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Draft Preview - Baltimore Orioles

Here is the seventh part in my series, this time focusing on the Baltimore Orioles and their scouting director Joe Jordan.

Owner: Peter Angelos, bought club in 1993
General Manager: Andy MacPhail, first season was mid-2007
Scouting Director: Joe Jordan, first draft was 2005

Looking Back

2005 Draft: $4.2 Million Budget

1. Brandon Snyder, C, Westfield HS (VA), #13 overall: Snyder was a fairly athletic prep catcher from northern Virginia, though he wasn't a full-time catcher in high school.  Expected to go in the back half of the first round, the Orioles called his name a little early.  However, the Orioles wanted the regional kid, knowing he'd be off the board by their next pick.  Following players selected: Trevor Crowe, Lance Broadway, Chris Volstad.  Signing bonus: $1.7 million.
2. Garrett Olson, LHP, Cal Poly, #48 overall: Olson was a solid prospect at Cal Poly, using an advanced approach with average stuff.  Predicted to go in the second round, this was a solid pick by the Baltimore draft group.  Following players selected: Matt Green, Jeff Bianchi, Ivan DeJesus.  Signing bonus: $650,000.
3. Nolan Reimold, OF, Bowling Green, #61 overall: This was a fairly large overdraft by the O's, as Reimold was projected to go somewhere in the 5th-10th round range.  He pressed during his junior year, but hot streaks made his numbers better than his body of work.  Following players selected: Stephen Head, J. Brent Cox, Kris Harvey.  Signing bonus: $590,000.
4. Brandon Erbe, RHP, McDonough School (MD), #93 overall: Overdrafted by a couple rounds, Erbe was one of the best Baltimore-area products in recent history.  His stock took a hit due to consistency issues his senior year.  Following players selected: Nick Weglarz, Ricky Brooks, Matt Goyen.  Signing bonus: $415,000.
5. Kieron Pope, OF, East Coweta HS (GA), #123 overall: This was about a round higher than most expected Pope to go, but this pick is quite defensible.  Pope was a strong-bodied kid with a good track record in high school, but also with contact issues.  Following players selected: Jordan Brown, Chris Getz, Gaby Sanchez.  Signing bonus: $257,500.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Chorye Spoone (8th), Catonsville JC (MD), $75K bonus; RHP David Hernandez (16th), Cosumnes River JC (CA)

 

2006 Draft: $5.4 Million Budget

1. Bill Rowell, 3B, Bishop Eustace Prep (NJ), #9 overall: Rowell was a powerful prep shortstop, but was drafted as a third baseman.  He was projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first, and this was a fairly unquestioned pick.  Following players selected: Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer, Kasey Kiker.  Signing bonus: $2.1 million.
2. Pedro Beato, RHP, St. Petersburg JC (FL), #32 overall: Beato was highly-rated, having turned down good money from the Mets as a draft and follow to return into the draft.  He was projected as high as the mid first round, so the O's got good value here.  Following players selected: Emmanuel Burriss, Brooks Brown, Kyler Burke.  Signing bonus: $1 million.
3. Ryan Adams, SS, Jesuit HS (LA), #58 overall: Adams was projected to go somewhere around here as an offense-first middle infielder.  With Hurricane Katrina and hamstring problems, he was one of the more risky picks in the draft, having been off the field a lot.  Following players selected: Sean Black, Brent Brewer, Wade LeBlanc.  Signing bonus: $675,000.
4. Zach Britton, LHP, Weatherford HS (TX), #85 overall: Britton shot up draft boards during the spring of his senior year, but this is about a round lower than he was projected to go.  Having been a late achiever, there was some doubt about his ability to sustain his results.  Following players selected: Dallas Buck, Cyle Hankerd, Chad Tracy.  Signing bonus: $435,000.
5. Blake Davis, SS, Cal State Fullerton, #115 overall: This was one of the more questionable decisions in this draft, as Davis had tons of questions about the ability of his bat.  He was a 22 year old junior, as well, so there wasn't much time for him to improve.  Following players selected: Ben Snyder, Bryant Thompson, Marcus Lemon.  Signing bonus: $282,500.
Other Notable Picks: SS Tyler Henson (5th), Tuttle HS (OK), $185K bonus; RHP Jason Berken (6th), Clemson, $155K bonus

