Mike Elias says Orioles are considering five players for the No. 2 pick - BaltimoreBaseball.com

2020 MLB Draft

Mike Elias says Orioles are considering five players for the No. 2 pick

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

General manager Mike Elias said that the Orioles’ preparation for the two-day Major League Baseball draft that begins on Wednesday is “near complete.”

The Orioles have six picks in the draft, and they choose second for the first time in club history. Elias said the team is considering five players.

“A lot of our attention has been directed debating the candidates for the No. 2 pick,” Elias said in a Monday video conference call.

“We also have a tremendous opportunity given that we have pick number 30 and also pick 39 to really impact our organization and our farm system.”

Elias said that the draft, which begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, is a good one but, with five rounds instead of 40, it’s bound to be different.

“The abrupt end of the baseball season this spring has definitely made the scouting process different,” Elias said. “I think it will affect the nature of the draft a little bit.

“We have not made up our mind about our top two players on the board. We have choices that we like, and we’re trying to pick between players that we like, and that’s a good thing, and the most important thing, but we have not made a decision as to how we’re going to finalize that grouping, and we may not until the day of the draft.

“We’re still actively discussing five players for that pick. I think there are some more likely than others at this point. We are keeping alive five possibilities at this point in time.”

Among the players the Orioles are considering are Vanderbilt third baseman/outfielder Austin Martin, New Mexico State middle infielder Nick Gonzales, Florida high school outfielder Zac Veen, Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad, Texas A&M left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy and Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock.

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Veen and Kjerstad are lower on many mock drafts than the others, and there’s some thought that the Orioles could try to pay their choice less than the $7,789,900 slotted for the draft’s second pick. They could use that money to pay for players selected later in the draft.

“I think the short draft will constrain your ability to spread bonus pool money around,” Elias said. “Or at least the opportunity to do so. If a team does sign their first pick for less than slot, they’re going to be under more pressure to apply that savings in the first few rounds whereas in a normal draft, you could sign one player with all of that money with an early pick. You can kind of spread it out through the rest of the draft.”

The Orioles’ draft pool is $13,894,300, highest among all teams, but it’s lower because of fewer rounds.

“We feel it’s important that if you’re taking a guy with a high pick that he’s your favorite guy,” Elias said.

“We’re focusing on taking the guy that we feel is the best player for us, the best investment. We’ll listen to or consider signability factors, but it’s important that we maximize our draft class and getting that first pick right is the most important part of that.”

Though Elias didn’t mention Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson by name, he indicated that by reading mock drafts, there’s a near unanimity that Detroit will select him first.

Elias said the draft preparation has gone smoothly, and he saluted the Orioles’ analytics team in helping with technology.

“I think it has been a little more tiring for all of us to conduct these meetings over the phone and over video,” Elias said. “Usually, a draft room is a really energetic, fun experience. We’re not getting that this year, which is a shame, but it hasn’t stopped us from being productive at all.”

One of the first questions after a draft and signing is the organization’s plans for the players. With no minor leagues playing, Elias isn’t sure what will happen.

“That’s a little weird, like everything is this year,” Elias said. “It’s certainly not ideal. As we get more concrete information from major and minor league baseball about what their respective seasons are going to look like, how they’re going to be structured, what their roster rules may be, we will consider opportunities to get a player or players from this draft professional competition in our environment if those opportunities present themselves.

“We don’t know yet. I really hope so. I really hope that we can get, not only these draft picks, but our minor leaguers out doing something at some point. We’re all waiting with a lot of anxiousness for that opportunity to present itself.”

Elias is optimistic that there will be a major league season in 2020.

“I think we’re going to play,” Elias said. “I don’t know what the length and structure of the season is going to be. That’s really hard to predict right now with the discussions that are ongoing, but I’m very confident that we’re going to play.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Bman

    June 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Let’s playball! Sounds like they’re not going with a pitcher at #2, so we can cross off Lacy and Hancock. Probably looking at Martin, Veen, or Gonzalez.I doubt Torkelson falls to #2 either. It’s prob going to be Martin, with outside chance Veen.

  2. OriolesNumber1Fan

    June 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Sounds to me that Mike Elias still is undecided on 5 players. Whether they’re pitchers or positional players! Also he stated that “We’ll listen to or consider signability factors, but it’s important that we maximize our draft class and getting that first pick right is the most important part of that.” So, hopefully they decide on someone who they can sign with no trouble and maybe this means for the long run as well. If this is true, then hopefully they stay away from Boros client Austin Martin! This guy can hit but field issues because of his arm would not be good. I heard thru the grapevine that Veen would sign quickly at #2 to get his career going! To get this 5 tool player would be awesome for the Orioles.

