Elias on Orioles' 1st-round draft pick, pitching, underslotting; Minor league injury update - BaltimoreBaseball.com

2021 MLB Draft

Elias on Orioles’ 1st-round draft pick, pitching, underslotting; Minor league injury update

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias is narrowing his list of candidates for the team’s first pick in the Major League Baseball draft, which begins Sunday. The Orioles have the fifth pick.

“We’re getting close,” Elias said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen ahead of us. I imagine I could take a guess, but you just never know. I think we came into this with 12 players under serious discussion. We’ve definitely narrowed that down. It’s sort of a tradition, and the way these things go that you don’t really decide until you pick.”

The Orioles picked first in 2019, Elias’ first year, and second in 2020.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” Elias said. “It’s a high-stakes game. We look historically at the picks. The way baseball works, you don’t often do very well. If you do get the right one, it could be aircraft carrier for your franchise for six, seven, 10 years.

“It’s not easy to do. The odds are against you. The possibility is there.”

The Orioles have not selected a pitcher before the fifth round in Elias’ first two drafts. In the previous three drafts, the Orioles drafted Cody Sedlock, DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez with the first pick.

“We definitely have candidates for five this year that are pitchers in our narrowed down group,” Elias said. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to take them. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be there. It’s a complicated thing. There’s a lot of injury risk along the way, It’s not easy to project from the amateur level all the way to the major league level.

“You look at the aces around the major leagues, and they tend to be early first-round picks, so you’re mindful of that. We want as much pitching as possible, I think the organization did a great job in the 2017 and 2018 drafts with first-round picks, those high school players, but they’re not here, either.

“We’ve already had some injury bumps there, and that’s just the nature of pitching. Those guys are doing really well, and that’s exciting and we’re brought in a lot of good pitchers in trades, Kyle Bradish, Kevin Smith, those kind of guys are doing well. We’re going to need as many of those kind of guys as possible just because the nature of pitching.”


Elias said the Orioles aren’t committed to taking a pitcher first just because they haven’t done it since 2018,

”We’re not going to force the amateur draft if the draft doesn’t give it to us,” he said.

Elias said that there are four high school shortstops the team is looking at, too.

“It’s a talented group,” he said. “There are pros and cons to all of them. There’s risk/reward to all of them, but any time you have four of them in the same draft class, and all should go in the top 10 picks, that’s pretty rare.”

Elias has employed underslotting in the past, paying less to top picks and more to later picks.

“You have a finite amount of money that your team is allowed to spend in the draft,” he said. “It’s not like you can put the money back in your pocket if you don’t give it all to your first pick. You give it to later picks or you underpay later picks and overpay a higher pick. You’re just trying to get the most value out of your entire draft class as possible.

“I think a big part of being successful at that is being a little cagey about what our strategy is, exactly, and keeping the agents and the industry on their toes. We have demonstrated here and in Houston that at times, pursuing that strategy and at times not. We don’t know what we’re going to do right now, but even if we did, it wouldn’t be something to talk about.

“It’s something we do when it makes sense for the pick. That may or may not be the case this year.”

Minor league injury ipdate: Bowie left-handed pitcher DL Hall’s left elbow is improving, and he’ll resume throwing in about two weeks, according to Elias. “It’s not something we want to rush along,” Elias said. Hall should be able to pitch again this season. … Baysox infielder Joey Ortiz will have surgery for a torn labrum. Elias thinks he’ll be ready for spring training. … Bowie infielder Terrin Vavra, who’s out because of back soreness, should be back by mid-August. … Delmarva infielder Anthony Servideo should be playing in rehab games next week in Sarasota and should return to the Shorebirds a week after that. … Right-hander pitcher Carter Baumler, who was the Orioles’ fifth-round draft choice last year, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and should be ready for spring training. … Infielder Richie Martin, who’s on the 60-day injured list because of a broken left wrist, began his hitting progression on Frida, and should come off the injured list at the end of this month or the beginning of August.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    July 9, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Get he wants to keep it hush, hush, but cannot stand when people refer to past places they’ve worked by name, I don’t want to hear about Houston, they also cheated, are you going to embrace that as well?…pitching with the 5th pick, two thumbs up…go O’s…

