A Major League Baseball source said the Orioles are making some real progress in their contract negotiations with two of their top three picks. If the talks continue to proceed as they have, agreements could soon be reached.
The O's are making that progress with their second pick, high school outfielder Josh Hart, taken 37th overall in the competitive balance round after Round 1 of the draft.
The O's are also making progress with high school catcher Chance Sisco, drafted 61st overall, in Round 2.
The club has reached out to pitcher Hunter Harvey, their first-round pick, but the negotiations there are not expected to pick up until the Orioles finalize agreements with these other top picks.
Last night, Baseball America reported an agreement between the Orioles and their third-round selection, lefty pitcher Stephen Tarpley from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College.
MASNsports.com has also learned that the O's are close to an agreement with Round 11 pick, left-handed pitcher Steven Brault from Divison II Regis University, who went 8-3 with a 2.63 ERA over 79 innings this season.
If the O's get Brault, they would have agreements with these draft picks:
Round 3: LHP Stephen Tarplay
Round 6: C Alex Murphy
Round 8: 1B Trey Mancini
Round 10: C Austin Wynns
Round 11: LHP Steven Brault
Round 13: RHP Jimmy Yacabonis
Round 14: OF Mike Yastrzemski
Round 16: 1B Randolph Gassaway
Round 33: SS Jeff Kemp
An announcement on eight or nine signings from the Orioles could come as soon as later this afternoon.
The O's are still hopeful of talking with high school pitchers Daniel Ayers (Round 25) and Robert Tyler (Round 28), who could require overslot signings, but not much has happened on that front yet, a source said.
Updated with signings announced: This afternoon, the Orioles announced they have signed contracts with eight draft picks: Murphy (6), Caleb Kellogg (17), Nick Cunningham (20), Jared Breen (24), Conor Bierfeldt (29), Kemp (33), Eric Green (36) and Augey Bill (39).
Breen, Bierfeldt and Kemp will report to short-season Single-A Aberdeen, while the others will report to the Gulf Coast League.
Add two more: Orioles have now announced they have signed contracts with two more draft picks in Steven Brault (11) and James Yacabonis (13). Both will report to Aberdeen.