 

2007 Draft: $8.0 Million Budget

1. Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech, #5 overall: Wieters was right there with David Price in the running for the #1 overall pick in the 2007 draft.  However, due to his price tag, Wieters fell here to the Orioles, who have reaped the benefits so far.  Following players selected: Ross Detwiler, Matt LaPorta, Casey Weathers.  Signing bonus: $6 million.
2. Tim Bascom, RHP, Bradenton (Indy), #129 overall: Bascom was a unique case, having not signed the year before due to a knee injury, been denied re-entry to school due to the rule against agent contact, then signing with an Indy league team.  His draft position was an unknown.  Following players selected: Derek Norris, Eric Farris, Isaiah Froneberger.  Signing bonus: $200,000.
3. Jake Arrieta, RHP, TCU, #159 overall: Arrieta was in the running for the top half of the first round entering the spring, but fell due to consistency issues.  Still considered a top two round prospect, he fell even more due to signability issues.  Quite a steal here.  Following players selected: Bradley Meyers, Caleb Gindl, Connor Graham.  Signing bonus: $1.1 million.
4. Joseph Mahoney, 1B, Richmond, #189 overall: This was an incredible overdraft, as Mahoney wasn't even on the larger prospect radar as a top fifteen round pick.  However, Jordan picked him in the top 200.  Following players selected: Jack McGeary, Dan Merklinger, Cory Riordan.  Signing bonus: $110,000.
5. Matt Angle, OF, Ohio State, #219 overall: Angle was a small, speedy center fielder that pretty much slapped the ball around.  He was expected to go somewhere in this range, so this was a solid college pick.  Following players selected: PJ Dean, Efrain Nieves, Jeffrey Cunningham.  Signing bonus: $110,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Colin Allen (22nd), Lamar CC (CO)

 

2008 Draft: $6.9 Million Budget

1. Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego, #4 overall: Matusz was easily the best pitcher in the 2008 class, having gone start to finish with that honor.  He was tall, lanky pitcher with a great track record, including high school, so this was an excellent pick.  Following players selected: Buster Posey, Kyle Skipworth, Yonder Alonso.  Signing bonus: $3.2 million, Major League contract.
2. Xavier Avery, OF, Cedar Grove HS (GA), #50 overall: The definition of a project, Avery was an athletic prep player with football roots.  One of the fastest players in the draft class, Avery was projected to go somewhere in the second round, making this a decent pick by Jordan.  Following players selected: Anthony Gose, Brad Hand, Seth Lintz.  Signing bonus: $900,000.
3. L.J. Hoes, 2B, St. John's HS (DC), #81 overall: Hoes had plenty of questions about his bat and his position on the diamond, but like Avery, no one questioned his athleticism.  He was overdrafted here by a couple rounds, though.  Following players selected: Roger Kieschnick, Edgar Olmos, Zach Stewart.  Signing bonus: $490,000.
4. Kyle Hudson, OF, Illinois, #116 overall: I first knew Hudson's name as a wide receiver for the Ilini, and I wasn't surprised to find that his baseball skills revolved purely around speed.  He was a slap hitter with a bad arm, but with incredible speed.  This was where he was expected to go.  Following players selected: Brandon Crawford, Curtis Petersen, Tyler Cline.  Signing bonus: $287,000.
5. Greg Miclat, SS, Virginia, #146 overall: Another speedy guy, Miclat was known for his glove and legs as a Cavalier.  However, he battled arm issues, and was a slap hitter, making him an overdraft here by a few rounds.  Following players selected: Edwin Quirarte, Pete Andrelczyk, Clayton Shunick.  Signing bonus: $225,000.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Rick Zagone (6th), Missouri, $150K bonus; C Caleb Joseph (7th), Lipscomb, $125K bonus; RHP Bobby Bundy (8th), Sperry HS (OK), $600K bonus (overslot); LHP Nathan Moreau (11th), Georgia; RHP Jesse Beal (14th), South County SS (VA), $275K bonus (overslot); RHP Jose Barajas (26th), Western Nevada CC; RHP Oliver Drake (43rd), Navy, $100K bonus (overslot)

