BALTIMORE -- The Orioles find themselves at an organizational crossroads. With expiring contracts for both executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter, plus the pending free-agent status of several notable players -- including superstar Manny Machado -- there has to be some sort of rebuild afoot.
And while no one has publicly come out and said it, this year's Draft is an interesting one for a Baltimore club that has slowly built up its Minor League system and has some encouraging prospects in its lower levels. A solid 2018 Draft class could go a long way in elevating that group in a few years and help restore the balance the O's way in the American League East.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
The 2018 Draft begins tonight with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.
Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Orioles, whose first selection is the 11th overall pick.
In about 50 words
It's hard to predict who will fall to the O's, with 10 picks before them. Under Duquette, the O's have picked pitchers in the first round in five of the past six Drafts (in which they've had a first-round pick) and have zeroed in on a crop of promising prep arms.
The need for pitching aside, the Orioles lack infield prospects. With Machado gone soon and second baseman Jonathan Schoop under team control for just one more year, they could also look to bolster that in the later rounds.
The O's forfeited their second-round pick to sign Alex Cobb this spring. They do get a Competitive Balance pick, selecting at spots 37 and 87 to round out the top 100.
MLB.com's latest mock Draft has the O's selecting right-hander Cole Winn out of Lutheran High School in California. Others they've been linked to include prep righties Grayson Rodriguez and Carter Stewart, and lefty Ryan Weathers.
If they go the college route, Callis predicts, it could be Stetson righty Logan Gilbert.
Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the Draft has an assigned value, and the total for each of a club's selections equals what it can spend in those rounds without incurring a penalty. Any bonus money above $125,000 given to an individual player picked in rounds 11-40 also counts against a team's allotment.
The assigned slots are 4.2 percent higher than last year, reflecting the increase in MLB's annual revenues.
If a player selected in the first 10 rounds doesn't sign, his pick's value is subtracted from his club's pool. If a team exceeds its allotment, it faces a penalty.
A team that outspends its pool by 0-5 percent pays a 75 percent tax on the overage. At higher thresholds, clubs lose future picks: a first-rounder and a 75 percent tax for surpassing their pool by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; a first- and a second-rounder and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.
This year the Orioles have a pool of $8,754,400, including $4,375,100 to spend on their first selection.
Pitching, particularly guys who are polished and can move quickly through the system, would be huge for an Orioles club that has always struggled to draft, develop and keep quality arms.
As noted above, the Orioles place a premium on pitching and have used a good chunk of their early picks on adding arms. There's little expectation that will change this year with their first pick.
Left-handed pitcher Tanner Scott, the team's sixth-round pick in 2014, has had several stints with the club and has performed well in relief. David Hess, who was selected in the fifth round of that same Draft, made his big league debut earlier this month and has won two of his first three starts.
Reliever Donnie Hart was drafted in the 27th round of the 2013 Draft and made his Major League debut in 2016. Another notable selection, Trey Mancini, was an eighth-round pick in the same Draft as Hart.
In the Show
The Orioles have a good chunk of homegrown players on their current roster, including Hess and Mancini along with Machado, relievers Scott and Mychal Givens, and starters Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. All-Star closer Zach Britton (currently on the disabled list) also came up through the Minor League system.
The Orioles' recent top picks
2017: DL Hall, LHP low ClassA
2016: Cody Sedlock, RHP, high Class A (disabled list)
2015: DJ Stewart, OF, Triple-A
2014: no first-round pick
2013: Hunter Harvey RHP, Double-A
2012: Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles