Day one of the MLB draft was not an exercise where everyone involved was going through the motions that everyone expected ahead of time. The Orioles may have started things down a strange path with their choice of Heston Kjerstad at #2 overall, but they were hardly the only ones who went in an unexpected direction. Whether that proves to be good or bad for the franchise is a question to be answered in the future.
A reasonable reaction to the O’s having picked Kjerstad is that they must have been looking to go underslot at #2 to stockpile money for later picks. They did not immediately use that money on their next pick at #30, choosing a college player whose draft ranking would suggest he’s getting roughly that amount of slot money.
At Fangraphs, Eric Longenhagen writes that the O’s probably have an extra $2.5 million in slot money to be used today. He believes the O’s hoped to get to use the money on Pennsylvania high schooler Nick Bitsko, the player drafted at #24 by the Rays, but expects they will still find a use for the pool money in this draft class. I liked what I read about Bitsko. I hope the Orioles have a solid Plan B ready to put into place.
How to watch draft day 2
Day 2 of the draft kicks off at 5pm Eastern. There will be a live broadcast on both MLB Network and ESPN2 as they run through rounds 2-5. The action will move a lot quicker now. The draft past the first round is basically just a continually moving conference call where names are called out every minute.
Orioles picks today
The Orioles have the second choice of day 2 at #39 overall. That’s their second round pick. They will then pick at #74 for the third round, #103 for the fourth round, and #133 for the fifth round.
Pick slot values
- #39 - $1,906,800
- #74 - $844,200
- #103 - $565,600
- #133 - $422,300
If Longenhagen’s reporting is correct and the Orioles have $2.5 million they are planning to plow into some overslot picks here today, that would make me happier than I was initially last night. They could put it all in one pick and give a guy a $4.5 million or so bonus at #39, or give a guy a $3.5 million bonus at #39 and a different guy a $1.8 million bonus at #74. Or some other combination, depending on what players they like and how much those players want in order to sign rather than go/return to college.
Best available day 2 players
Different prospect writers have different lists here. The Orioles themselves are certain to have their own list that’s different than any of the others. Here are a couple that you don’t have to pay anything to read:
Fangraphs: Georgia RHP Cole Wilcox, Texas Tech RHP Clayton Beeter, Mississippi State RHP J.T. Ginn, Texas HS RHP Jared Kelley, Ohio State C Dillon Dingler
MLB Pipeline: Kelley, Wilcox, Dingler, Miami RHP Chris McMahon, Arkansas SS Casey Martin
MASN’s Roch Kubatko on names that figure to interest the Orioles with the #39 pick:
#orioles have 39th overall pick today and I keep hearing of their interest in 2 prep pitchers: Lefty Dax Fulton from Oklahoma and right-hander Jared Kelley from Texas. Fulton could have been 1st rounder if not for TJ surgery. So keep them in mind. Or don't. Just sayin' ...— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) June 11, 2020
Dax Fulton is a 6’6” lefty. He’s the #43 prospect on the MLB Pipeline ranking and #45 on Fangraphs in part because he hasn’t pitched since having Tommy John surgery last September.
Although players with TJ already in their injury history come with some risk, it seems to me there is less downside than usual to taking a TJ recovery player in the draft this year. He will not be falling behind other prospects in his draft class because they won’t be pitching much or at all in organized games either due to COVID-related disruption of the entire baseball calendar.
Choosing either Kelley or Fulton with the #39 pick would seem to be a good Plan B on paper, not that this would be any guarantee that either one of them will be a good professional prospect and eventually a good MLB player.