3 organizations positioned for enormous hauls in the 2023 MLB Draft

April 21, 2023

The ink for Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement is now one-year dry and with it comes some new wrinkles for the MLB Draft. Still present are competitive balance picks, as well as compensatory draft picks for free agents lost the winter before and for draft picks from the previous year that went unsigned. But the 2023 draft brings prospect promotion incentive picks and the new draft lottery. Both will play a major role in July’s draft, and three teams specifically are positioned well to capitalize on the new changes.

The Seattle Mariners

The Seattle Mariners find themselves in arguably the most fortuitous situation of any team in the 2023 Draft. They’re the only organization in baseball with three picks inside the top 30. Hell, they’re the only organization with three picks inside the top 40 picks. The Mariners finished the 2023 season losing to the Houston Astros in the ALDS, yet they find themselves with the seventh-largest bonus pool of any organization in baseball.

Seattle was awarded the 29th pick (a pick that carries a $2,800,700 slot bonus value) in this July’s draft as part of the new prospect promotion incentive program. Because the team elected to start Julio Rodriguez on the opening day roster, and because he won Rookie of the Year, they’re compensated for actively working to avoid service time manipulation with a top prospect. That comes in the form of the 29th pick. There are some more fine-print details for a team to qualify for this incentive, but for sake of simplicity we’ll leave it at that. The Mariners were also awarded the 30th pick in the draft, a Competitive Balance A pick carrying a slot bonus value of $2,732,500, because they are a revenue-sharing team. They pick before all other Competitive Balance A picks as they had the best record of the bunch for the 2023 season.

The Mariners organization is in a good place. It’s core is young and talented having graduated so many top prospects in recent years. The team has the likes of Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Jarred Kelenic, and Matt Brash controlled through at least 2027. They’ve also signed Julio Rodriguez to a deal that will keep him in Seattle for the foreseeable future. The farm system has undoubtedly taken a hit via graduations and the trading of prospects to land a talent like Castillo.

While most consider the Mariners farm system to rank in the lower-half of farm systems in baseball right now, that should change in July. The team is positioned to add three prospects that should immediately rank inside the organization’s top ten prospects, not to mention the players they’ll acquire in the second round and beyond.

The Minnesota Twins

No team in baseball is celebrating the new draft lottery system more than are the Minnesota Twins. After finishing the 2022 season with a record of 78-84, the Twins would ordinarily be positioned to pick 13th in the following years’ draft. But the lottery system mixes things a bit. Minnesota lucked out and were selected to pick fifth overall this July. Not only does that bump them up eight spots in the draft, it adds almost $2.3 million to their bonus pool. That’s a lot of financial flexibility.

It doesn’t end there for the Twins either. As a revenue-receiving organization, Minnesota is privy to a Competitive Balance A pick in 2023, the 34th overall pick in the draft. That pick carries a slot value of $2,481,400. Toss in the 49th overall pick and Minnesota is one of just three teams slated to snag three players in the top 50 picks this July. Despite finishing with the 13th-best record in baseball last season, the Twins will carry the fourth-largest bonus pool of any team in the draft.

The Twins are in a good position as an organization. While their farm system isn’t terribly deep just yet, it is top-heavy and carried by the likes of 2022 first-rounder Brooks Lee, as well as guys like Royce Lewis, Edouard Julien and Emmanuel Rodriguez. The team certainly has reinforcements on the way, and they’ll look to strengthen their farm with this draft as well. Minnesota should add at least three pieces that rank inside of the team’s top ten prospects this July.

The Baltimore Orioles

Another year and another Baltimore Orioles draft haul. Despite a breakthrough in 2022 finishing the season four games over .500, the Orioles with have the 14th most-money in the 2023 draft and five picks inside the top 100.

Baltimore nets its draft haul in a number of different ways this year. Alongside their three organic picks in the first three rounds of the draft, the Orioles will receive a Competitive Balance B pick, as well as an additional third round pick after failing to sign Nolan McLean in 2022. McLean was their third round pick last year. Baltimore under Mike Elias has drafted beautifully over the last handful of years and extra picks give the team more chances at striking gold. While Baltimore may not carry the overwhelming bonus pool they have in recent years, their ammo in picks should lend well toward finding more impressive talent to add to an already stacked farm system.

We’re nearing the moment in time when the Orioles kick open their competitive window. They’ve graduated premium talents like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson over the last calendar year, and the Grayson Rodriguez era has already begun as well. Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, Connor Norby and Jordan Westburg aren’t far off either.

The Orioles should see a massive run of graduations in 2023, and eyes and expectations will turn to competing at the highest level for the foreseeable future. 2022 first overall pick Jackson Holliday might be the best prospect in baseball heading into the 2024 season, and their 2023 draft class should infuse an immediate injection of talent in what figures to be a gutted farm system over the next 18 months.


Joe Doyle
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