The second part of my draft preview series is on the Baltimore Orioles and their scouting director Joe Jordan.
Owner: Peter Angelos, bought club in 1993
General Manager: Andy MacPhail, hired in June 2007
Scouting Director: Joe Jordan, first draft was 2005
2005 Draft: $4.2 Million Budget
1. Brandon Snyder, C, Westfield HS (VA), #13 Overall: Snyder was Jordan’s first pick as scouting director, and it was not considered the best available choice at the time. Snyder had the tools to be a strong hitter and fielder, but he was raw behind the plate, having moved there shortly before the draft. Following players selected: Trevor Crowe, Lance Broadway, Chris Volstad. Signing bonus: $1,700,000.
2. Garrett Olson, LHP, Cal Poly, #48 Overall: Olson was a pitchability lefty that was expected to go somewhere in the supplemental first to third round range. His ceiling wasn’t considered too high, but he was a fairly safe pick as a college lefty. There’s nothing to criticize here, as this was a solid pick, and Olson reached the majors fairly quickly. Following players selected: Matt Green, Jeff Bianchi, Ivan DeJesus. Signing bonus: $650,000.
3. Nolan Reimold, OF, Bowling Green, #61 Overall: Reimold was widely considered an overdraft at the time, especially considering a slump he went through as a junior. However, he still had a good hit tool and good raw power, along with a strong arm. The drawback was that most just thought of his ceiling as being an average big league corner outfielder. Following players selected: Stephen Head, J. Brent Cox, Kris Harvey. Signing bonus: $590,000.
4. Brandon Erbe, RHP, McDonough School (MD), #93 Overall: Erbe was a local product that didn’t lack for attention during his senior year. He was a kid who improved year-to-year, but he was still considered a project by most clubs entering June. His frame and natural stuff, however, was considered attractive, and he was expected to go in this range, perhaps a round or two later. Following players selected: Nick Weglarz, Ricky Brooks, Matt Goyen. Signing bonus: $415,000.
5. Kieron Pope, OF, East Coweta HS (GA), #123 Overall: Pope was expected to go anywhere from the third to sixth round as a powerful prep outfielder. His body was his standout tool, if you can call that a tool, and most thought his bat would be adequate with his power potential. His arm wasn’t anything special, and neither was his speed, so he was essentially a prep corner outfielder. 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 HS (NJ), #9 Overall: Rowell came with a tag of a huge power prospect, and he was without a definitive defensive home. He was expected to go anywhere from this slot to the early 20s in the first round, mainly due to the bat. There were concerns about him being a batting practice star, but Jordan felt that wasn’t the case. Following players selected: Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer, Kasey Kiker. Signing bonus: $2,100,000.
2. Pedro Beato, RHP, St. Petersburg JC (FL), #32 Overall: Beato was in a unique situation leading up to the 2006 draft, as he was taken as a draft-and-follow by the Mets the previous year. He ended up not signing, and he was expected to go in the neighborhood of the late first round. He had a power arm, but was still coming back from previous Tommy John surgery at the time. Following players selected: Emmanuel Burriss, Brooks Brown, Kyler Burke. Signing bonus: $1,000,000.
3. Ryan Adams, SS, Jesuit HS (LA), #58 Overall: Adams was a difficult prospect to read leading up to the draft thanks to Hurricane Katrina. He fit mainly as a solid second base prospect in the minds of most, and he didn’t project to add tons of offensive value. He was expected to go somewhere in this range, though he could have fallen to the fourth round. Following players selected: Sean Black, Brent Brewer, Wade LeBlanc. Signing bonus: $675,000.
4. Zach Britton, LHP, Weatherford HS (TX), #85 Overall: Britton was another projectable prep arm that the Orioles liked. At 6’3’’, Britton looked like the usual prep project, and he was expected to go anywhere from the second to fifth round. There wasn’t much hope for him moving fast through the system, but there was a good amount of potential here. Following players selected: Dallas Buck, Cyle Hankerd, Chad Tracy. Signing bonus: $435,000.
5. Blake Davis, SS, Cal State Fullerton, #115 Overall: Davis was considered a two tool player, with good hit and field tools. His arm was lacking, and he never really projected to add any power in the long run. Most scouts thought of him as a future utility player, and he was overdrafted a little here. Following players selected: Ben Snyder, Bryant Thompson, Marcus Lemon. Signing bonus: $282,500.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Jason Berken (6th), Clemson, $155K bonus; RHP Pat Egan (36th), Quinnipiac
2007 Draft: $8.0 Million Budget
1. Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech, #5 Overall: I think we all know plenty about Wieters by now. Jordan had the strength to go with best player available here, despite the high price tag associated with Wieters due to the Scott Boras factor. Plus bat and plus fielding at a premium position were available here, and I haven’t heard a single criticism of the pick. Following players selected: Ross Detwiler, Matt LaPorta, Casey Weathers. Signing bonus: $6,000,000.
