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2020 1st round pick (2): Heston Kjerstad - OF - (Junior) (Arkansas)

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2 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

Unless Tork somehow can play third.  Ain't holding my breath on that one.

Yes, that would certainly change things significantly. 

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10 minutes ago, LTO's said:

Wilcox and Kelly are still available to sign. And what Elias said could be posturing, you never know. I'm not going to complain about anything until I see the final haul.

Right. And just wading into the mix here.... I know it's difficult because we have nothing else to talk about (unless we want to dwell on the slow motion train wreck that is the dwindling prospects for a 2020 season due to yet another labor dispute), but some of the knee jerk stuff at this juncture is absolutely ludicrous. Projections for the baseball draft have always been wrought with uncertainty, especially compared with the NFL and the NBA where players go right into the bigs. And this year is even worse. For a publication to declare "Day One Losers" in an environment such as this one, in a draft such as baseball's (where there is so much opportunity to allocate money creatively across rounds) is really kind of silly.

Just let the process play out and try not to freak out. I, too, would've preferred we draft Martin but I (like I'm sure countless others on here) have not watched more than a few highlight clips of these guys. Most of us have absolutely no business pretending we can comment intelligently on the relative merits of one of these top prospects vs. another.

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17 minutes ago, LTO's said:

Wilcox and Kelly are still available to sign. And what Elias said could be posturing, you never know. I'm not going to complain about anything until I see the final haul.

Yep, which is why it's somewhat interesting when they write, "they decided not to take the tough-to-sign Jared Kelley." One of those options will clearly be available at #39.

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5 minutes ago, ReclaimTheCrown said:

Right. And just wading into the mix here.... I know it's difficult because we have nothing else to talk about (unless we want to dwell on the slow motion train wreck that is the dwindling prospects for a 2020 season due to yet another labor dispute), but some of the knee jerk stuff at this juncture is absolutely ludicrous. Projections for the baseball draft have always been wrought with uncertainty, especially compared with the NFL and the NBA where players go right into the bigs. And this year is even worse. For a publication to declare "Day One Losers" in an environment such as this one, in a draft such as baseball's (where there is so much opportunity to allocate money creatively across rounds) is really kind of silly.

Just let the process play out and try not to freak out. I, too, would've preferred we draft Martin but I (like I'm sure countless others on here) have not watched more than a few highlight clips of these guys. Most of us have absolutely no business pretending we can comment intelligently on the relative merits of one of these top prospects vs. another.

Here's the Fangraphs post-Day 1 write-up:

Quote

 

We should all wait until the end of the draft before levying an opinion on Baltimore drafting Kjerstad at two, presumably to sign him to an under slot bonus so they can do more damage on Day 2. He’s the right player with whom to execute such a maneuver, in my opinion, just as Kyle Schwarber was the right guy to do it with in 2014. I had Kjerstad in the 50 FV tier (Tork is in a tier on his own as a 55 FV, then have Lacy, Hancock, Kjerstad etc. as 50s) and he was likely to be the last of the 50s drafted. Taking $5 million or so (I don’t know the exact number but that’s what other clubs have speculated to me) is about $2.8 million below the slot at two, but it’s more than Kjerstad would have gotten for slot from pick nine on, which is where he was likely to go. He rakes, he performed against SEC pitching, and he doesn’t have the injury risk the pitchers do. It makes sense.

My sources with other teams thought Baltimore was trying to float Nick Bitsko to their second pick, 30th overall, for something close to $3.5 million. The Rays were a speed bump. The Orioles took Jordan Westburg instead. He’s one of the many very stable, up-the-middle college hitters who performed at a big conference his entire career. Baltimore will probably flex what I think is an extra $2.5 million in pool space today.

 

 

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105.7 just interviewed the Arkansas baseball radio announcer. He talked up the type of kid Kjerstad is. Said he probably returned everyone’s text last night, including his. Said all the right things about him. Great family etc. He talked up how good the pitching is in the SEC, this guy was also a AA announcer for Angels farm club and compared how good the SEC arms are to that. Kjerstad is youngest of 4 kids and had an older brother play in college  .

Sounds like he has great intangibles. Of course now we just have to see how it hits. 

