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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

What to know before making the Orioles first overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft

For someone who has been involved in this position as many times in baseball, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias isn’t a huge fan.

“It’s one heck of a thing to pick it up 1-1,” Elias said last week. “I really don’t like doing that.”

Being the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft, as the Orioles did on Sunday, is meant to be the league’s worst record last season — though it will be released in 2023 as part of a lottery system under the new collective bargaining agreement. will change into The Orioles technically tied the Arizona Diamondbacks with the Major’s worst record at 52-110 in 2021, but received the top choice as they had a poor record in 2019. (Clubs matched a 25–35 record during the short 2020 season.)

There is also an element of pressure in that space on both the team and the player. Elias is certainly familiar with this.

He was in the amateur scouting department of the Houston Astros’ front office when he made three straight No. 1 selections from 2012 to 2014, and when he became Baltimore’s GM in November 2018, he inherited the 2019 top pick from Joe catcher Adley Ratsman. Became. This year’s first overall pick is the ninth top-five draft choice Alias ​​has added in 11 years of the modern draft system.

Before the Elias and Orioles open the league’s 20-round draft, here’s what you need to know.

It is not clear who they will choose first overall.

Elias and director of draft operations Brad Siolek said the Orioles enter draft day with five players. He did not specify who those players are, but most public rankings of group draft prospects are believed to have the same quintet: Georgia high school outfielder Drew Jones, Florida high school infielder Termar Johnson, Oklahoma high school infielder Jackson Holiday, Florida High school outfielders Elijah Green and Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee.

Jones and Holiday are the sons of former MLB All-Stars Andrew Jones and Matt Holiday, while Greene’s father, Eric Greene, spent a decade in the NFL, including three years with the Ravens. Jones is considered the top prospect in the class, ranking first in most public rankings, but among many betting sites, Lee is considered the favorite to move to Baltimore. All of Elias’ first-round selections with the Orioles have been college-status players.

“We don’t expect that there will be broad consensus in every corner of the organization as to who to take… but we will have someone that everyone will be happy with,” Elias said. “I think there’s enough consensus about how good these players are that I can’t imagine there would be too much annoyance about it in our scouting department or in our analytics department or whenever we choose to.”

The Orioles have done makeup work on the various players available throughout the draft in recent days, talking to coaches, teammates, teachers and others in their lives, while also gaining insights from the club’s scouting and analytics departments. are. From there, it’s about ordering their draft board.

“The one thing that stands out is the depth of the talent at the top of the class,” Siolek said. “It reminds me a lot of the 2019 class with Adley Ratsman and Bobby Witt, Andrew Vaughn, Riley Greene, a lot of guys who are showing their talents at the major league level right now, so it’s definitely a good year to pick is top of the draft class.”

Their bonus pool is the second largest pool in history.

The only team to have nearly $17 . Has a larger signing bonus pool than The million allocation this year was the 2015 Astros, who had two of the first five picks. Elias was Houston’s amateur scouting director.

Baltimore has the first pick in each round, as well as the competitive balance picks 33rd and 67th. Overall, the latter was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins. The Orioles have five of the first 81 selections.

Each pick is assigned a slot value in the first 10 rounds of the draft, with each team’s pool representing the combined total of those figures. Teams are able to award draft bonuses above or below their respective slot values, as long as the total amount does not exceed their pool. The only penalty for going less than 5% above the pool is a higher tax, while anything higher than that signals a lost draft. Any bonus over $125,000 awarded to a player after the 10th round also counts in the pool.

This year’s No. 1 pick has a slot value of $8.842 million.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” Elias said. “It’s a huge financial commitment. We have a lot of potential because of the options we have and the finances and the way the system works with overage tax.”

Each of the Orioles’ previous three first rounds under Elias – Ratschmann first overall in 2019, outfielder Heston Kjerstad second overall in 2020 and outfielder Kolten Kauser fifth overall in 2021 – were signed below their slot value, with the Orioles being those Able to direct people. Savings for the later-picked talented players, who might have otherwise found it difficult to sign. Taking Kjerstad and signing him for more than $2.5 million below the slot price allowed the Orioles to draft and sign high school prospects Kobe Mayo and Carter Bomler in the fourth and fifth rounds; Baseball America ranked the pair as Baltimore’s fifth- and 19th-best prospects.

Nevertheless, that execution has raised suspicions that the Orioles will not take the player out as the best available, but instead the one with whom they can get the best deal. Elias did not necessarily deny the belief that the club would “strive to extract the maximum possible value from this entire draft” keeping in mind the club.

But it also requires getting the player they saw as the best option with their first pick.

“We take the player we want to take and we want to start our draft and we think the draft is going to maximize class,” Elias said. “Be assured that we are going to any higher pickup with the goal of maximizing the output of that pickup.”

His pitcher trend won’t end, but his high school may be one.

As you may have noticed, considering a group of five players, the Orioles will not be taking a pitcher first overall.

Several top weapons in this draft class have suffered injuries in recent months, hampering their stock, but that doesn’t mean Baltimore won’t target them with the likes of others. The Orioles have not drafted a pitcher before the fifth round under Elias, taking on Bommler in 2020 and Carlos Tavera in 2021.

“We are very cognizant of the fact that we haven’t invested much draft capital in pitching, and I think that’s reflected in our prospect list when you look at it,” Elias said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to try to get good pitchers who will pitch for the major league Baltimore Orioles.”

“There are innumerable ways to get those pitchers,” he said. Given their stockpile of players of youth status, it would not be surprising that the Orioles eventually trade a handful of them in to supplement their pitching staff.

Baltimore has built up that group of young hitters, despite not taking a high school position player with their first pick since placing star infielder Manny Machado in third place in 2010. Under this front office, priority is given to college bats, which offer less risk and more available information than them. High school equivalent.

“One thing we always harp on, and it’s becoming more prevalent now with high school players, there wasn’t as much data in the beginning, I would say three or four years ago, as it is now,” Siolek said. . “For us to feel really confident about a high school player, there has to be more or less some ‘now’ tool that we can sink our teeth into — there has to be production — and there must be things that we’re some of them. can help improve the extent, so to speak.”

He thinks the high school hitters he produced early, Gunnar Henderson and Darrell Hernaz in 2019 and Kobe Mayo in 2020, match that description. By Sunday night, we’ll know if they even consider Jones, Johnson, Holiday, or Green.

Lee, along with down-the-board options such as LSU infielder Jacob Berry and Chipola College infielder Cam Collier, will represent the Orioles’ fourth straight first-round selection dedicated to a college position player. Collier, a 17-year-old who earned his GED two years ago, joins Bryce Harper as the only junior college player to place first overall.

2022 MLB Draft

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Round 1-2: Sunday, 7 p.m.

Rounds 3-10: Monday, 2 p.m.

Round 11-20: Tuesday, 2 p.m.

TV/Stream: ESPN, MLB Network, MLB.com

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World Nation News Desk
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