2. Tim Bascom, RHP, Bradenton (Indy), #129 Overall: The Orioles were without second and third round picks, so Bascom was the next player picked after Wieters. Bit of a drop-off, don’t you think? Bascom had a funny situation, having been drafted the previous year in the sixth round, deciding not to sign, then being declared ineligible. He wasn’t expected to go nearly this high. Following players selected: Derek Norris, Eric Farris, Isaiah Froneberger. Signing bonus: $200,000.
3. Jake Arrieta, RHP, TCU, #159 Overall: Arrieta was another Scott Boras client, though he had a rough spring, especially compared to Wieters. Having entered the spring as a surefire first round pick, probably in the top half, Arrieta lost his stuff a bit, and he didn’t look like a high-ceiling pitcher. He was still supposed to go no later than the second round, so this was a steal. Following players selected: Bradley Meyers, Caleb Gindl, Connor Graham. Signing bonus: $1,100,000.
4. Joseph Mahoney, 1B, Richmond, #189 Overall: Mahoney’s lone standout tool entering the draft was his power, and even then, he was not elite. He had a fairly discriminating eye, but his hit tool grade was not supposed to improve too much in pro ball from the average grade it had at the time. He projected as a backup first baseman or designated hitter in pro ball. Following players selected: Jack McGeary, Dan Merklinger, Cory Riordan. Signing bonus: $110,000.
5. Matt Angle, OF, Ohio State, #219 Overall: Angle featured a few things that he was good at, and he really rode those things to death. He featured plus speed and a decent hit tool, and he used his speed to become an above-average center fielder with a good arm. His best feature was actually his eye at the plate, as he became an on-base machine. He could have gone earlier than this seventh round pick. Following players selected: P.J. Dean, Efrain Nieves, Jeff Cunningham. Signing bonus: $110,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Brandon Cooney (30th), Florida Atlantic.
2008 Draft: $6.9 Million Budget
1. Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego, #4 Overall: Like Wieters, I think we’re all familiar with Matusz by now. Matusz is one of a long list of players that the Angels have failed to sign over the years, and the Orioles benefited by getting the best college pitcher in the 2008 class. He did come with a big price tag, but Jordan got an elite arm in the exchange. Following players selected: Buster Posey, Kyle Skipworth, Yonder Alonso. Signing bonus: $3,200,000*.
2. Xavier Avery, OF, Cedar Grove HS (GA), #50 Overall: Avery was widely considered a project at the plate, though he was expected to go in the area of the second round. His plus-plus tool was his speed, which was considered possibly the best speed tool in the entire draft class. However, his hitting and fielding needed work, and this pick was a project from the start. 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 was somewhat like Avery in that he had numerous questions about his prospect status. He was thought of as more of a fourth to sixth round pick, but only because he never really developed any standout tool. He profiled as a ‘tweener in the outfield, but Jordan felt Hoes fit better in the middle infield. Following players selected: Roger Kieschnick, Edgar Olmos, Zach Stewart. Signing bonus: $490,000.
4. Kyle Hudson, OF, Illinois, #116 Overall: Once upon a time, I was as big of a college football fan as I was a baseball fan, and I knew more about Hudson as a wide receiver. However, on the diamond, he was more like Matt Angle, an on-base machine with plus-plus speed, though his arm was weaker than Angle’s, and his speed was a bit more elite. He was expected to go somewhere around this fourth round draft slot. Following players selected: Brandon Crawford, Curtis Petersen, Tyler Cline. Signing bonus: $287,000.
5. Greg Miclat, SS, Virginia, #146 Overall: Miclat was expected to go somewhere in the seventh to tenth round range, as his value was mostly in his glove. However, even with a plus glove, his arm was weak in the spring before the draft, as he had been recovering from surgery. His bat meant he profiled more as a utility infielder. 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; RHP Jesse Beal (14th), South County SS (VA), $275K bonus
2009 Draft: $8.5 Million Budget
1. Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco HS (CA), #5 Overall: Hobgood was widely considered an overdraft by most analysts, including myself, though it was part of a wider strategy to spread money throughout the Orioles’ draft. Hobgood featured a mature body, with less projection than most elite prep arms, but he’s considered safer than other arms. Following players selected: Zack Wheeler, Mike Minor, Mike Leake. Signing bonus: $2,422,000.
2. Mychal Givens, SS, Plant HS (FL), #54 Overall: Givens was a two-way talent that featured a plus-plus arm and potential at the plate. Like the Orioles’ 2008 early picks, Givens was considered a bit of a project at the plate, though all the tools are there to form an elite hitter. He had a very high ceiling, but there was a significant amount of risk. He was expected to go somewhere in this area. Following players selected: Tommy Joseph, Blake Smith, Billy Hamilton. Signing bonus: $800,000.
3. Tyler Townsend, 1B, Florida International, #85 Overall: Townsend raised his stock more than most in the spring of 2009, as he put up huge numbers during his junior year. His hit tool rated as potentially above-average at the Major League level, though he offered little outside of that. He was expected to go somewhere in the third to sixth round range. Following players selected: Chris Dominguez, David Hale, Donnie Joseph. Signing bonus: $417,600.
