Draft : : Signing Bonuses
Monday, May 09, 2011

Signing Bonuses: No. 1 Overall Picks Year-by-Year

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Ryan Young

Baseball signing bonuses to first-round picks have grown exponentially since 1965, when the draft was instituted ostensibly to reverse the growth of bonuses. From a first-round average of less than $50,000 in the first several years of the draft, that average has grown to a figure consistently in excess of $2 million over the last several years.
 
Following is a year-by-year breakdown of signing bonuses, and includes the average first-round signing bonus each year, the annual percentage increase/decrease, the first overall pick in the June regular phase and his cash bonus, and the player that received the next-largest bonus (if the player differs from the No. 1 pick).
 
Year Round 1 Avg % Change First Overall Pick Bonus Largest Bonus (Pick Number) Bonus
1965 $42,516 n/a  Rick Monday, of, Athletics $100,000 Alan Foster, rhp, Dodgers (28) $96,000
1966 $44,430 4.5 Steve Chilcott, c, Mets $75,000 Reggie Jackson, of, Athletics (2) $80,000
1967 $42,898 -3.4 Ron Blomberg, 1b, Yankees $75,000 #Mike Adamson, rhp, Orioles $75,000
1968 $43,850 2.2 Tim Foli, ss, Mets $74,000 Lloyd Allen, rhp, Angels (12) $75,000
1969 $43,504 -0.8 Jeff Burroughs, of, Senators $88,000 Noel Jenke, of, Red Sox (13) $85,000
1970 $45,230 3.9 Mike Ivie, c, Padres $75,000 #Dave Kingman, 1b, Giants (sec./1) $80,000
1971 $45,197 -0.1 Danny Goodwin, c, White Sox Did not sign Ed Kurpiel, 1b, Cardinals (8) $83,750
1972 $44,952 -0.5 Dave Roberts, 3b, Padres $70,000 Jamie Quirk, ss, Royals (18) $78,000
1973 $48,832 8.6 *David Clyde, lhp, Rangers $65,000 ^Alan Bannister, ss, Phillies (Jan./1) $85,000
1974 $53,333 9.2 *Bill Almon, ss, Padres $90,000 Willie Wilson, of, Royals (18) $90,000
1975 $49,333 -7.5 *Danny Goodwin, c, Angels $125,000  
1976 $49,631 0.6 Floyd Bannister, lhp, Astros $100,000 Ken Landreaux, of, Angels (6) $82,000
1977 $48,813 -1.6 Harold Baines, of, White Sox $32,000 Paul Molitor, ss, Twins (3) $77,500
1978 $67,892 39.1 *Bob Horner, 3b, Braves $162,000 Kirk Gibson, of, Tigers (12) $150,000
1979 $68,094 0.2 Al Chambers, 1b, Mariners $60,000 Todd Demeter, 1b, Yankees (51) $208,000
1980 $74,025 8.7 Darryl Strawberry, of, Mets $152,500 Jeff Pyburn, of, Padres (5) $103,500
1981 $78,573 6.1 Mike Moore, rhp, Mariners $100,000 Terry Blocker, of, Mets (4) $127,500
1982 $82,615 5.1 Shawon Dunston, ss, Cubs $135,000 Kenny Williams, of, White Sox (78) $160,000
1983 $87,236 5.6 Tim Belcher, rhp, Twins Did not sign Kurt Stillwell, ss, Reds (2) $135,000
1984 $105,392 20.8 Shawn Abner, of, Mets $150,500 Mark McGwire, 1b, Athletics (10) $145,000
1985 $118,115 12.1 B.J. Surhoff, c, Brewers $150,000 Bobby Witt, rhp, Rangers (3) $179,000
1986 $116,300 -1.6 Jeff King, 3b, Pirates $180,000 Kevin Brown, rhp, Rangers (4) $174,500
1987 $128,480 10.5 Ken Griffey Jr., of, Mariners $160,000 Mark Merchant, of, Pirates (2) $165,000
