Draft Reviews: Baltimore Orioles

2008 Draft Slot: Fourth overall
Top Pick: Brian Matusz, LHP, University of San Diego
Best Pick: Brian Matusz
Keep an Eye On: Bobby Bundy, RHP, Oklahoma high school (8th round)
Notes: A knee injury slowed Bobby Bundy during his senior year of high school and scared off clubs. He was given an above-slot deal to forgo a college career at the University of Arkansas. Bundy will spend another season in short-season ball in 2009. Two more prep players – OF Xavier Avery and 2B L.J. Hoes – have the chance to make noise in the system. Avery has the more impressive set of tools, but Hoes is a more advanced hitter.

2007 Draft Slot: Fifth overall
Top Pick: Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech
Best Pick: Matt Wieters
Worst Pick: None
Notes: It’s hard to criticize the Orioles’ selections when the club lacked second and third round draft picks. Fourth-round pick Tim Bascom has had a modest start to his career and posted a 5.24 FIP in High-A last season. In a do-over, Pittsburgh (4th overall) and Chicago (third) – possibly even Kansas City (second) – would probably grab Matt Wieters. Despite lacking the second and third round picks, Baltimore secured a second-round talent with the selection of Jake Arrieta in the fifth round.

2006 Draft Slot: Ninth overall
Top Pick: Billy Rowell, 3B, New Jersey high school
Best Pick: Zach Britton, LHP, Texas high school (3rd round)
Worst Pick: Billy Rowell
Notes: There were questions about Billy Rowell‘s maturity and makeup entering the draft and he has done little to quiet those concerns in pro ball. He’s showing a little life with a .282 average in High-A ball this season but his raw power has still not translated to in-game power (one homer in 71 at-bats). Supplemental first round pick Pedro Beato has also been a disappointment. Zach Britton has pitched well so far in his career and he’s holding his own in High-A ball this season, although he’s struggling a bit with his control (12 walks in 19.2 innings).

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2009 Draft Slot: 5th overall
Draft Preference (2006-08): Best available talent
MLB Club Need: Pitching, Pitching, and more Pitching, Third base, Shortstop
Organizational Need: Outfielders, Shortstop, Third base, First base, Left-handed pitching
Organizational Strength: Catcher, Second base, Right-handed pitching
Notes: The club will no doubt look to take the best available player, as seen by its decision to select Matt Wieters despite his huge price tag. However, the club is probably hoping for a good bat to be available with the pick since the future pitching rotation is looking pretty good with Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Brandon Erbe (and even David Hernandez) on the way. But you can never, ever have too much pitching so the club should be a winner either way with the fifth pick.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

5 Responses to “Draft Reviews: Baltimore Orioles”

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  1. Laura says:

    The Orioles don’t need OFers. After Jones and Markakis, they have Scott, Pie, Freel (for now), Montanez, and Reimold. While they are playing Pie now, it is only because they want to see how he’d do with consistent ABs and not because they have nobody else. I’d consider it one of their biggest strengths.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s an organizational need, not a need on the big league club. Among the players you mentioned and outside of Baltimore’s starters (Pie, Jones, and Markakis) only Reimold is young and even he is 25.

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      • JCA says:

        OF is a lesser need than left side of infield. You can figure Markakis and Jones have two positions locked for years, and most likely Reimold, too. Montanez is under team control for depth. Pie is a roll of the dice.

        At first, another name is Brandon Snyder, who is 22, went .315 / .358 / .490 at High A, had a good winter ball season, and is off to a decent start at AA (.953 OPS).

        Finally, Matusz is lefthanded.

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      • Laura says:

        It’s mainly about what the ML team needs and couldn’t get from the MiL. Otherwise, 2B would be a weakness as there are virtually no middle infielders outside of Roberts.

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  2. rwildernessr says:

    It would be awfully nice if these league review pieces occasionally started on the left coast, or even somewhere other than the AL east. It seems more than a few of these have petered out before any of the west coast teams got addressed.

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