With Louisiana State University losing this weekend in a best-of-three series in the NCAA Super Regionals against upstart Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, the Orioles’ top pick, right-hander Kevin Gausman, is now free to negotiate with the club.
“We can get started, but we are going to give him a few days’ rest to get home and get things sorted out,” Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich said. “Then we’ll go ahead and commence negotiations later this week, I hope.”
Gausman, 21, lost Saturday’s full game, allowing three runs on a walk and six hits in seven innings while striking out six. It was just the second loss of this season for Gausman (12-1). He actually won earlier in the day at Baton Rouge, when he threw 12 pitches in the 12th inning of a suspended game from Friday that the top-seeded Tigers won, 5-4. The Seawolves, however, are headed to the College World Series after beating LSU in the rubber match on Sunday, 7-2.
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The Orioles have two other picks in the Top 10 that are headed to Omaha, Neb., for the eight-team College World Series, and therefore will not negotiate until their seasons are complete: University of South Carolina’s first baseman Christian Walker (fourth round) and right-hander Matthew Price (seventh round).
Also, University of Arkansas right-hander Derrick Bleeker (37th round) is still playing in the tournament.
The Orioles have also not begun negotiations with second-round pick Branden Kline out of the University of Virginia and Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick. But they hope to begin talks with him this week as well.
Rajsich said “a significant number” of players already have agreed to terms with the Orioles, though the club is not announcing deals until physicals are completed. The first announcement will likely come Tuesday.
Some are in Florida today at the Orioles’ Sarasota complex for physicals, including third-round pick Adrian Marin, a high school shortstop out of Miami. Most of those players will stay in Sarasota for Gulf Coast League play.
Another group will come to Baltimore and have their physicals on Wednesday or Thursday. That group will then report to short-season Aberdeen.
“We have quite a few guys done (before physicals),” Rajsich said. “I’m happy with the progress we are making.”