 

These are the four drafts undertaken by scouting director Joe Jordan so far for the Orioles.  To say that Jordan has dealt with a dysfunctional front office system is an understatement, as he's survived the chaos inflicted by owner Peter Angelos.  Andy MacPhail was brought in mid-season in 2007, relegating Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette to second-class status, and both are gone now.  The system is much better now, but I have no idea how long Angelos can go with the way things are currently.  On a side note, former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky is a special assistant to MacPhail, so there's a solid baseball foundation in this front office.  As for the drafts, I get the feeling Jordan knows he's working with a limited budget after the first pick.  The last two drafts have seen large first round bonuses, and the total budget for picks past the first have been $2.5 million, $3.3 million, $2 million, and $3.7 million.  Solid, but limited, numbers.  In general, Jordan's penchant last year for speedy players wasn't anything new, but was a slight departure from his normal technique.  He usually mixes in younger pitchers.  However, it doesn't seem that Jordan has any preference when it comes to the age of pitchers he drafts, as he's gone the prep, JUCO, and college routes, even dipping into Indy ball for Tim Bascom.  He obviously prefers kids with speed on the position player side, but he also doesn't seem to have a preference for either prep or college players.  An interesting trend is the coverage of the Virginia/D.C./Maryland area, both in the college and prep ranks.  Last year, that bred LJ Hoes and Greg Miclat early, with Jesse Beal and Oliver Drake late.  The year before, Joseph Mahoney was overdrafted into the club from Richmond.  However, it also seems to me that Jordan overdrafts a bit too much in those areas, showing too much of a quick trigger.  He obviously likes those kids, but it's been a little ridiculous a few times.  However, you can't argue with the results of the big-time prospects taken by Jordan over the last couple of years.  Matt Wieters, Jake Arrieta, and Brian Matusz form a great core, and that's not to be ignored.

As far as money goes, I'm not completely sure what to expect in terms of draft budgeting this year.  They pick at #5, followed by #54, 85, 116, and every 30 picks after that.  As such, I do expect significant investment in the #5 slot, as they've shown a willingness to pay out big in the early part of the first.  I don't think they'll get the second-best prospect or anything, but they should get the absolute best player available at that slot, regardless of his asking price.  I think the budget will probably be in the $6-7 million range again this year, but that's a general guess.  There's a big emphasis on drafting and player development in this organization now that MacPhail is in charge, so it might be a tick higher.  We'll probably see slot bonuses in the early rounds past the first, followed by one, maybe two significantly overslot bonuses later on.  Jake Arrieta and Bobby Bundy are the two recently that bucked the slot system.  They don't have any extra picks, so the money they spend will be on players that have fallen due to signability or other issues.  This isn't a big year for huge bonuses, due to a thinner crop than usual, but there's still talent to be found.

Looking at the players who might be available when the Orioles pick, there's a very good chance that they add another frontline pitching prospect to the fold.  I have them taking Capistrano Valley HS (CA) prep lefty Tyler Matzek in this week's mock draft, but it could be any of Aaron Crow, Tanner Scheppers, Kyle Gibson, Alex White, or Zack Wheeler as well.  Matt Purke is another possibility.  Most of the hitting crop has hit their way out of competition for this spot, though Grant Green and Donovan Tate will at least be explored as possibilities.  Both will need large bonuses, Tate even more than Green.  If Dustin Ackley falls for some unknown reason, I'm positive the O's will snap him up, making the #5 slot Ackley's floor.  However, as it stands now, I think the Orioles are set on taking another pitcher, a good idea no matter how many one has in their organization.  I've connected them to Devan Marrero, Brett Jackson, Eric Arnett, and Jason Kipnis so far, as well, and this week I have them taking DJ LeMahieu of LSU in the second round.  All are good options, but I'm definitely thinking athleticism when it comes to later rounds.

All bonus information came from BA, and writeups on draft status going into the draft were a mixture of BA and PG.  Go to their sites for draft coverage.  They're awesome.

What do you guys think?  What do the Orioles do?

 

Previous Draft Previews:

Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Dodgers
Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies
Texas Rangers
Pittsburgh Pirates