          Jack McDowell, rhp, White Sox (5) $165,000
1988 $142,540 10.9 Andy Benes, rhp, Padres $235,000 Steve Avery, lhp, Braves (3) $211,500
1989 $176,008 23.5 *Ben McDonald, rhp, Orioles $350,000 *John Olerud, 1b, Blue Jays (79) $575,000
1990 $252,577 43.5 Chipper Jones, ss, Braves $275,000 *Todd Van Poppel, rhp, A’s (14) $500,000
          Tony Clark, 1b, Tigers (2) $500,000
1991 $365,396 44.7 Brien Taylor, lhp, Yankees $1,550,000 Shawn Green, of, Blue Jays (21) $725,000
1992 $481,893 31.9 Phil Nevin, 3b, Astros $700,000 Jeffrey Hammonds, of, Orioles (4) $975,000
1993 $613,037 27.2 *Alex Rodriguez, ss, Mariners $1,000,000 Darren Dreifort, rhp, Dodgers (2) $1,300,000
1994 $790,357 28.9 Paul Wilson, rhp, Mets $1,550,000 Josh Booty, ss, Marlins (5) $1,600,000
1995 $918,019 16.1 Darin Erstad, of, Angels $1,575,000 Jaime Jones, of, Marlins (6) $1,337,000
1996 $1,794,317 95.4 Kris Benson, rhp, Pirates $2,000,000 Matt White, rhp, Giants (7) $10,200,000
1997 $1,330,536 -25.8 Matt Anderson, rhp, Tigers $2,505,000 Rick Ankiel, lhp, Cardinals (72) $2,500,000
1998 $1,637,667 23.1 *Pat Burrell, 3b, Phillies $3,150,000 Corey Patterson, of, Cubs (3) $3,700,000
1999 $1,809,767 10.5 Josh Hamilton, of, Devil Rays $3,960,000 *Josh Beckett, rhp, Marlins (2) $3,625,000
2000 $1,872,586 3.5 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b, Marlins $3,000,000 Joe Borchard, of, White Sox (12) $5,300,000
2001 $2,154,280 15.0 Joe Mauer, c, Twins $5,150,000 *Mark Teixeira, 3b, Rangers (5) $4,500,000
2002 $2,106,793 -2.2 Bryan Bullington, rhp, Pirates $4,000,000 B.J. Upton, ss, Devil Rays (2) $4,600,000
2003 $1,765,667 -16.2 *Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays $3,700,000 Rickie Weeks, 2b, Brewers (2) $3,600,000
2004 $1,958,448 10.9 Matt Bush, ss, Padres $3,150,000 Jered Weaver, rhp, Angels (12) $4,000,000
          Stephen Drew, ss, Diamondbacks (15) $4,000,000
2005 $2,018,000 3.0 Justin Upton, ss, Diamondbacks $6,100,000 Alex Gordon, 3b, Royals (2) $4,000,000
2006 $1,933,333 -4.4 *Luke Hochevar, rhp, Royals $3,500,000 Andrew Miller, lhp, Tigers (6) $3,550,000
2007 $2,098,083 8.5 *David Price, lhp, Vanderbilt $5,600,000 Matt Wieters, c, Orioles (5) $6,000,000
2008 $2,458,714 17.2 Tim Beckham, ss, Rays $6,150,000 Buster Posey, c, Giants (5) $6,200,000
2009 $2,434,800 -1.0 *Stephen Strasburg, rhp, Nationals $7,500,000 Donovan Tate, of, Padres (3) $6,250,000
2010 $2,220,966 -8.8 *Bryce Harper, c, CC Southern Nevada $6,250,000 Jameson Taillon, rhp, Pirates (2) $6,500,000

* Signed major-league contract; cash bonus only reported
# Selected in June secondary phase
^ Selected in January draft
@ Includes four loophole free agents; White signed with Devil Rays
 
NOTE: The signing bonus average for first-round picks from 1965-82 includes the value of college scholarship plans and incentive bonus plans, in addition to the cash bonus paid. From 1983-2004, the amount represents only the cash bonus paid. 
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