This year’s draft picks got $228 million in combined bonuses

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Note: I’ve corrected some figures that were initially listed wrongly.

Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that the 2011 draft class received a grand total of $228 million in signing bonuses, with their total guaranteed money rising to $236 million once major-league contracts are factored in.

That represents a 16 percent increase over last season, when the 2010 draft class combined for a then-record $196 million in signing bonuses and $202 million in total guaranteed money.

In other words, MLB’s attempt to suppress bonuses by bullying teams into following their “slot” recommendations hasn’t exactly gone as planned. Teams spent $132 million for players signed on the August 15 deadline day alone.

And while $228 million for a bunch of high school and college players sounds like an insane amount of money–and it certainly is, on a player-by-player basis–collectively the draft class will ultimately provide far more value than that to teams during their cost-controlled, pre-free agency seasons. And it would have been $231 million had Tyler Beede not turned down the Blue Jays for Vanderbilt.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.