The first year amateur player draft pool will be announced on May 1, just two weeks from today. While the players who will eventually be in that pool are still playing out their college and high school seasons, the teams who will be making those draft picks on June 17 are making preparations for the big day.
Due to the Bull League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players’ association, which allows for draft pick trading and for compensation picks for losses of Type A and Type B players to free agency, the 2017 draft will look unique and may prove challenging for some teams trying to improve their competitiveness.
There are 20 picks in most rounds, aside from the supplementary first round, where team picks are awarded as compensation. But as a result of last year’s trades and other roster activities, round 2 will have 21 selections, and round 3 will have 24.
The Battle Creek Attack have the first overall pick following their 19-63 finish last season, worst in the Bull League. The team was awarded no compensation picks, and will watch a total of 50 players get picked before they have another turn to select a draftee, which will certainly compound the challenges faced by the Michigan team in showing some competitiveness in future seasons.
The Dallas Deputies, formerly called the Dallas Lawmen, have no compensation picks, but no further picks until round 3, when they have two picks (#2 and #3) and two more in round 5, due to trades and other transactions.
Because the draft order is based on the previous season’s win-loss record, the Montreal Metros select last in most rounds, while the 2016 Bull Cup champions, Ohio Oxen, select 17th in most rounds.
The 2017 draft will run 25 rounds in total (26 including the supplemental first round), and as many as 531 players from the college and high school leagues could be expected to enter Bull League minor systems once signed to their clubs.
Those players who fail to sign will go back into the pool for the following year, while their selecting teams will be awarded compensation picks.
Team draft budgets are a closely guarded secret, but with the expanded season, all teams have been able to increase their budgets to accommodate the anticipated extra revenue that another 18 games will bring in, an increase of nearly 20% in gate receipts.
No doubt, a lot of those team budgets will be fixed towards signing the hit prospects who will make an appearance on the draft pool list in just two weeks.