    • Hallbe62

      July 9, 2021 at 8:52 pm

      Concur……PITCHING with the 5th pick. Pay what it takes

  2. OhMy!

    July 9, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Heeeeeeeeeey! CP, let’s dial up John Means and ask him how he likes pitching to a reaaaaaaallll MLB catcher while giving up 4 runs and 2 homers at AA Bowie through 2 IP. Come on CP, let’s do this!!!!

    • CalsPals

      July 9, 2021 at 7:17 pm

      You realize your making fun of two of the most popular O’s there are today, don’t you Richard, just think you’re embarrassing real O’s fans with the crap you say & changing your name like you do a baby’s diaper, all the time…again, I’m so glad I could make you smile, my goal for the day…go O’s…

      • WorldlyView

        July 9, 2021 at 10:41 pm

        You do realize, don’t you, that you, BRR, and dlg have given your troll a triple dose of pleasure by responding to him?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 9, 2021 at 7:22 pm


    • dlgruber1

      July 9, 2021 at 9:12 pm

      OhMy!, I gotta ask, are you glad he gave up 2 HRs and 4 runs? Let me try to explain something to you. ALL of us, yourself included I believe, are true O’s fans. Yeh, many of us differ on who belongs on the team and who doesn’t, the approach that ownership, GM and Hyde have taken and other issues but we ALL want them to be successful.
      It seems to me the happiest you’ve sounded on this site was when AR struggled at the start of the year at Bowie. You almost gleefully noted his low BA then. I haven’t heard you say much about him since. I get it, you like Severino, and that’s fine. It’s just my opinion, and that of many others I believe, that he’s ready now to step in and take over. It doesn’t mean we hate Severino, we just think AR is probably better.
      As for Urias, it was my opinion that he didn’t belong on the team. He’s proven me wrong lately with his hitting and overall play. Here’s what you might not believe. I’m glad he’s proven me wrong. None of this is personal, to me at least.

  3. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    I wasn’t expecting any “trade” secrets from Mike Elias and I’m glad he didn’t divulge any also. It’s not a GM’s job to tell this to the public beforehand and lose any leverage he will need to do his job.
    Elias job with Houston was the draft and specifically finding good young players and maximizing the draft pool for each draft he was there. And he was also in on finding the overseas players as well and maximizing their pool for them as well. He was not responsible in any way for the major league team’s dugout and specifically – “garbage time baseball”. That job goes to the manager and GM for letting that happen. And they paid a huge price for that as well.
    Now all that being said on job definitions and who was responsible, I’m still holding out for high school phenom – pitcherJackson Jobe still available at 5. Hopefully he’ll take the slot money straight up and the Orioles find later talent at a bargain if needed. I know the Orioles wanted pitcher Nick Bitsko who was drafted 24th by the Ray’s to fall to them at number 30 last year and was part of the Heston Kjerstad pick at number 2 but SS Jordan Westburg, Anthony Servideo, 3B Coby Mayo and pitcher Carter Baumler were all excellent picks as well. So the overall draft pool was excellent. I’d rather have that then overpaying/overslotting for 1 player and the rest of the draft picking mediocre players to make up for it! That makes no sense at all!

    • Buzz1979

      July 9, 2021 at 9:23 pm

      Something tells me the Kjerstad situation is a lot more serious than they are letting on!

