Royals hold the No. 18 overall pick in the first round.
The competitive-balance round picks — a mechanism to emphasize parity — go to any team that falls in the bottom 10 in revenue or bottom 10 in market size.
The Royals could also gain three additional draft picks if free agents Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain sign elsewhere. All three players were given a one-year qualifying offer of $17.4 million. All three elected to decline the offer and seek a multi-year deal on the open market.
If all three players sign for more than $50 million with another team, the Royals would receive three compensation picks immediately following the first round. If a player signs for less than $50 million, the pick would slot after Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round.
The Royals are still seeking to re-sign first baseman Hosmer, while deals for third baseman Moustakas and center fielder Cain appear less likely.
In one scenario, however, the Royals would own five selections in the first 50 picks of the draft if all three players leave and sign for more than $50 million, which is expected.
The extra picks could help the Royals kickstart a rebuilding phase that is expected to begin in 2018. Yet they are also important for another specific reason: The additional picks will help boost the club’s allotment of signing bonus money, which is now capped based on a slotting system. While teams must adhere to the caps, they are able to spread the money out among draft picks. As a result, the high number of picks could allow the Royals to offer high bonuses to multiple selections, which could help them acquire multiple players who profile as first-round talents.