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O's 2020 MLB Draft Chat: Picking #2/30/39/74

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On 5/11/2020 at 10:47 PM, Sydnor said:

Kiley McDaniel has the O’s selecting Austin Martin at No. 2. He noted that Nick Gonzales is heavily rumored to be the backup option “if the prices on Martin and Torkelson are thought to be too high” (Martin and Torkelson are both represented by Boras Crop.). At pick No. 30, he has the O’s selecting Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/29154256/kiley-mcdaniel-2020-mlb-mock-draft-10

I want Austin Martin but am interested in the Gonzales + overslot at No. 30 strategy depending on who they would target at No. 30. Gonzales' numbers at the Cape make me feel better about his obviously NMSU-inflated numbers. Wonder if Elias sees any Altuve comps in another super-hitting second baseman. We don't have many middle infield prospects and he would likely be on the same timeline as Hall, Rodriguez, and Rutschman.

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A guy not discussed much here, but should be, is LHP Asa Lacy. Reading some of the articles about him, he really elevated early this season to a top-notch (and potentially ace) starter.  I figure we take Tork or Martin, but shouldn't rule Lacy out, as he is regarded as worthy of a Top 2 selection.

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Agree on quality reports on Lacy from multiple sources.  It would be a defendable choice, but also most reports have Torkelson and Martin rated higher.  I don't think Lacy would sign for more under-slot than Martin would and I don't think this FO is inclined to choose a pitcher over a hitter this early in the draft even if they were comparable.

I think it is our two picks in the 30s that will be the real difference makers in terms of how our draft plays out.  The entire HS class is a wild card which makes this draft so unpredictable.  With many teams expected to use their first round pick on the strong group of college pitchers, it will be interesting if we take one that slips or another college hitter or go HS.  Despite the risk, I would love to see us go with the best two HS hitters on the board with our two picks in the 30s.

I saw an article today that teams may ignore bonus demands and draft their preferred prospects and tell them to sign for slot or go back in the pool (which the team retaining that pick next year).  This is most likely to be the draft where teams draft talent as rated on down the line with little regard for bonus demands and less gaming or underslot signings than usual.  I would prefer the draft is more rounds, but as posted in another thread, I think this draft could play out very, very nicely for the Os. 

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I have read some stories, and seen reports, that perhaps we should go underslot at #2 and use the savings for the 30th overall pick and/or the 39th overall pick. To me, when you are picking 2nd overall (or anywhere in the top 5), you need to pick the very best player available. You cannot pass on elite talent. Certainly doing so in the hope that a top talent will fall to 30 and you will be able to go overlslot risks the loss of an elite talent for a possibility which is out of your control. This is also a draft that is supposed to be deep in pitching.

I bring all of this up because it appears that the Tigers are going to with Tork, which means Austin Martin will be available at #2. I think most would agree that the SEC has been the best conference in recent years. I think most would agree that the SEC was the best conference in the last full season (2019). In SEC games in 2019, Martin hit .424. Some players run up huge stats prior to conference play and then their numbers take a hit when conference games start. Not Martin. He destroyed SEC pitching . To compare, JJ Bleday hit .304 in SEC games in 2019 (he hit .347 overall in 2019).  Martin also walked more than he struck out and every scouting report I read talks of his elite exit velocity and control of the strike zone. Even though it appears he will not be an MLB shortstop, he is going to play CF, 3B or 2B. 

Nick Gonzales has been floated in some mocks as an underslot guy for us at #2. Perhaps he will be a solid big league player. However, he played at New Mexico State which is approximately 3,900 feet above sea level, nearly 3,000 feet higher than any non-Coors park in MLB. In addition, the competition he faced was so far below what Martin faced that it isn't even funny. I read one story that in 3 seasons he only faced two teams that were even ranked (Texas A&m and Texas Tech). 

Lacy looks like he has good stuff. Solid lefty with a consistent 92-94 MPH fastball that can hit 96 or so and a really good slider. He was great in his 4 starts before the 2020 season was shut down. However, aside from the risk of being a pitcher, he made 21 career starts at A&M, 15 of which came last year. He walked 4.36/9 in 2019.  Maybe if he had a full 2020 to prove his control and command was elite I'd feel differently, but I think there is too much risk there to pick him over Martin.

Let's not overthink it. Take Martin, add him to Rutschman, Mountcastle, Hays, DL Hall and G-Rod and continue the rebuild on the proper trajectory.

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https://pressboxonline.com/2020/05/08/mlb-pipelines-jonathan-mayo-on-orioles-options-with-no-2-pick-in-2020-mlb-draft/

Article interviewing Mayo discusses Torkelson/Martin in the beginning and then talks about Lacy and Hancock as justifiable picks.  Lacy looked to have cleaned up his command and control and appeared on his way to a big spring before the shutdown.  His trajectory could have put him on par with the two hitters if they had kept playing.

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Callis picks first round of MLB Draft.
 
I understand the desire to go for pitching, but I honestly don't care if Lacy and Hancock have the potential to be perennial Cy Young winners. They also have the potential to blow out their shoulders and elbows with every pitch. Go with position players unless the pick for an arm is a no brainer. 

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5 minutes ago, ShoelesJoe said:
 
Callis picks first round of MLB Draft.
 
I understand the desire to go for pitching, but I honestly don't care if Lacy and Hancock have the potential to be perennial Cy Young winners. They also have the potential to blow out their shoulders and elbows with every pitch. Go with position players unless the pick for an arm is a no brainer. 

Good call, I've never heard of a position player being injured.

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53 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

Good call, I've never heard of a position player being injured.

Your snark is duly noted, but the fact remains that the chances of a young pitcher getting injured is a hell of a lot higher than that of a young position player. 

