Draft talk: A look at the O's draft pool and players they've been linked to in mock drafts

The 2015 First-Year Player Draft is now less than a week away. It all begins Monday night at 7 p.m., when MLB Network will televise picks made from Round 1 through Competitive Balance Round B. The draft then resumes Tuesday, June 8 at 1 p.m., with Rounds 3-10, and then on Wednesday June 9 at noon with Rounds 11-40.

The Orioles have the 25th pick in Round 1 and they have four of the first 102 picks as they also select 36th, 68th and 102nd. They have 11 picks over the first 10 rounds.

steve-rajsich-sidebar.jpgOrioles scouting director Gary Rajsich talked about his philosophy for this year's draft.

"We are going to stay true to our philosophy to pick the next best player (on our draftboard)," he said. "We are not going to be pitching-focused like we were last year, we are not going to be hitter-focused. We are not going to be college- or high school-focused.

"We're going to keep it wide open and pick what we believe is the next best player. If that player is one of the top 10 on our board and falls to us, we will be overjoyed and excited."

According to Baseball America, here are the allotted slot values for the Orioles' 11 picks in the top 10 rounds of the draft:

Round 1 (#25) - $2,064,500
Round 1 (#36) - $1,711,900
Round 2 (#68) - $907,000
Round 3 (#102) - $559,300
Round 4 (#133) - $414,700
Round 5 (#163) - $310,500
Round 6 (#193) - $232,600
Round 7 (#223) - $178,300
Round 8 (#253) - $166,400
Round 9 (#283) - $155,500
Round 10 (#313) - $149,700

Adding up the individual slot values gives the Orioles a total draft pool of $6,850,400 to sign those picks in the top 10 rounds. A team can sign any player to an overslot or underslot bonus but any overage must come from this pool, so signing one player for more means someone must be signed for less.

Several teams have used a strategy of drafting a college senior in Round 9 or 10 and signing him to a bonus of say $10,000. That player cannot go back to school so has little leverage and is almost always is happy to sign for that amount, providing the team more dollars to use elsewhere. If a team fails to sign any top 10 round pick, they lose the bonus money allotted for that specific selection.

Teams can sign players chosen in Rounds 11-40 for up to $100,000. They can go over that amount, but if they do, it comes out of the total draft pool.

Teams are allowed to go over their total bonus pool allotment, but even going over by small amounts incur harsh penalties. If a team exceeds their budget by between 0-5 percent, they are taxed 75 percent on the amount they went over. If they exceed the budget by 5-10 percent, they suffer the same penalty as 0-5 percent plus they lose their first-round selection in the following draft. Going over by 10-15 percent incurs a 100 percent tax on the overage, plus the loss of first- and second-round picks in the following draft. Anything over 15 percent results in the team paying a 100 percent tax on the overage and the loss of their first-round selection for the next two drafts.

So don't expect to see teams exceed their pool allotment by more than five percent and lose any picks.

Last season, the Orioles had the smallest total bonus pool in the majors at $2.2 million. That was because they didn't have a first- or second-round pick, not selecting until the 90th pick overall.

In that draft, the Orioles made 38 selections, signing 30 players, 19 of whom were pitchers.

The Orioles have selected pitchers with their first pick in the last four drafts since they got Manny Machado with the third pick in 2010:

2011 - RHP Dylan Bundy - No. 4
2012 - RHP Kevin Gausman - No. 4
2013 - RHP Hunter Harvey - No. 22
2014 - LHP Brian Gonzalez - No. 90

Here are some players linked to the Orioles in some recent mock drafts:

* University of Virgina LHP Nathan Kirby (by Baseball America)

* Florida State outfielder D.J. Stewart (by Baseball America)

* Cal-Poly Pomona RHP Cody Ponce (by ESPN's Keith Law)

* Louisville RHP Kyle Funkhouse (by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo)

* Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman (by MLB.com's Jim Callis)

Callis also listed Stewart, Cincinnati outfielder Ian Happ, North Florida outfielder Donnie Dewees and University of Florida shortstop Richie Martin as possibles for the Orioles.

Law said the club also had interest in third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes from Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas.

Click here to read the interview published last week in this space with Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich.

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