The Royals draft strategy is starting to make clearer sense now after Jim Callis reported today that the club has signed pitcher Sean Manaea to a $3.55 million bonus, a record for a supplemental round pick. The slot value for the 34th overall pick - where Manaea was selected - is $1.623 million. Manaea, a left-handed pitcher out of Indiana State University, was considered a top ten talent by many, but slid due to some injuries late in the year, and was considered a tough sign since he still had the option to return to school for his senior year to re-establish his draft value.
Manaea has a torn labrum in his hip that will require him to have surgery and miss the rest of the year, but the injury is not considered to be a long-term threat to his health and he should be ready by next spring. Manaea dominated the elite Cape Cod Summer League last year, and was having a terrific season this year for Indiana State, but a drop in velocity and a rolled ankle began to hurt his draft stock late this spring. Manaea was then shut down for his last start of the year and his hip injury was revealed, causing him to fall in the draft. The bonus he ended up receiving from the Royals is roughly the slot value for the #6 overall pick.
The Royals draft strategy is clearer now. They took Hunter Dozier with the #8 pick, with the expectation he would sign underslot, allowing them to draft Manaea at #34. Had thet taken Manaea at #8 and failed to sign him, they would have had to forfeit the slot value at #8, massively shrinking their draft budget. Dayton played the system, and for once, he played the system well. Between this, and his jumping on the Ervin Santana deal, he's going to start getting cocky.