Carroll County Times

Draft will start late for Orioles

On Thursday, most teams will be selecting the best college and high school baseball players in the country during the first round of the MLB Draft.

However, the Orioles will not. Nor will they be participating in the competitive balance round or second round.

Baltimore doesn't have a pick until the third round, when it will pick at No. 90 overall. That's because the Orioles lost their top three picks in order to acquire some of the players that make up this year's roster.

The Orioles lost their first-round pick, No. 17 overall, when they signed starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez on Feb. 19. Because Jimenez had turned down a qualifying offer from Cleveland, his previous team, earlier in the offseason, Baltimore lost its first-round pick in signing him and the Indians gained a compensatory pick at No. 31 overall.

Last season, the Orioles acquired Bud Norris at the trade deadline from Houston and sent not only outfielder L.J. Hoes, but its competitive balance pick in this year's draft to the Astros.

The competitive balance round began in 2013. Every team that is in one of the 10 smallest markets and/or one of the 10 lowest-revenue franchises is entered into a lottery.

Six teams are awarded a pick after the first round and another six earn a pick at the end of the second round. The Orioles won the third pick in the first competitive balance round, No. 37 overall, last June before trading it to the Astros.

After having already lost its first two picks, Baltimore still needed a power bat in its lineup. Late in the offseason, there had been rumors that the Orioles were interested in either Nelson Cruz or Kendrys Morales.

Signing either one of those sluggers would require Baltimore to surrender its next highest pick, which was at No. 55 overall in the second round. The Orioles then signed Cruz to a one-year, $8 million contract on Feb. 24.

Baltimore lost its second-round pick, and the Texas Rangers, Cruz's previous club, gained a compensatory pick at the end of the first round, No. 30 overall.

The Orioles have benefited the most from the signing of Cruz, who leads the majors in both home runs (20) and RBIs (52) and is hitting .314.

Norris went 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 appearances, nine starts, last season and is 3-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 starts this year.

Jimenez is 2-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 11 starts this season.

NOTE: The Orioles selected the contract of left-handed starting pitcher Johan Santana on Monday and placed him on the 15-day disabled list.

Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, is recovering from shoulder surgery. The 35-year-old is close to pitching for one of Baltimore's minor-league affiliates.