Here's an excerpt for you, this being the size of each year in my draft previews before the draft:
1. Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco HS (CA), #5 overall, 6’4’’/245: This was an unexpected pick. The Orioles had a history of going for expensive players over the last couple of years in Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz, but they apparently wanted to go with the Pirates’ philosophy of save a little here in order to spend a little more later. Hobgood has good pure stuff, but his build is deceiving. He’s not overpowering, and the projectability isn’t completely there, but he still has #2 potential if everything comes together. As with most prep pitchers, he just needs to learn how to command his offspeed stuff. He signed fairly quickly, but hasn’t appeared on a roster yet. DOB: 8/3/90. Signing bonus: $2.422 million.
2. Mychal Givens, SS, Plant HS (FL), #54 overall, 6’1’’/190: Givens was in the running for a first-round slot at the beginning of the year, but the flaws in his game never seemed to be fixed. A two-way player, Givens drew a lot of attention on the mound, where his fastball rated up with anybody in the entire draft class. However, he wasn’t durable enough to be a starter, and his breaking ball was well below average. In the field, his hitting draws question marks, though his strong arm and defensive skills should keep him at short, providing he becomes consistent. However, this is a decent pick for draft position and talent, though he hasn’t signed yet, and it might go down to the final weekend before the signing deadline. DOB: 5/13/90. Commitment: Oklahoma State.
3. Tyler Townsend, 1B, Florida International, #85 overall, 6’3’’/215: Townsend snuck up on everybody this year, as he entered the year as only a possible mid-round pick. However, by the end, I was really thinking someone might call his name at the end of day one. Surprisingly, it was at the beginning of the third round. He has a big bat, and he projects well for both average and power. However, he can’t run at all, his arm is pretty weak, and first base is about it for him if you want even average defense at his position. Altogether, this is about average for all factors I consider, as he signed quickly, but is off to a poor 8-for-47 start (.170) with Aberdeen in the NYPL. DOB: 5/14/88. Signing bonus: $417,600.
4. Randy Henry, RHP, South Mountain CC (AZ), #116 overall, 6’3’’/198: This is probably one of the more intriguing names in the entire draft. Henry was supposed to be a solid 2008 draft prospect before he blew out his elbow and missed his senior year of high school. He ended up at South Mountain as a result, and he was held back a lot during the season. He only threw 11 innings, but as the year went along, his stuff got stronger and stronger. Now he’s considered a 19 year old kid without much mileage on his arm, and he’s got the pure stuff of a high-upside starter. I thought he might last a round or two later, but he’s got the pure talent to be a round or two higher. He still hasn’t signed, and he’s got another year at South Mountain, so he might command a little more money than slot, but he’s going to sign, and it will probably be before the deadline. DOB: 5/10/90. Commitment: None.
5. Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Oklahoma City, #146 overall, 6’0’’/170: Tolliver was also an interesting name to watch entering the draft. Having broken out on the Cape a year ago, he transferred into Oklahoma City from Arkansas-Little Rock and continued his success through most of the year. While I like this pick, I do give some credence to the thought that Tolliver can’t handle a starter’s load, as his frame really isn’t your prototypical pro starter’s. However, his stuff in relief on the Cape tells me he can probably be a lefty setup man, maybe even a closer in a pinch. That’s great value in the 5th round, so I grade this pick up. He hasn’t signed yet, but it will happen, and it will likely happen well before the deadline. DOB: 1/24/88.
The cutoff point in the Orioles' draft in terms of transitioning to unsignable or organizational players is after the David Baker pick in the 14th round.
What do you guys think?
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