Elias says Orioles aren't focusing on specific position with No. 2 pick - BaltimoreBaseball.com

2020 MLB Draft

Elias says Orioles aren’t focusing on specific position with No. 2 pick

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

In the baseball draft, as in its NFL counterpart, general managers like to say that they’re looking for the best available athlete. As Wednesday’s first round approaches, Mike Elias, who’ll make the selection for the Orioles, doesn’t have a specific model of player he’s looking for with the second overall choice.

“We want to do well with the pick,” Elias said in a video conference on Monday.

“With the baseball draft, even when you’re picking high, there are no guarantees, and the odds of your pick returning almost no value are enough to consider that possibility. Even high in the draft, we don’t think too much about positional need or context like that. We’re trying to make the best investment that we can.”

Two potential choices of the Orioles, third baseman/outfielder Austin Martin of Vanderbilt and New Mexico State middle infielder Nick Gonzales, play positions of need for the Orioles.

With a team that lost 223 games in the previous two seasons, there aren’t many positions that don’t need shoring up.

“You can only pick among what the draft is offering that year,” Elias said.

In 2019, it was a weak year for pitchers, and the Orioles didn’t choose one until the eighth round. From 2016-2018, the Orioles chose 11 pitchers with their first 15 selections.

Last season, the Orioles selected catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall selection.

“There are really good players and really good talents this year, and we’re going to make a really good pick,” Elias said. “We’re treating them as individuals and comparing them one against the other.”

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The Orioles’ six draft choices — once they’re signed — and any additional undrafted players who sign contracts for no more than $20,000 won’t have minor leagues to play in because of Covid-19.

“It’s not ideal,” Elias said. “I think that every team across baseball is getting hurt by this on a number of levels. There are economic impacts and all kinds of ramifications to the sport, but if you’re a team that’s not rebuilding, your window might be closing and you may be missing out on your players maximizing their playing time during this competitive window.

“For a team that’s rebuilding like ours, the repetitions at the minor and major league level for young players is not occurring. The only consolation is that every team is in the same boat. I try to keep a glass is half-full attitude about the draft. I’m happy that we have our high picks, that we’re getting our top five rounds in.”

Elias was hoping for a longer draft.

“It’s not that we can’t add players to the system beyond the fifth round,” Elias said. “We feel like we’re good at picking late. Last year, we took a lot of good pitchers on the second day of the draft and really bolstered our system and saw that they pitched well at Aberdeen.”

He said that the Orioles expected to be aggressive in signing the undrafted free agents.

“I don’t know what that number is going to be,” Elias said. “I don’t know how these kids are going to make their decisions. Nobody knows how that’s going to go and that process won’t start until two days after the draft is over.”

Once the quiet period is over, the Orioles are ready for it, Elias believes.

“We’ve got recruiting materials prepared,” he said. “In terms of video and some written materials about the opportunity that exists in our system. We want to wait and let the draft happen first and see who gets drafted, but we’ve had relationships that we’ve been building with these kids as an amateur scouting department. The player development department is involved as well.

“We think this is a terrific place to come sign if you’re an undrafted free agent for a number of reasons. We’re on the cutting edge of player development. We have a lot of track record and success with player development. We saw a big step forward from our players last year.”

Elias said that the Orioles continue to evolve.

“This is a rebuild that’s focused on homegrown players,” he said. “The opportunity to not only get better, but actually play for the major league team and graduate to the big leagues and play for the Orioles is much greater here than it would be at a club that’s not undergoing that strategy.”

As for the difficulties the nation is facing, Elias tries to stay optimistic.

“It’s tough to watch everything that’s happening this year,” Elias said. “This is a horrible year so far. I hope that we can change the story of this year before it’s over. I hope that baseball is a big part of that, coming back.”

John Miller Dies: John Miller, who pitched for the Orioles’ 1966 World Series championship team, has died at 79.

Miller, a Baltimore native who went to Edmondson High School, was 12-14 with a 3.89 ERA in five seasons with the Orioles. He started 16 games in both 1965 and 1966.

