Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Day 1 (Part 1)

Posted by Mike on June 7, 2006

Here's a quick rundown of the O's draft so far, with a few tidbits about the players selected:

Grade A= Love the Pick

Grade B= Like the Pick

Grade C= Reasonable Pick, but there were better options available

Grade D= C'mon Joe

Grade F= You draft like my friend Joe rides a bike (that is to say, poorly)

Round 1 (9)- Billy Rowell, 3B (HS)

I covered Rowell in my post a few hours before the draft.  In case you missed it, here is what I had to say:

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. 

As expected, the Orioles announced their intention of shifting him to 3B immediately.  Like Brandon Snyder in 2005, Rowell may have been selected a few spots ahead of where he would have gone had the O's selected later in the draft, but he was who they were gunning for all along.  And he instantly slots in behind Nolan Reimold as the Orioles' #2 position prospect. 

Pick Grade: B

Round 1S (32)- Pedro Beato, RHP (JC)

Beato is best known as the best draft and follow candidate from the 2005 draft.  He was a top prep pitcher before needing Tommy John surgery in April 2004.  He came back for his senior season and, like many recovering TJ survivors, struggled with both his stiff and his command.  Still, the Mets took a chance with their 17th round selection and offered him $150,000 to sign.  Beato turned them down and attended St. Petersburg Junior College, thus maintaining his eligibility to sign with the Mets.  After a dazzling JuCo season that saw his fastball return to the mid-90's at times and his slider and changeup showing plus potential, Beato knew he had made the right decision.  It was widely anticipated that the Mets would meet his seven figure demands, since they lacked a first round pick this year.  When he turned down their best offer, the 2006 draft gained yet another first round caliber arm. 

Another interesting sidenote is that it was widely speculated that the O's would take Emmanuel Burriss (SS out of Kent St.) with this pick, whom they had worked out several times.  I was never a big fan of Burriss, who looks like a future role player to me, so the Beato pick is doubly sweet for me.  The Giants, however, were happy to take Burriss with the very next pick.  Apparently, they are trying to corner the market on speedy second basemen (Burriss has a fringe arm). 

Back to Beato, there are also several stories floating around about how great his work ethic is.  Here's a link  (if you have a BA subscription).  And personally, I always marvel at guys willing to turn down more money than they've ever seen before because they believe so strongly in themselves.  The work ethic will come in handy because, at this point, Beato's stuff is soundly ahead of his command.  That's not unusual for a 19 year old, nor is it unusual for a guy two years removed from TJ, but Beato is the type of kid who will put the neccessary work in to correct it.

Pick Grade: A

Round 2 (58)- Ryan Adams, SS (HS)

Adams was drafted as a shortstop, but he profiles as an offensive second basemen.  He's also battled with several hamstring injuries.  That, coupled with his increased muscle mass, has cost him a bit in terms of speed.  He has an advanced approach at the plate and should develop above average power for a middle infielder.  The O's will have to keep him close to the trainer's office, but he has loads of potential.

Pick Grade: C+

Round 3 (85)- Zach Britton, LHP (HS)

Here's a pick I really like.  In the past year, Britton's velocity has shot up from 86-87 to 92-93.  And his lanky 6'3'' frame portends to even more gains in velocity, which could make it a consistent plus plus pitch.  There are two major concerns here.  The first is that his velocity dipped as the summer wore on.  Coincidentally, that's probably the biggest reason that Brandon Erbe was available in the 3rd round last year.  The second concern is that, right now, the fastball is all he has.  His curveball needs loads of work, but there's nothing in his mechanics that will prevent it from developing into an average pitch.  He also has little in the ways of a changeup, which will make him vulnerable to righties at higher levels, but that's hardly damning for an 18 year old.  BA notes that his delivery lacks deception and in his videos you can see the ball  pretty easily out of his hand.  A solid changeup would similarly help negate this problem. 

Overall, I think this was a great high upside pick in the third round.  Who knows, maybe this will become a theme in Joe Jordan's drafts.

Pick Grade: A

Round 4 (115)- Blake Davis, SS (Cal St.- Fullerton)

Blake Davis is polished in the field and that alone gives him an edge in reaching the big leagues.  But his offense lags behind.  He can spray the ball to all fields and is athletic, but it's hard to see how any power is going to develop for this 22 year old.  He should put up some decent, if fairly empty, batting averages before he reaches Bowie, but how he does in the high minors will tell us if the O's have anything more than a backup at the highest level.

Pick Grade: C-

Round 5 (145)- Bobby Henson, SS (HS)

Henson is ultra-toolsy, but scouts have trouble projecting him with the bat.  He was a good quarterback and pitcher in high school and, predictably, his arm is one of his best tools.  He's also quite fast and should be able to handle SS with more experience.  At the plate, expect him to look as poorly as Kieron Pope did last year.  Low batting average and lots of strikeouts in Bluefield.  His ability to refine his approach and make adjustments will determine his long-term success.

Pick Grade: C

I'm going to stop here because, hey, these take a lot of time to write.  I'll continue with more pick reviews tomorrow.  MLB.com has some great footage of each of these players that came in handy for these reports.  I'd encourage you to check them out as well. 

While it looks like I am lukewarm at this point, I'm actually quite encouraged with Joe Jordan's second draft.  There are some trends worth noting, or at least worth tracking to see if they continue.  The first is the selection of elite prep hitters with the first pick.  Both Brandon Snyder and Billy Rowell were considered refined at the plate and athletic enough to become solid defenders.  Rowell should make short work of Bluefield, much like Snyder.  Let's just hope he adapts better to full season ball.  Jordan also has a knack for identifying players that might keep a few scouting directors up at night for passing on them.  Like Nolan Reimold before him, I think Pedro Beato has a good shot at quickly gaining top prospect consideration. 

Last year, Jordan's best picks were his 3rd and 4th picks and, this year, I am most impressed by his 2nd and 4th picks.  That's not a knock on Rowell, just recognition that more talent is expected via the 9th overall slot than the 32nd or 85th.  I already pointed out some similarities between Brandon Erbe and Zachary Britton and, while it would be foolish to expect Britton to explode like Erbe has, it's easy to see the possibility that Britton could develop into a very interesting prospect.  The Bobby Henson pick also reminds me of the Kieron Pope selection last year.  Henson should have much more defensive value and Pope has more power potential, but they are similarly raw players that the organization is perfectly willing to be patient with as they turn their tools into skills. 

Rest easy guys and gals, this was a good draft. 

Part 2 tomorrow.

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2 Responses to “Day 1 (Part 1)”

  1. Ben said

    Two observations:

    1.) This year’s draft class was widely viewed as one of the thinnest in recent memory (in terms of obvious MLB-calibre talent). That the Orioles appear to have gotten any value out of it is another vote of confidence for Joe Jordan.

    2.) The O’s picked 10 position players (6 IF, 2 OF, 2 C) and 9 Pitchers (4 LHP, 5 RHP) on the first day, and 4 of the first 6 picks were Shortstops (at the time of the draft). So much for the much-ballyhooed “philosophy” of stocking up on elite pitching prospects in the minors. Not saying that I disagree with Jordan’s choices, just making a snide comment about Flanagan’s brilliant Theory of How to Build the Minors.

  2. wpeiug43 said

    Here are some links that I believe will be interested

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