If the 2020 First-Year Player Draft is going to consist of just five rounds, the Orioles would make six draft picks this summer, sometime in June or July. The draft date is to be announced later. It was originally going to be a draft of 40 rounds from June 10-12.
Since we also know that Major League Baseball is going to freeze the bonuses from the 2019 amounts, we know what the slot values will be for the Orioles for 2020. Here are their selections and the bonus amount from that spot from last year.
* Round 1, No. 2 has a slot value of $7,789,900.
* Competitive Balance Round A, No. 30 has a slot value of $2,365,500.
* Round 2, No. 39 has a slot value of $1,906,800.
* Round 3, No. 75 has a slot value of $831,100.
* Round 4, No. 104 has a slot value of $560,000.
* Round 5, No. 134 has a slot value of $418,200.
The total amount for those six picks is $13,871,500. Teams can sign non-drafted players, but not pay any of those players more than $20,000 each. So getting top talent that goes undrafted seems pretty unlikely.
Last year, the Orioles had a total pool amount of $13,821,300. So their pool amount would be higher this year with fewer picks. How is that possible? Well, the higher a team picks, the more slot dollars they get for their picks.
Let’s look at the O’s 2019 picks and their pre-draft slot values:
* Round 1, No. 1 - $8,415,300 ($625,400 less).
* Round 2, No. 42 - $1,771,100 ($594,400 more).
* Competitive Balance Round B, No. 71 - $884,200 ($1,022,600 more).
* Round 3, No. 79 - $780,400 ($50,700 more).
* Round 4, No. 108 - $538,200 ($21,800 more).
* Round 5, No. 138 - $402,000 ($16,200 more).
As you can see, the Orioles’ top pick had a higher slot value last year, but they gained big dollars in their second and third picks, selecting this year Nos. 30 and 39, rather than Nos. 42 and 71. That is about a gain of $1.6 million right there alone.
Last year, the total slot values for the Orioles in rounds six through 10 was $1,030,100. So if you do all the math - and hopefully I’ve plugged every number correctly into these equations - their pool is going to grow by about $50,000 even with just six selections.
It is still possible that MLB could hold a 10-round draft in 2020; no final decision has been made to this point. In the 2019 draft, a team could sign any player taken in Rounds 11-40 for a max of $125,000. They could go over that amount, but any overage would have had to come out of their amount for the picks in those first 10 rounds.
Even though he got a record $8.1 million bonus from the Orioles last summer, catcher Adley Rutschman actually signed for $315,300 under slot. That amount and more went to their second pick, high school shortstop Gunnar Henderson of Alabama. His bonus of $2.3 million was $528,900 over slot.
This article from Baseball America indicates that the Orioles will have the highest total bonus pool of any MLB club, whether the draft turns out to be five or 10 rounds. We’ve mentioned their bonus pool for a five-round draft would be $13,871,500. For 10 rounds, it would be $14,936,200.
The Orioles still could move up a spot or two for certain rounds in the draft. This would occur if the Boston Red Sox lose a pick or picks due to the cheating scandal. Houston lost its first two picks for the next two drafts. Boston’s first two picks are currently No. 17 and No. 52. If they lost both, the Orioles would move up one spot with their second and third picks and two spots with their fourth, fifth and sixth selections.
So their picks in a five-round draft would be overall selections Nos. 2, 29, 38, 73, 102 and 132.