      • Jersery O

        July 10, 2021 at 8:37 pm

        He’s not gonna be playing baseball.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      July 10, 2021 at 8:52 am

      Some very informed and experienced people are saying strong things about Jobe…

      The Orioles need pitching.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 10, 2021 at 10:43 am

        You’re absolutely correct BC! Getting real good pitching and developing it is the key to any great pitching staff! Jackson Jobe was/is also a shortstop so you know he has a great arm. I read some reports that he probably won’t be a two way player like Shohei Ohtani though, but that’s ok. As long as he and Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall and Mike Baumann makeup 4 – 5ths of the starting rotation the Orioles will be a force for years to come!
        Just hope he doesn’t want way more than the slot the Orioles have for 5. This could prove costly with the pool $$$ for the rest of their draft. With him being a high school pitcher he could use this as leverage with the Orioles – pay me or I go to college! Hope he’s not saying any of this in private talks with Mike Elias. This is where GM’s find out about players makeup and signability. Because it’s not just who you pick! It’s also who you can you sign and how many can you sign from your draft class with the slotted $$$ your allowed!
        And I don’t get just 2 1/2 weeks to sign all your draft class. They moved the draft back during the season to align with the All Star game but only giving teams 2 plus weeks to sign guys isn’t a lot of time! I believe teams used to have a month or so as the deadline.

      • Jersery O

        July 10, 2021 at 8:39 pm

        I’m in on Jobe, Henry Davis, and Leiter. Leiter will not make it to 5. Davis probably won’t either.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 9, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    Nice article tonite Rich but ….

    Did Joy run low on film or something? What’s up with this article’s photo? All that’s missing is a shot of Kilroy sitting between Sig and Elias.

    Just joking Rich … I’m sorry … I can’t help myself.

  5. CalsPals

    July 9, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Tate looks like he has most of season since returning from the dL, Lopez haircut didn’t really help him any…sighhh…go O’s…

  6. Buzz1979

    July 9, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    What little trade value Sulser had is being flushed down the crapper!

  7. Buzz1979

    July 9, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Absolutely no reason for Valdez to still be on the team!

    • Jersery O

      July 10, 2021 at 8:43 pm

      That can be said for probably half the MLB team.

  8. CalbuytheOs

    July 9, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    Do the O’s lead the league in wild pitches?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 9, 2021 at 10:26 pm

      Yes … AND passed balls. (actually I have no idea) But it seems that way doesn’t it?

  9. Massmonster

    July 9, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    it’s almost Twilight zonish every game Os’starter. 4 or 4+ – innings.At this point Christ no matter how many runs make starters pitch 6 innings they couldn’t do any worse than this awful bullpen.! It’s. mind numbing.

  10. dlgruber1

    July 10, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Is this rebuild cursed? Did Baltimore do something that the baseball Gods are now bringing justice down onto them? First there was the pandemic which of course lost an entire season for the minors now it’s looking more and more like there’s gonna be a work stoppage next year. The #1 pick from last season still can’t play baseball. On a team pinching pennies the guy making about a third of the total team salary is missing the whole season. I mean, what else can happen? I’m afraid to ask. What wretched curse is this?

    • Baltimore Castaway

      July 10, 2021 at 2:00 pm


      As much as this pains me, there is going to be more of the poor play such as last night in front of us.

      There is a gap between the collection of future talent and where things stand at this time. It’s probably not going to turn until later next season..

      As for curses, it does feel like that, but I would say it’s more a result of just how poorly-run this team was for the last 5+ years–and for that we have Mr. Angelos to thank..

    • WorldlyView

      July 10, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      dlg, It’s the Sports gods reigning terror on Baltimore. Recall that our beloved Colts disappeared in the middle of the night. They are at it again–different sport. Why the spirits are doing this, I don’t know. Maybe Rich can address this in a future column.
      bc, Which Mr. Angelos are you criticizing? Seems to me that there are at least three Angeloses to blame for the sorry state of the O’s (note: father & sons should be excused to the extent that mortals are powerless to neutralize the vengeful sports gods).

    • dlgruber1

      July 10, 2021 at 8:08 pm

      WV, I will NEVER forget that cold March night. I tell people only half kiddingly that I could’ve been diagnosed as clinically depressed for 6 months after they left town. I not only had been a season ticket holder since 1971 but I personally knew head coach Frank Kush as my uncle had played for him at ASU. I golfed with him, had lunch with him on multiple occasions and then, poof, they’re gone.

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