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1 hour ago, Philip said:

Yes that’s correct. My point was getting a “strong middle of the order bat” when we already have one, but we have so many other needs.

I am not arguing the pick, because I haven’t been following and haven’t an opinion either way. But it seems as if we drafted something we already have, and could have drafted something we need more.

Oh, we definitely need more than 1 middle of the order bat to compete.  At least 2 - probably more.  

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1 hour ago, tntoriole said:

I tend to agree with you...but, of course, the Common Wisdom drumbeat has already started....”losers of Day 1, etc.”

Losers

Baltimore Orioles

Going under slot is always risky, but it paid tremendous dividends for Orioles general manager Mike Elias when he was with the Houston Astros, so you can't blame him. Except ... maybe you can.

Instead of taking the best player available at No. 2 in Martin, the club got creative and selected Heston Kjerstad. That's not necessarily bad, so long as those signing-bonus savings are used elsewhere later in the draft. But when the O's were on the clock at No. 30, they decided not to take the tough-to-sign Jared Kelley and picked shortstop Jordan Westburg instead.

By Elias' own admission, the club was looking to select a pitcher, but some of the Orioles' top targets didn't make it to them, according to Joe Trezza of MLB.com. That's not a great look.

https://www.thescore.com/mlb/news/1976703

 

 

Well, they can take Kelley today if they want him, presuming the Tigers don't.

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24 minutes ago, Morgan423 said:

Well, they can take Kelley today if they want him, presuming the Tigers don't.

Don't think the Tigers would. I assume Tork is going full slot, and it would be quite risky to take a presumably overslot guy with pick 2-1 since there's no sandwich compensation if you don't get a deal done

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What a horrible horrible draft so far! So typical for this loser front office. I've been calling for Elias' firing since his first year! He's nothing but a toady for the grossly cheap Angelos brothers who take after their father in every way. And now he's got the stench of being with the despicable Astros organization hanging all over him. That works against him now!

Lordy, lordy, lordy I don't know how you guys can be so patient with this mess of an organization, and still make excuses for Elias, who's still shopping for pitchers at the local Walmart! On top of that he hired a no doubt cheap, and grossly inexperienced manager to turn things around. Then he passes up the BPA. Why? Because he's a toady for the greedy Angelos brothers who don't want to put out money for quality pitching, or for quality players for that matter. They never have. And can I be frank? Underslot is just another word for cheap. It's so disgusting to watch this historic franchise being run like it's a two bit bar in the red light district.

The only upside to all of this? The Angelos' will sell the team if they can't make money. And we're two horrendous seasons, now heading for three under Elias' tenure! 

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6 minutes ago, BohKnowsBmore said:

Don't think the Tigers would. I assume Tork is going full slot, and it would be quite risky to take a presumably overslot guy with pick 2-1 since there's no sandwich compensation if you don't get a deal done

That's very true.  And I don't know enough about the current state of their minor league system to know if they'd be comfortable rolling those dice or not.  It would certainly be a deterrent for many.

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2 minutes ago, MyNameIsEarl said:

What a horrible horrible draft so far! So typical for this loser front office. I've been calling for Elias' firing since his first year! He's nothing but a toady for the grossly cheap Angelos brothers who take after their father in every way. And now he's got the stench of being with the despicable Astros organization hanging all over him. That works against him now!

Lordy, lordy, lordy I don't know how you guys can be so patient with this mess of an organization, and still make excuses for Elias, who's still shopping for pitchers at the local Walmart! On top of that he hired a no doubt cheap, and grossly inexperienced manager to turn things around. Then he passes up the BPA. Why? Because he's a toady for the greedy Angelos brothers who don't want to put out money for quality pitching, or for quality players for that matter. They never have. And can I be frank? Underslot is just another word for cheap. It's so disgusting to watch this historic franchise being run like it's a two bit bar in the red light district.

The only upside to all of this? The Angelos' will sell the team if they can't make money. And we're two horrendous seasons, now heading for three under Elias' tenure! 

Is this satire?

If it's not, it's interesting for one to be so confident in their take despite being factually incorrect on so many things...