    • ClayDal

      June 8, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      If Veen signs quickly, where does he go? No minor leagues this year and even the majors are iffy. As far as Scott Boras, if Martin is picked, the slot money for the pick has already been assigned. Boras represented Matt Wieters and they got an agreement done. Strasburg and Harper also signed with the Nationals after being drafted. If Veen is the best player on the board take him. Sign ability shouldn’t be a factor

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 8, 2020 at 7:02 pm

        There’s NO minor leagues for EVERYONE!!! SO WHERE DOES EVERY DRAFT PICK GO??? No where for now!!! There will be baseball again. Just like the sun will rise and set tomorrow there will be baseball again!

        And the slot money doesn’t mean a thing if the player wants more than the slot!!! The Matt Wieters signing was with 3 minutes left in the signing period and he signed for 6 million which at the time was the most ever signed for!!! And there were others that signed for LESS MONEY than him that were picked BEFORE him!!! That’s why other teams passed on him – because of signability!!! That’s the reason why he fell to the Orioles!!! Read a book!!!

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 8, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      OriolesNo1, Scott Boras also represents DJ Stewart and DL Hall, who were the teams’ top picks in 2015 and 2017.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 8, 2020 at 7:24 pm

        DJ Stewart was the 25th player picked in the first round. Far cry from the 2nd pick. And for your reading pleasure: Hall was not a player who had been expected to fall to the Orioles in pre-draft speculation. ESPN’s Keith Law considered Hall to be the eighth best prospect in the whole draft class. MLB Pipeline rated him 14th. A great value to get at #21 wouldn’t you say. He fell to the Orioles due to teams fear of signability. And he signed for 3 million which was over the slot which was approx. 2.8 million.

    • ClayDal

      June 8, 2020 at 7:19 pm

      It makes no difference if Veen signs 5 minutes after signing or Martin signs 5 minutes before the August 1 deadline. Neither one will start until next spring at the earliest. Wieters fell to the Orioles as the 5th pick due to signabilty issues. However, there is now a slotting system in place to prevent certain teams ( Yankees ) from going over slot. There were no issues with Rutschman last year and doubt there will be any issues with whoever the Orioles draft this year. Hardly the biggest fan of Boras, but he is effective in his job. And from all indications, he has never been accused of unethical practices as an agent even by management who have to negotiate with him. Can’t say that about all agents. And as for reading books, waiting for the public library to reopen so I can return the books I just finished on Charles DeGaulle and John Quincy Adams. I will be sure to check out a book on Matt Wieters if I find one

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 8, 2020 at 7:46 pm

        The slotting system in place is basically used for a guide. You can sign guys OVER THE SLOT FOR WHATEVER PICK YOU WANT TO!!! This happens all the time!!! But if you do go over the slot for one pick then you have to go UNDER THE SLOT FOR OTHERS YOU DRAFT BECAUSE YOU ONLY HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT of TOTAL MONEY FOR THE WHOLE DRAFT!!! And if you go way over for one pick then you have to balance that back by going way under for others. And that’s why teams will pass on a better player later because they know he won’t take under the slot value so they pick a lesser value player.

  3. dlgruber1

    June 8, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Have I missed anything? Ever since I heard MLBPA rejected owners proposal about a week ago I’ve heard nothing since. The talk was of beginning a season about July 4 with a 2-3 week spring training. Well, today is June 8th. Any word on any compromise agreement yet?

  4. CalsPals

    June 8, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    This is hysterical, it’s like watching a train wreck…go O’s….

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 8, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    You know, the saddest part of this is that I’ll be glued to the TV Wednesday night, watching the baseball draft. That’s just how starved for anything baseball I am. How pathetic is that?

    OK .. I just thought of something sadder … I won’t be alone.

    • CalsPals

      June 9, 2020 at 7:55 am

      Agree, right there with you…go O’s…

  6. OriolesNumber1Fan

    June 8, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    What’s so sad or pathetic about watching the MLB draft. True, dedicated Oriole fans should watch to see who the future champs will pick. This is their future we’re talking about here.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 9, 2020 at 7:20 am

      Geeze I dunno … it just seems to me that some people may think that sitting around the boob tube for a couple of hours waiting for a few high schoolers or college boys that won’t see the light of day for 3 to 4 years is for LOSERS.And I don’t think your life has to revolve around the team to be a true dedicated Oriole fan.

      Besides #1 … as The Joker mas ask … “Why so serious”?

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 9, 2020 at 10:17 am

        Well for multiple taskers such as myself, I don’t just sit in front of the tv for one. I’m either working for my government job or putting my time in for own private business which together takes an average 100 plus hours a week if you must know. And true, the picks aren’t with the Orioles technically but they are with the farm system which I like to check in on to see their progress. As for you part time Oriole fans “C ya wouldn’t want to be ya”.

        • OriolesNumber1Fan

          June 9, 2020 at 10:25 am

          My girlfriend is giving me her dirty look so yeah, I would be remiss that I need to spend time with her as well.

    • CalsPals

      June 9, 2020 at 7:57 am

      I’m more interested in our future than theirs, we’ll have them for a while until free agency comes around, then C-ya…sad…go O’s…

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