With some draft picks, there is a little dancing charade where the player's camp tries to maximize their leverage. For a high school player, this means acting like you will go to college. The Orioles' top draft choice, 22nd overall pick Hunter Harvey, right-handed pitcher from a North Carolina high school, told MLB Network minutes after being drafted that he never liked school.
Tonight, the Orioles agreed to terms with Harvey, a deal that the beat writers believe to be at or near the slot value for the pick, which is $1,947,600. As is the standard, the agreement is pending a physical.
It's no surprise that the Orioles signed Harvey fairly quickly. In a conference call with Orioles media the night he was drafted, Harvey said that he's "been waiting for this moment (his) whole life, and now that it's here, (he's) not going to mess around."
Earlier on Thursday, the Orioles agreed to terms with their other two top draft choices as well. Josh Hart, the 37th overall selection as a part of the competitive balance round, signed to a deal just below the slot value for the pick. Just this week, there were reports he might be a tough sign away from a commitment to Georgia Tech, and now he's signed for $1.45 million, which is about $50,000 below slot value.
Hart is an outfielder whose skillset is optimistically in the mold of Denard Span. He was from a Georgia high school, which makes me think of Xavier Avery.
As well, the Orioles signed their second-round pick, Chance Sisco, the California high school catcher who had recently converted from shortstop. Baseball America's Jim Callis reported the signing was for $785,000. The slot value was $913,000 for the pick. Sisco is already working out with the Gulf Coast League Orioles in Sarasota.
The below slot signings give the Orioles some opportunities to sign lower-round picks to deals that they may not have otherwise. Any money over $100,000 for a pick beyond the 10th round counts against the spending pool. An extra $10,000 may not stop a player from attending college, but an extra $100,000 might.
The Orioles have now agreed to terms with all of their picks in the top ten rounds except for seventh-round pick Drew Dosch, a third baseman from Youngstown State. With a draft heavy on high school players in the top rounds, it's good they were signed quickly to maximize the amount of time they can get for instructions and in games in either the Gulf Coast League or Aberdeen.