Good morning, Birdland!
The inaugural MLB Draft lottery took place on Tuesday night, confirming that the Orioles will have the 17th overall selection in next summer’s amateur draft. They did not move up or down from their pre-lottery placement. This new process was implemented as part of CBA negotiations last year. The idea is to cut down on tanking by removing the certainty of draft position. No longer does the worst record in the league guarantee you the top draft pick.
In fact, we saw that in action last night as the draft order was shaken up a bit. The team with the worst record in the league, the Washington Nationals, will pick second. The top pick went to the Pirates, who had the third-worst record. And it was a really bad night for the Oakland Athletics, who dropped from second to sixth. The biggest jump came from the Minnesota Twins, who vaulted from 13th up to fifth overall. The full results can be seen over on MLB.com.
The benefit of having a draft pick higher than anticipated goes deeper than simply having a chance to snag a better player with your first selection. It also impacts your team’s overall signing bonus pool. Bonus money is huge at the top of the draft before quickly falling off. This can be particularly helpful in a draft that may be deep but lack high-end options. It gives teams the opportunity to spread money around, like the Orioles did in 2020.
Ideally, this lottery won’t matter for the Orioles much over the next few seasons. Teams that make the playoffs don’t take part in the lottery, and the O’s should have higher aspirations moving forward.
Mike Elias and his crew must make do with their first selection outside of the top five since he took over. The O’s will pick 17th, their lowest first-round slot since 2017, when the Dan Duquette-led warehouse took left-handed pitcher DL Hall. It remains to be seen how Hall pans out at the big league level, but there is no denying his talent. There will still be plenty of options for the Birds.
Manfred: ‘Orioles are going to be in Baltimore’; Boras says he’s been in ‘constant contact’ with Elias | Baltimore Baseball
This is, of course, obvious. Even if Baltimore is not a premier market for professional sports, it is still better than a few others that already have teams. If an organization were to pick up and move, you can think of a few that are more likely to do so than the O’s. Related to this: how about Manfred gives Baltimore an all-star game? It’s been 30 years.
Orioles Sign Nomar Mazara To Minor League Deal | MLB Trade Rumors
If you go back to Mazara’s years in Texas, this is an intriguing move. He had 19+ home runs in four consecutive seasons as a slugger in his early 20’s. But he just never developed beyond that and has since regressed. As a minor league signing, this is fine. Depth with major league experience is a good idea.
Orioles’ pursuit of left-handed bats leaves Kyle Stowers, Terrin Vavra with uncertain roles | The Baltimore Sun
Based on how the Orioles used Stowers and Vavra last season, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that Elias isn’t penciling them into Opening Day roles just yet. And to be fair, it’s not as if either one was a cant-miss prospect coming up. If this team is going to make a playoff push, they can’t have rookies (or lightly experienced) players at every position. There is a scenario where Stowers becomes the everyday left fielder, but it also makes sense for the Orioles to check in on other possibilities as well.
Rule 5 draft next up at Winter Meetings | Roch Kubatko
The Rule 5 draft is today at 5 p.m. The O’s pick 17th, and Elias has said this week that he is unsure if the team will use their selection. As a reminder, a player picked will need to stick on the big league roster all season long. That’s tough to do for a team looking to make the postseason. What may be more concerning is that the Orioles could lose a few players, something that has become more common as the overall talent in the organization has improved.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Rich Coggins turns 72. The outfielder spent parts of three seasons with the Orioles from 1972 through ‘74. In that time, he had a 108 OPS+ and earned some down-ballot votes for Rookie of the Year in 1973.
- The late Hal Smith (b. 1930, d. 2020) was born on this day. His time with the O’s came from 1955-56 as the team’s catcher. He was traded to the Kansas City Athletics in August of 1956 for Joe Ginsberg
This day in history
1977 - The Orioles trade pitchers Rudy May, Randy Miller, and Bryn Smith to the Expos for pitcher Don Stanhouse, pitcher Joe Kerrigan, and outfielder Gary Roenicke.
2001 - Free agent outfielder Brady Anderson signs a one-year contract with Cleveland, leaving the O’s, the team he had spent the previous 13 seasons with.