As we continue our review of the 2016 MLB Draft, let’s take a look at the Baltimore Orioles and their most recent draftees.
First Pick: Pick 27, Cody Sedlock, RHP, University of Illinois
Sedlock rose up draft boards this past spring, going from a mediocre bullpen arm to one of the better starting pitching draft prospects available from the college ranks. A big part of this was thanks to his decision to scrap his four seamer and focus on his two seamer from hell. Sedlock pitching is what groundhog nightmares are made of. Earthworms stay far under ground when he’s pitching, even if it starts raining. His pro debut showed some real strengths, but also areas for improvement - notably his control. He threw 27 innings, with a 3.00 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 8.3 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, and a fantastic 2.0 GO/AO. He’s already their top prospect - this time next year, he should be top 100 prospects.
Biggest Steal: Pick 54, Keegan Akin, LHP, Western Michigan University
The Orioles picked a few guys that could be listed here, depending on your taste. Matthias Dietz was perhaps my favorite sleeper JC arm in this year’s draft. Alexis Torres was one of the better Puerto Rican talents not named Delvin Perez. Lucas Humpal was a good senior sign in the ninth round, who debuted this summer with 3.34 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 3.0 K/BB, and a ridiculous 3.5 GO/AO. Normally, he’d be the winner, but the Orioles also grabbed Keegan Akin in the second round, and Austin Hays in the third round. Both could’ve gone a round higher than they did. Hays crushed the ball, hitting .336/.386/.514 over 153 plate appearances, with four home runs, four stolen bases, and a 168 wRC+, after doing the same all spring at Jacksonville University. Akin was a favorite of our own reillocity going into the draft, thanks to some strong statistical markers. There were few pitchers drafted in 2016 who did better in their first taste of pro ball - a 1.04 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 10.0 K/9, 4.1 K/BB, and a 1.0 GO/AO over 26 innings. As a lefty with three average or better pitches already, I have a feeling Akin is going to make lasting until pick #54 look like a mistake.
Post-10th Round Sleeper: Round 11, Zach Muckenhirn, LHP, North Dakota
The Orioles really focused on college arms in this draft, and most of the succesful pro debuts came from those arms. There are five players after the tenth round that stick out statistically: Zach Muckenhirn (11th), Ruben Garcia (14th), Layne Bruner (18th), Cole Billingsley (19th), and Joe Johnson (40th). But for now, I’m going with Muckenhirn, who was one of the top NCAA DI pitchers statistically in 2016. The pitchability lefty doesn’t have great stuff, topping out in the low 90s with a fringy secondaries. But he knows how to pitch with what he has. Over the first 33.1 innings of his pro career, he had a 2.43 ERA, 2.29 FIP, 9.2 K/9, 11.3 K/BB (!), and 1.2 GO/AO. He will have to prove he can make adjustments as he moves up the ladder, but at the very least he could have a future as a LOOGy.
Overall, I really like what the Orioles did in this draft. They had a nice mix of risk and safety. I think they should have gone with a few more bats - they went 11 rounds straight with pitching between the 8th and 18th rounds. But I’d give them a solid B+.