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9 minutes ago, MyNameIsEarl said:

What a horrible horrible draft so far! So typical for this loser front office. I've been calling for Elias' firing since his first year! He's nothing but a toady for the grossly cheap Angelos brothers who take after their father in every way. And now he's got the stench of being with the despicable Astros organization hanging all over him. That works against him now!

Lordy, lordy, lordy I don't know how you guys can be so patient with this mess of an organization, and still make excuses for Elias, who's still shopping for pitchers at the local Walmart! On top of that he hired a no doubt cheap, and grossly inexperienced manager to turn things around. Then he passes up the BPA. Why? Because he's a toady for the greedy Angelos brothers who don't want to put out money for quality pitching, or for quality players for that matter. They never have. And can I be frank? Underslot is just another word for cheap. It's so disgusting to watch this historic franchise being run like it's a two bit bar in the red light district.

The only upside to all of this? The Angelos' will sell the team if they can't make money. And we're two horrendous seasons, now heading for three under Elias' tenure! 

I'm not sure how LukeOH got brought into the organization and you didn't. This is some excellent insight.

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12 hours ago, atomic said:

Martin could just go back into the draft next year if he doesn’t get the money he wants.

The assigned slot value for Martin is $6,180,700 which is far too much money to leave on the table.  It's also about $2.3 below the first overall pick money he was rumored to be seeking and $1.6 million below the Oriole's assigned slot value at #2 per this article by Jim Callis https://www.mlb.com/news/2020-mlb-draft-bonus-slots  I think it's likely that his (and Boras') stance prior to the draft might have scared off not only the Orioles but possibly the Marlins and Royals too.

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I was hoping for Martin's name to be announced.  Was shocked and dismayed when it was not.  I hadn't read anything on Heston as even a possibility and was not familiar with him at all.

Trying to make sense and be positive about the selection, I started reading about him like everyone else.  His selection is warming on me and I can see how his power would be a welcome addition to the lineup.

Also, in evaluating Martin, he has a great stick but nobody knows where he will play on the field.  What we do know is that before the season there was talk of him trying SS.  That did not happen.  He started at 3rd but had arm issues that put in Center.  I gather that the arm issues are lingering and he's had some problem before.  But the arm issues do not affect his hitting.  He doesn't currently hit for a lot of power, and projects to only 15 to 20 maybe in the bigs at present.  Many were questioning if he could stick at Center.  I did not hear many who thought he could play SS in the majors, not even his coach when interviewed if I recall correctly.  Most things I read seemed to point to 2nd as possibly his best position in the majors.

So, what kind of problems could affect his arm and throwing that wouldn't affect his hitting.  Maybe Elias knows something or is worried about his arm enough not to risk it.  

Maybe, he believes Heston's hitting changes and approach are real and sustainable.  Maybe the scouts and the analytics aligned just right and the value was such he calculated the move to be best (or so close it didn't matter) regardless of the money saving we expect.  Maybe he did have him rated nearly equal or above Martin given the arm and position uncertainties as compared to a healthy right fielder who mashes and was apparently moving up draft boards anyway.

I want to believe in Elias.  So, I guess I will choose to go with our expert and hope for the best.  After all, I don't know any of these kids.  I just read what others have written who probably don't know as much as we give them credit for.  It is a crap shoot no matter how smart you are anyway.  Consensus picks in baseball fail all the time.  

 

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Just for reference, Kjerstad had more HR, more RBIs, and almost identical OPS (1.011-1.007) to Martin. Hitting nearly .350 career in the SEC isn't easy to do.

He's a bit of an awkward athlete but for his size he isn't slow at all once he gets going. Long, lanky strides. He still looks like he could add on to his frame and has room to grow some more. Still looks like he's about 16 in the face lol.

He does have some weird mental baserunning errors and he made some mistakes defensively when he was in LF that made you scratch your head, but he seemed much better in RF. Played a little bit of 1B too. He also made some outstanding plays in the outfield so you can tell he has the athleticism to make them just doesn't do it consistently. Robbed a home run against Dallas Baptist a few years ago in the Regional by climbing the outfield wall.

Also plays with a bit of an attitude:

GAME 66 THREAD: COLLEGE WORLD SERIES GM 1: #5 Arkansas 44-19 vs ...

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