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June 6, 2018 at 8:16 PM

Welcome to the Draft Signing Period!

Now that the 2018 First-Year Player Draft is in the books, the signing period is upon us. This year's signing deadline is 5:00 pm ET on July 6, 2018. As most of our readers know, each team's spending on draft pick bonuses is capped. The bonus cap is determined by the number and placement of each team's selections.

The bonus cap sets an aggregate limit for a team to spend on its selections in the first ten rounds, and also limits teams from spending over $125,000 on players taken after the 10th round (the excess on any late-round bonuses will count against the bonus pool). Boston's cap is $5,699,000 this year. If the club exceeds its pool: (1) by 0-5%, it will be charged a 75% tax on the excess; (2) by 5-10%, it will pay the same tax and will also lose its first-round pick next season; (3) by 10-15%, it will be charged a 100% tax on the excess and lose its first- and second-round picks next season; and (4) by more than 15%, 100% tax on the excess and lose its next two first-round picks.

These are obviously harsh penalties, making it highly unlikely that the Red Sox will go more than 5% over the pool limit this year. However, the team has shown that it is willing to pay the requisite tax and go up to 5% over the cap, which would place the team's spending limit (not counting the first $125,000 given to any pick after the 10th round) at about $5,983,950. One other wrinkle to remember is that if Boston fails to sign any of its picks from the first 10 rounds, the team's pool will be reduced by the slot amount for the unsigned player's draft position. Here are the bonus slots for each of Boston's top picks:

1st round (No. 26): $2,552,800
2nd round: $1,010,500
3rd round: $559,600
4th round: $417,800
5th round: $311,800
6th round: $241,600
7th round: $189,800
8th round: $157,700
9th round: $144,600
10th round: $137,100

At first blush, it appears that all of Boston's picks in the first 10 rounds appear to be signable, and some draftees have reportedly already signed. Some of the players in rounds 4-10 could garner underslot deals that could leave the club additional bonus pool money to sign tougher signs later down the draft board.

After the 10th round, the Red Sox took a few high profile talents.  11th rounder Nick Northcut, a highly-regarded prep 3B, will likely require at least a third round bonus to pry him away from his commitment to Vanderbilt.  12th rounder Chase Shugart, 13th rounder Dylan Hardy, and 16th rounder Chris Machamer all seem like they could demand bonuses above $125,000.   As is the case in most years, there were a handful of other draftees picked in the 20s and 30s who were ranked by nationally-recognized outlets such as Baseball America and Perfect Game that may not end up signing.  At this early stage, there are 8 players I am projecting not to sign.  For some additional detail, my initial projections on who will sign are in the 2018 MLB Post-Draft Discussion Thread in the SoxProspects Forum.  The projections will be updated regularly, and that thread will include detailed discussion and snippets of info from across the web.

Mike Andrews is Editor-in-Chief of SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeAndrewsSP.