When the Orioles selected Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad No. 2 overall in the recent First-Year Player Draft, the assumption was they took him there to save some money to spent later in the draft. And while it could work out that way, the Orioles made it clear he was their top choice. Any savings would be an added bonus.
We didn’t know it then, but the Orioles would not go overslot until their last two picks, drafting high school players in the fourth and fifth rounds. There have been no official signings announced by the club yet, but agreements have been reached with the last two picks, per numerous reports.
While some expected the club to add players and go overslot at pick No. 30 and/or No. 39, the final result certainly is expected to be that the overslot players were the last two taken.
First a review of where they stood with the dollars as the draft began and who they selected.
* Round 1, overall pick No. 2 has a slot value of $7,789,900. (Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad)
* Competitive Balance Round A, No. 30 has a slot value of $2,365,500. (Mississippi State shortstop Jordan Westburg)
* Round 2, No. 39 has a slot value of $1,906,800. (Tulane outfielder Hudson Haskin)
* Round 3, No. 74 has a slot value of $844,200. (Mississippi shortstop Anthony Servideo)
* Round 4, No. 103 has a slot value of $565,500. (High school third baseman Coby Mayo)
* Round 5, No. 133 has a slot value of $422,300. (High school right-hander Carter Baumler)
If you were told there would be no math today, that was wrong. So here we go.
A team’s draft pool is made up of the total of all the bonus slots. For the Orioles, those six slots add up to $13,894,300. The agreement with Mayo is for a reported $1.75 million and for Baumler it is a reported $1.5 million. So that is $3.25 million accounted for. If you add the two bonus slots for the high school players you get $987,800, meaning the Orioles are $2,262,200 overslot for those two players.
If you are not confused yet, that leaves $11,632,100 for the remaining four players. But those four have bonus slots that total $12,906,400. So one or all will need to be signed to underslot bonused to make the draft math work.
This is not new. It happens in every draft where many teams manuever their money to try and sign the maximum amount of talent and be able to sign those players. Basically, the Orioles need to add the remaining four players they don’t yet have agreements with and save about $2.26 million in doing so. There are numerous ways to do that.
Kjerstad could get a bonus in the $6.5 million range, which would be just shy of what the No. 4 draft slot calls for. That would save over $1.2 millon right there. Westburg could get $1.8 million and save over $500,000. If Haskin got $1.4 million, that would save over $500,000 and the O’s would be right about where they need to before they even signed Servideo.
Again, they could make the math work in various other ways as well. Their final number can come in under the total pool amount. It could also go over. Teams can go up to 5 percent over their total amount without losing a draft pick as a penalty. The deadline to sign draft picks is Aug. 1 and no doubt the Orioles will get all six done, probably well before that date.
MLBTradeRumors.com has been keeping track of draft signings here. According to MLBPipeline.com, the highest pick signed so far was Justin Foscue, the Mississsippi State second baseman who was taken No. 14 overall by Texas. He got an underslot bonus of $3.25 million. He was Westburg’s double play partner in college.
By the way, the signing of the non-drafted players does not count against the draft pool. Money given to those players - and this year it can be a max of $20,000 - does not count against the pool. The Orioles have seven such agreements to this point.