Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Draft Day

Posted by Mike on June 6, 2006

The Rule IV Draft is today and the Orioles own the 9th overall selection.  More than any others, I've repeatedly heard two names connected to the Orioles. 

The first is Tim Linecum, who just might have the best overall stuff in the draft: mid-90's heat (touching 98), plus curve, improving slider and changeup. 

The problem is that he's under his listed height of 6 feet and was abused by his college coach (even registering a 146 pitch count on one occasion).  He's earned a reputation as being "rubber-armed", but you don't get that kind of reputation by enduring a reasonable workload as an amateur.  He might even be shut down for the season by whatever team drafts him.  Some believe that his stuff and resiliency would be best deployed in the bullpen. 

He is BA's #2 rated prospect in the draft but it's likely that he will still be on the board when the O's pick because of the way the teams selecting ahead of them match up.

The second name floating around is that of the top prep position player in the draft (albeit in a depleted field); Billy Rowell.  He's Baseball America's #17 rated draft prospect. 

Rowell certainly fits an organizational need, since he can both hit a baseball and play an infield position.  It's also likely that his bonus demands won't be quite as high as Linecum's.  Right now, he plays a passable shortstop with good hands and a strong arm, but scouts expect his range to limit him to 3B as he fills out.  He has legitimate 70 power (on the 20-80 scale) which would instantly make him as big of a power threat as anyone in the O's system. 

In a few short hours, we will find out who the O's first round draft pick is.   They also have a supplemental first round pick for the free agent loss of BJ Ryan (plus Toronto's 2nd round pick, but the O's lost theirs signing Ramon Hernandez).  Later tonight, I'll get another post up analyzing the entire first day.


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