4. Randy Henry, RHP, South Mountain CC (AZ), #116 Overall: Henry’s situation was unique, as he was an elite prospect in high school, only to blow out his elbow and miss his senior year. He landed at South Mountain to improve his draft stock, and he pitched only out of the bullpen in small spurts during the spring. He had a high ceiling, and he was supposed to go anywhere from the fourth to tenth round. Following players selected: Jason Stoffel, Mycal Jones, Mark Fleury. Signing bonus: $365,000.
5. Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Oklahoma City, #146 Overall: Tolliver was a diminutive lefty with a good arm, but questions about his durability. He was fairly new to the prospect scene during the spring, having only come onto the national stage during play on the Cape in the summer of 2008. He was expected to go anywhere from the third to sixth round. Following players selected: Brandon Belt, Thomas Berryhill, Daniel Tuttle. Signing bonus: $200,000.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Aaron Wirsch (7th), El Toro HS (CA), $200K bonus; RHP Ryan Berry (9th), Rice, $417,600 bonus; RHP Jake Cowan (10th), San Jacinto JC (TX), $175K bonus; C Michael Ohlman (11th), Lakewood Ranch HS (FL), $995K bonus; LHP Jarret Martin (18th), Bakersfield JC (CA), $250K bonus; LHP Cameron Coffey (22nd), Houston Christian HS (TX), $990K bonus; OF Brenden Webb (30th), Palomar JC (CA), $250K bonus
Joe Jordan has shown a few tendencies in his first five drafts at the helm of the Orioles’ scouting department. The first is a tendency to love speed from his hitters beyond the first round. However, in the first round Jordan usually goes with players that are a little more of a finished product instead of just being athletic. You can argue that Snyder and Rowell were more finished products than more athletic prep hitters at the time. They haven’t panned out, but that view was widely considered correct at the time of those drafts. In general, Jordan also prefers prep hitters over collegiate, but players such as Matt Angle and Tyler Townsend go against that philosophy. Townsend in particular is a strange pick when looking at Jordan’s past history, as he’s neither athletic nor a prep hitter. However, it seems they were looking for a slot pick at the time, and they didn’t want any arm at that slot. Another interesting trend is Jordan’s willingness to go either with one big-name player at the top or to mix and match with over slot bonuses in later rounds beyond the first. Wieters and Matusz qualify in the first group, but the 2009 draft shoes an interesting philosophy that netted them multiple quality picks beyond their first in Matt Hobgood. In addition, Jordan does have an affinity for the three big states in Florida, Texas, and California. He also enjoys finding some prospects in the Baltimore area, which is obviously easier to scout when it is close by. Finally, Jordan likes pitchers that are projectable, even if they are college prospects. He wants tall, lanky pitchers who will fill out. Hobgood again is anomaly in this situation, but as part of the broader philosophy, he doesn’t necessarily stand out.
Looking at draft budgeting, the Orioles have been one of the better teams at investing in the draft in recent years. Following the expensive signings of Wieters and Matusz, they spread a great deal of money out over multiple players in 2009, reaching about $8.5 million in draft spending. I’d expect more of the same in 2010. The Orioles pick at numbers 3, 85, 118, and every 30 picks after that, assuming that Rod Barajas signs a Major League deal with another club before the draft. Seeing as the Orioles are down a second-round pick, and they didn’t pick up any compensation picks, I see them going after multiple players that fell due to signability issues and signing them up themselves. The best examples of that in 2009 were Michael Ohlman and Cameron Coffey, a pair that signed bonuses comparable to the end of the first round when looking at the assigned slots of their bonuses. If they don’t want to spread their money out as much this year, and there might be a clear cut number three pick come June that makes them want to do so, they could easily allocate the majority of their resources towards that pick. I don’t see anyone commanding $6+ million at the number three pick this year like Donavan Tate did a year ago, but it’s quite possible.
Specific players that could be linked to the Orioles include Anthony Ranaudo, Jameson Taillon, and Christian Colon. In my latest mock, I have them going with Taillon, and he could easily command a bonus of $6+ million, perhaps even a Major League contract, though I don’t necessarily think that will be the case. Ranaudo will almost definitely need a Major League contract, though the Orioles haven’t been against that in the past, as Brian Matusz signed a Major League contract in 2008. Many Baltimore fans have expressed an interest in Christian Colon, and assuming a good recovery, he could be an option at #3. However, it would probably be a signability pick and drafting for need in a way, and I’d expect they’d only pick him there if he promises to sign for slot. Looking beyond the third pick, the Orioles could be looking in numerous directions, as Jordan is a little hard to peg, especially considering his lack of a second-round pick. Guys such as Reggie Golden, Michael Lorenzen, and Ty Linton could be on their radar as athletic prep bats with projection, and all would project as plus hitters with time. Other options could include Josh Mueller, Dixon Anderson, and Tommy Kahnle, all intriguing arms with some upside. I expect a fair mix in terms of ages and positions in their draft, as Jordan is known to draft for balance. I respect an approach like that, and I graded up their 2009 draft as a result. It makes my job of predicting that much harder, but it’s good for the Orioles’ farm system in the long run.
*Bonus information came from BA.
What do you guys think? What will the Orioles do?