The latest from Camden Yards…
- On Friday, the Orioles announced that they will continue paying the $400 weekly stipend to their minor league players through the first week of September (or what would have been the end of the minor league season). All 30 teams have publicly committed to paying their minor leaguers through at least the end of June, with clubs such as the Twins, Royals, Padres, Mariners, Reds, Astros, Red Sox, Marlins, and — after some controversy — Athletics all joining Baltimore in keeping the stipend going for the entire season.
- The Orioles went against conventional wisdom when they selected Heston Kjerstad with the second overall pick of the amateur draft, as Kjerstad was generally projected to fall somewhere in the 9th-12th pick range. As Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun writes, the Arkansas outfielder on the team’s radar for a while — area scout Ken Guthrie has known Kjerstad’s family for years and Guthrie took note of Kjerstad’s hitting potential when he was still a high schooler. The Orioles continued to observe Kjerstad as he developed into a star at Arkansas, with both analytics and pure numbers revealing his improvement at the plate. “It’s a really special bat in our opinion. He took some steps forward this year,” GM Mike Elias said. “I think had he been able to finish that season, he probably would have just continued to cement it. I think if we hadn’t taken him, he was going to go pretty quick after us.”
- Of course, signability also played a role in Baltimore’s choice, as Kjerstad might be willing to agree to take less than the second pick’s recommended $7,789,900 slot price. As per Meoli, the Orioles “explored similar such deals” with other top prospects such as Nick Gonzales (who went seventh overall to the Pirates) and Zac Veen (ninth overall to the Rockies).