Pick-happy O's ready to get busy with Draft

Team traditionally eyes pitching early, but with 25th overall choice, things may be different

Pick-happy O's ready to get busy with Draft

BALTIMORE -- The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday, June 8, through Wednesday, June 10, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Orioles, whose first selection is the 25th overall pick.

In about 50 words
Baltimore, which did not have a first-round pick last year, has pending free agents in the double digits and is in a great spot to replenish its system with four picks in the first 102 of the Draft.

The scoop
The O's have a strong trend of using their top pick on pitching and the expectation is they'll get some young arms among their first few selections again. But there's also some rumblings the O's could look to add an impact bat with their first pick. Early draft predictions unsurprisingly are dominated by young pitching talent, so Baltimore could wait to pick up a young arm second or third.

First-round buzz
Because the Orioles are not among the first few picks, they won't have a narrow list of prospective draftees and what they do hinges on what happens in front of them.

Their first pick is 25th, but they will have a quick turnaround as they get a compensation pick at 36th overall because Nelson Cruz turned down his qualifying offer and signed with Seattle as a free agent.

They've been linked to Florida State outfielder D.J. Stewart, high school third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes and left-hander Nate Kirby, a local product out of the University of Virginia.

Baltimore picks again at No. 68 and, after trading away its competitive balance pick to the Dodgers, will make a fourth selection at 102.

"We are loaded this year. It's exciting, this is a big year for us, a big Draft," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Like to think we know who we are and this is a big Draft for us. Got to do well. I've got a lot of confidence that we will."

Money matters
Like last year, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an alloted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to 5 percent over its alloted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

The Orioles have been assigned a pool amount of $6,850,400, which ranks 19th in the Majors. The value assigned to their first round pick is $2,064,500.

Shopping list
Baltimore's Draft philosophy under scouting director Gary Rajsich has primarily been about adding pitching depth, which has been an organization-wide approach with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. And while nothing will drastically change, the O's looked poised to use the Draft to fill in some position player holes.

Baltimore won't draft based on Major League need so much as talent and athleticism. As Showalter likes to say, there's an impact player in every round and the O's will do their best to hit big early on.

RECENT DRAFT HISTORY

Cinderella story Tyler Wilson, the O's 10th-round pick in 2011, has steadily climbed the ranks and made his Major League debut this year. Wilson, who got his first big league start in the May 28 doubleheader, has been a winner at every level and should return to Baltimore at some point later this season.

In The Show
Former top pick Manny Machado and Caleb Joseph (seventh round, 2008) are among the homegrown position players on the active roster. On the pitching side of things, Baltimore has had more success with starter Mike Wright and relievers Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Olive Drake and Kevin Gausman (disabled list).

The Orioles' recent top picks
2014: No first-round pick
2013: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Class A (disabled list)
2012: Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (disabled list)
2011: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Double-A
2010: Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.