After his baseball career, which was shortened by a shoulder injury, Miller served as a Baltimore County firefighter for 28 years.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    June 9, 2020 at 8:30 am

    We have a lot of track record with player success & development, not here you don’t…traded off anyone you could remotely say went through the Orioles way…minors look promising & yeah, better chance to make it to the majors here because, well, we’re not very good, add some ice cubes & JD to your 1/2 full glass, now it’s full…go O’s…

    • willmiranda

      June 9, 2020 at 11:20 am

      First, thanks to Rich for the tribute to John Miller. I have no special memories, but he deserves
      to be remembered, especially here. As for Cals comments, I think that Elias could convince prospects
      of their opportunity for rapid advancement by arranging a sitdown with Ryan Mountcastle. I know it spoils
      the fake drama, but it was kind of fun when the NFL allowed the first team drafting to announce its choice
      early and then having subsequent teams able to do the same in order. Admittedly, it ruined fake tension, but
      it did make you feel the teams could make up their minds and knew what they were doing. I don’t remember
      exactly, but maybe it had something to do with the AFL-NFL wars.

  2. OriolesNumber1Fan

    June 9, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    “We think this is a terrific place to come sign if you’re an undrafted free agent for a number of reasons. We’re on the cutting edge of player development. We have a lot of track record and success with player development. We saw a big step forward from our players last year.”

    Very true Mike!!! Gulf coast Orioles were 38 – 15 and first place last year. World Series canceled because of hurricane.

    Delmarva Orioles https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.delmarvanow.com/amp/2575365001 . Real nice job!!!

    Bowie Baysox won the division title last year!!!

    All off this done under his guidance in less than 2 years. Track record of success with player development of their minor leagues? I’d say so!!!

    • CalsPals

      June 9, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      Less than 2 yrs doesn’t make it a track record, I’m guessing he was trying to refer back to his Astro’s days…go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 9, 2020 at 5:06 pm

        If it was 2 years out of the 10 since he took over than yes, I would agree. But 2 out of 2, pretty impressive!!! And also not just 1 minor league team but 3.

    • CalsPals

      June 9, 2020 at 6:20 pm

      Just curious, have no idea, how many of those guys can be attributed to Elias?…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 10, 2020 at 8:05 am

      This has been done for the most part with the previous regime’s last couple of drafts.

      I’m beginning to wonder if our #1 fans isn’t in fact Mike Elias himself? If not, are you on the PR staff for the team?

      Steady big fella, the book is certainly out on Mike Elias up to this point.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 10, 2020 at 9:45 am

        I don’t care what you part time Oriole fans think because this shows you know nothing. All you know how to do is log on and criticize.
        As far as me, my girlfriend tells me I have the physic of Randy Orton from the neck down and I look like Brad Pitt from the neck up. So, I don’t look like nor am I Mike Elias.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          June 10, 2020 at 10:59 am

          Am I detecting a sense of humor here?

          BTW .. have you seen Randy Orton lately? You may wish to look like Brad Pitt from the neck down as well!

        • WorldlyView

          June 10, 2020 at 2:50 pm

          Who is Randy Orton?

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            June 10, 2020 at 6:09 pm

            Old wrestler …. I’m ashamed to admit that I know that.

    • CalsPals

      June 10, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      Sense of something, I asked honest questions, wasn’t a smart a$$, thought a majority of the teams members were probably from the previous regime, thus, Elias has no track record here, saying he does is kinda like saying Barry Switzer was a great super bowl coach when he road Jimmy Johnson’s coat tails & won w/his guys…oh well… go O’s…

      • WorldlyView

        June 10, 2020 at 2:54 pm

        I will not pass judgment on Elias until 2023–assuming I can still read a computer screen. In the meantime, the floor is yours…

  3. WorldlyView

    June 9, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    For those of you anxiously awaiting my instant evaluations of the O’s top draft picks, be advised that I will not be making preliminary judgments until the fall of 2025 (if I’m still around and coherent). The draftees will have reasonable track records by then. In the meantime, the floor is yours…

    • CalsPals

      June 10, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Noted, thx for the heads up…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 10, 2020 at 8:06 am

      I’ll past judgement approx. 9:00 PM Wednesday night. Track records crack records.

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