Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said earlier this week that traditionally, when there’s a consensus growing around the top pick in the draft the way it has around Detroit and slugger Spencer Torkelson, then that’s often how it plays out.
If the same is true for the second overall pick, then there’s not a lot of mystery going into what the Orioles will try and do Wednesday night, either.
As many of the outlets that research and cover the draft put out their final mock drafts this week, they were unanimous that despite overtures with other players in an attempt to game the signing bonus slot system, and try and get better talent at high bonuses later in the draft, Martin will be the Orioles’ pick.
During some versions of their mock draft last week, the folks at BA tried to project what the draft would look like if the Orioles shook things up and went with Florida high school outfielder Zac Veen. Even those, however, said Martin would be the likely pick, and they’re back to that for their eighth and possibly final mock draft.
Their analysis includes the belief that the Orioles are looking at players like Veen and Nick Gonzales on under-slot deals, but that they’ll ultimately take “the best pure hitter in the class.”
The college baseball crew at D1baseball.com note Elias’ penchant to “get creative,” hence the Veen rumors, but they believe Martin and Lacy are more likely at No. 2 overall to the Orioles and ultimately stick with Martin.
Both Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo have the Orioles shopping lower signing bonuses to players other than Martin, with both listing Gonzales and Veen and Callis adding Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad and North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey to that list. Both are top-10 talents, but haven’t been connected to the Orioles that much. Both, however, go with Martin.
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Kiley McDaniel put a 75-percent chance on the Orioles going with Martin, noting that Nick Gonzales is the top alternative. As a bonus, he goes through the second round and has the Orioles signing Pennsylvania prep right-hander Nick Bitsko (Central Bucks East HS) at No. 30 and Mississippi State shortstop Jordan Westburg at No. 39.
At FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen has another mock draft coming later today but in his Monday edition explored the under-slot possibility, including the belief that they were pursuing a player in the $4-$4.5 million range. The slot value of the pick is $7,789,900, so that would represent significant savings elsewhere. But he, too, ultimately says the Orioles will go with Martin.