MLB Draft Notes: 2019 bonus pool and the emergence of Hunter Bishop

Earlier this week, Fangraphs obtained the 2019 MLB Draft bonus pools. Presently, the Chicago White Sox will have $11,565,500 to pay bonuses out to draftees, and that could change a bit if Dallas Keuchel and/or Craig Kimbrel sign before the draft. Most of that bonus pool for Nick Hostetler to spend is of course tied up with the first round pick as slot #3 is $7,221,200. That’s $273,700 more than what Philadelphia Phillies had last year at pick three, and $809,800 more than what the White Sox had at pick four. It’s a pretty significant boost.

For some fans, they’ll look at this as an opportunity for the White Sox to go under slot at pick 3 and push some of that bonus cash to the later rounds. I don’t see that happening.

A reminder that Nick Madrigal signed for the slot value last year, and second-round pick Steele Walker signed over the bonus value at $2 million. Playing with money is a weird game in the draft where some teams will try to save on first-round signings to make more available in the second or later rounds. The White Sox have been doing the opposite by taking money from the fifth to ninth rounds and pushing it up to the second to fourth rounds. Expect whoever they take third overall to sign at slot value.

Now, who is worth signing for $7.2 million? Let’s catch up on how a couple of the Sox Machine Top 10 MLB Draft Prospects are doing, and feature a newcomer.

Adley Rutschman hit his ninth home run last night which matches his total from last year. His hitting split lines have improved in on-base percentage and slugging which is what you want to see from any hitter going from his sophomore to junior season. It’s just that Rutschman already had ridiculous numbers in 2018 so to see him with a 30.7% walk rate and a 14.9% strikeout rate is why he’s the best prospect in this draft class.

On the flip side is Andrew Vaughn who is amid a cold streak. The power-hitting first baseman has only two home runs in his last 16 games. Since conference play has started, Vaughn is hitting .208/.387/.250 in seven games against Pac-12 competition, and Cal has yet to face Stanford or UCLA. These numbers are a bit eye-opening and not in a good way as Vaughn is still meeting a heavy dose of breaking pitches which he’s struggling to make good contact (Remind you of any White Sox prospect?).

This also comes at a time when scouts are watching another slugger emerge from the Pac-12. Outfielder Hunter Bishop wasn’t considered to be a first-round talent. MLBPipeline didn’t have Bishop in their Top 50 prospects, and Baseball America initially ranked him 119th in their Top 300 (fourth-round grade). Just like Jonathan India last year, Bishop’s Junior season has been too good to ignore. Currently leads the country in home runs with 16, and just an obscene slash line of .402/.540/.972 with 27 walks to 24 strikeouts.

No, that’s not his OPS. Bishop is really slugging .972 on the season as he also has nine doubles and two triples. He’s also 10-for-14 in stolen base attempts and has plus-speed to play center field. The reason Bishop is coming out of nowhere was last year’s performance as he hit .250/.352/.407 with just five home runs and striking out 30.8% of the time.

Last night against USC, Bishop was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts which has been par for the course this season when watching any prospect. Displayed good range in center defensively, good speed on the basepath’s but got thrown out at third base on a steal attempt, and a quick bat. Which matches the highlights I’ve seen from Bishop this season.

Next week, the Sox Machine Top 10 MLB Draft Prospect list will be updated and Bishop will be on that board. With how good the Pac-12 is in baseball this season, Bishop is hitting .324/.510/.811 with nine extra-base hits in 10 games in conference and plays a premium position. Just like India, the issue is a short track record of success. The White Sox last year selected Madrigal over India in large part because of that limited run of success. Today, I would assume they’d take Vaughn over Bishop, but we might be talking about a preseason fourth rounder becoming a Top 5 pick again.

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at

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lil jimmy

I think the Fangraphs guys see him around 10-12 right now. He’s certainly coming on.
On a positive note, at first, I thought “players of interest” ran about 50- 55 players deep. Now it’s maybe 15 players deeper. Perhaps someone worthwhile is there at #81.


I keep getting an error message from Sox Machine- is it website or my computer?

*** Forbidden. Data submitted too often. Please wait a few minutes. ***


Oh good – it’s not just me, and it’s not just you. I just noticed it on this article, after reading through a couple of previous articles without seeing it.


Ditto. I’ve had it on other occasions, too.


Draft season has been a bummer this year. Vaughn and Abrams have taken half-steps back. Stott and Misner have had big struggles. Witt hasn’t fixed his lower half.
I agree that Bishop has had the biggest rise. But don’t see him sticking in CF, doesn’t have the arm for right, still has that pronounced hop in his swing and no wood bat track record. Going under slot doesn’t make sense with all the cash AZ has.

lil jimmy

It’s April. Early April.


Nick Madrigal struck out. Rebuild over.




Tear it all down.