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15 hours ago, calsmanystances said:

I have read some stories, and seen reports, that perhaps we should go underslot at #2 and use the savings for the 30th overall pick and/or the 39th overall pick. To me, when you are picking 2nd overall (or anywhere in the top 5), you need to pick the very best player available. You cannot pass on elite talent. Certainly doing so in the hope that a top talent will fall to 30 and you will be able to go overlslot risks the loss of an elite talent for a possibility which is out of your control. This is also a draft that is supposed to be deep in pitching.

I bring all of this up because it appears that the Tigers are going to with Tork, which means Austin Martin will be available at #2. I think most would agree that the SEC has been the best conference in recent years. I think most would agree that the SEC was the best conference in the last full season (2019). In SEC games in 2019, Martin hit .424. Some players run up huge stats prior to conference play and then their numbers take a hit when conference games start. Not Martin. He destroyed SEC pitching . To compare, JJ Bleday hit .304 in SEC games in 2019 (he hit .347 overall in 2019).  Martin also walked more than he struck out and every scouting report I read talks of his elite exit velocity and control of the strike zone. Even though it appears he will not be an MLB shortstop, he is going to play CF, 3B or 2B. 

Nick Gonzales has been floated in some mocks as an underslot guy for us at #2. Perhaps he will be a solid big league player. However, he played at New Mexico State which is approximately 3,900 feet above sea level, nearly 3,000 feet higher than any non-Coors park in MLB. In addition, the competition he faced was so far below what Martin faced that it isn't even funny. I read one story that in 3 seasons he only faced two teams that were even ranked (Texas A&m and Texas Tech). 

Lacy looks like he has good stuff. Solid lefty with a consistent 92-94 MPH fastball that can hit 96 or so and a really good slider. He was great in his 4 starts before the 2020 season was shut down. However, aside from the risk of being a pitcher, he made 21 career starts at A&M, 15 of which came last year. He walked 4.36/9 in 2019.  Maybe if he had a full 2020 to prove his control and command was elite I'd feel differently, but I think there is too much risk there to pick him over Martin.

Let's not overthink it. Take Martin, add him to Rutschman, Mountcastle, Hays, DL Hall and G-Rod and continue the rebuild on the proper trajectory.

Strong post. We feel essentially the same.

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Only way this makes sense (in how I rank them)

#2 -
Veen
Gonzales

#30 -
Hendrick
Hassell
Soderstrom (maybe)
Any of the 3 prep arms

Veen/Hendrick would be the only combo that I personally think it would be worth to forgo Martin and pick the best player at #30. I just don't think any risk you would take that your target wouldn't reach your pick at 30 is not worth the upside, and I'm a huge Veen fan. There's been some smoke that we are interested in Gonzales, but I am just not a Nick Gonzales guy, as I have said before. This of course is looking at it as though it would be an underslot deal. They could view Gonzales as truly as good as or better than Martin, and that they could save money while getting the player they want. How much money Gonzales would save vs Martin is debatable, probably between 1-2 million. 

Just go with Martin, there are going to be plenty of college arms available at 30 and 39, and you might still be able to squeeze in a prep player anyway.

 

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I think you go with the best available at both picks with this draft..  It seems obvious. Save money on rounds 3, 4, and 5 if you have to.

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Couple thoughts:

 - I have to admit the idea of taking Lacy is growing on me a bit.  This kind of high draft pick investment in a top pitching prospect would be an enormous addition to GrayRod and Hall and would provide an incredibly strong pitching foundation for our next competitive team.  It would probably be the three best pitching prospects in our minor leagues at the same time in decades.  Tillman/Matusz were once both mid-season top 15 prospects per Baseball America and they led a decent wave of arms, but there was a drop-off after those two and the next guy.  I do think our front office leans away from expensive pitching investments - at least in last year's draft.  

 - that said, I would still take Martin at this time.  He would be the fourth projected plus bat between Hays, Mountcastle and AR in a future lineup among our top hitting prospects.

 - the tweet from Shepherd is interesting only in the implication that we would need to find $ above slot for supplemental pick - the 30th over.  This pick carries recommended slot near $2.4.  It's the 30th pick in the draft.  How many HSers are turning down $2.4M because they are holding out for $3.0M-$3.5M which was slot about 10 picks earlier?  Our second round pick carries slot at $1.9M.  Same question.  

 - in order to get some perspective on how wide open the evaluations and actual drafting of the HSers will be in this draft, understand that Baseball America's JJ Cooper provided a list of the top 50 HS prospects on March 10, 2020.  The 14th listed prospect on that list is now the consensus top HS prospect - two months later - Zac Veen.

 - the draft is now officially over two days and ends the first night after the supplemental first round.  We have the second pick of the second round which takes place the next day.  I imagine there may be some "resets" on the ask of agents/players after that first day as signing bonus requests should come down among those not drafted.  There may be some "gaming" involved perhaps if teams go with cheap senior signs in one or multiple rounds to save up perhaps $3M for a second round pick by going way underslot in some or all of a team's third, fourth, and fifth rounders.  It will be interesting to see just how many underslot, senior signings there are.  

 - I have seen three mock drafts this week from Mayo/Callis, Law and a third source.  None have Bitsko going in the first round - maybe he last into the second round.  I am still looking at some other HS names, but continue to like the write-ups of players I have mentioned recently if available at 30/39 in Bitsko, Jordan Walker and Petey Halpin among HSers. 

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I am probably wrong about this, but Austin Martin reminds me of Dustin Ackley (Whats his MLB position, questions about arm strength, hopeful power develops while moving through the MiL system). Thats why I either go top College Are in either Lacy or Hancock, or try to go underslot and higher prospects at 30 and 39.

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