Orioles Draft Update

With the College World Series ending last night, the Orioles are expected to get the ball rolling and start negotiations with two of their top 10 picks: South Carolina’s first baseman Christian Walker  (4th round) and right-handed pitcher Matthew Price (7) within the next day or two.

“We talked to their people before drafting them and we are under the impression we can get it done,” amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich said of the signability of Walker and Price, who lost to Arizona in the NCAA College World Series Monday night.

The club has signed 23 of its 40 draftees and  Rajisch said the emphasis now is on signing the five guys remaining in the top 10 rounds — although the club did announce the signing of 26th-rounder Lucas Herbst on Monday — and then re-evaluating the budget after that in determining who to sign from the lower rounds.

Top two picks right-handed pitchers Kevin Gausman (out of Louisiana State University) and University of Virginia’s Branden Kline both remain unsigned, and although negotiations have started in both cases, there’s not anything to suggest a signing is on the immediate horizon.

“Nothing unusual about the way it’s progressing,” Rajsich said of talks with Gausman and Kline’s agents.  Asked if he anticipated something to be done before this year’s deadline –which was moved up to July 13 — Rajsich said: “I don’t know, these things are two sided propositions and both sides are going to have to come together, but we both know when the deadline is.

I wouldn’t have any guess, I really wouldn’t. It could be July 13, I don’t know.”

The Orioles are still optimistic they will sign their top 10 guys, a group that still includes Gausman, Kline, Walker, Price and fifth-rounder Colin Poche, a high school lefty from Texas. The club is also currently still scouting and evaluating some of their lower-round high school picks, getting another look at a handful of guys –playing in summer leagues — to determine which direction they want to go.

The O’s top three signees all agreed on the slot bonuses: third-rounder Adrian Marin ( $481,100) , sixth-rounder Lex Rutledge ($196,200) and eighth-rounder Torsten Boss ($139,500) with ninth and 10th picks Brady Wager and Joel Hutter signing for less than slot, giving the organization some leverage with their remaining top guys. The Orioles have spent $951,800 of an allotted $6,826,900 of bonus pool money.

To recap, under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club’s selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team’s selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

For the Orioles’ top 10 rounds chart, click here.

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