It's said you can never be too rich, too thin or have too many Orioles draft reviews...okay, nobody's ever said that before just now, but we'll test the theory all the same. Having considered Stacey's review of 2010 and Kevin's review of 2009, the 2011 draft is the order of the day.
The 2011 draft took place on June 6-8 and the Orioles celebrated by sweeping the Oakland A's. Former first round pick Brian Matusz, Chris Jakubauskus and Zach Britton were the starting pitchers and winning pitchers in that series. Ah, precious memories.The 2010 Orioles, however, probably would have been a 100 loss team had Buck Showalter not taken the reins from the two headed managerial trainwreck of Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel in late July. Showalter guided them to a 34-23 finish and most likely out of the top draft spot. The Pittsburgh Pirates ended up securing the first pick with a 105 loss season. They would ultimately use that pick on Gerritt Cole.
The 2011 draft class is notable as being the last class scouted, selected and signed by the MacPhail front office. It is also one of the classes that has been hardest hit by the purges of the Duquette regime. Fourth round pick Kyle Simon was one of the first to go (in the trade to Philly that netted Jim Thome), but the organization since has parted ways with Trent Howard (7th), Devin Jones (9th), Adam Davis (11th) and seven others. Today's top prospect lists are also littered with players taken in 2011's first round. In addition to players the Orioles might have plausibly elected with the 4th pick, Kolten Wong, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Jackie Bradley, Henry Owens and C.J. Cron were also selected in 2011's first round.
The Orioles signed 22 of their 50 picks. K.J. Hockaday was a notable pick they were unable to sign. Hockaday may just be available again this year come draft time, but there are legitimate questions as to whether or not he's a guy the O's want to roll the dice on a second time.
1st Round, 4th Overall - Dylan Bundy - Owasso HS (Owasso, OK) - SP
Bundy was not exactly a controversial pick, but there was some discussion at the time of the Orioles possibly taking fellow Oklahoman Archie Bradley or polished college infielder Anthony Rendon with the 4th pick. Bundy didn't make his professional debut until the magical year of 2012. Bundy deftly moved through the system in 23 starts (29.9 K% across three levels) culminating in a two game cup of coffee. After such a promising start, Orioles fans have been made to wait for more as Bundy underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after Spring Training in 2013. That being said, talent evaluators still consider Bundy a top prospect for the Orioles and one of the top prospects in Major League Baseball and Bundy figures to make his 2014 debut within the month.
Potential picks not taken: Anthony Rendon, Jose Fernandez, Archie Bradley, Sonny Gray
2nd Round, 64th overall - Jason Esposito - Vanderbilt University - 3B
Esposito was touted as a slick fielding 3rd baseman with power potential. The O's paid a $600,000 bonus to Esposito for the privilege of adding him to their system. He is now a 23 year old repeating at Frederick and has logged 252 games in the minors with 31 doubles, 10 homers and a .940 fielding percentage. By comparison, manchild Dan Vogelbach selected by the Cubs four picks later has mashed 51 doubles and 39 homers in 231 career games.
3rd Round, 94th Overall - Mike Wright - ECU - RHP
Wright was used as both a starter and reliever in college and was seen as a decent bet to move quickly through the O's system as a reliever. Outside of a few relief appearances at Delmarva in 2011, Wright has been used exclusively as a starter by the Orioles and has methodically climbed the ladder.
Potential picks not taken: Matt Purke, Tony Cingrani
5th Round, 155th overall - Matt Taylor - Middle Georgia College - LHP
Taylor is a lefty that tends to keep the ball on the ground, so it stands to reason that maybe he'll get a long leash from management. Taylor made 37 starts at Delmarva that were generally unimpressive on paper, but he's had a good run at Frederick this year, though he's a bit old for the league.
Potential picks not taken: Matt Skole, Mookie Betts
6th Round, 185th overall - Nick Delmonico - Farragut HS (Nashville, TN) - 3B
The O's went a little nuts to sign Delmonico as they paid what was, at least at the time, the highest bonus ever paid outside of the first round...$1,525,000. Coincidentally, future Baby Bird Matt Price was selected a pick of head of Delmonico by the Diamondbacks. Delmonico had two solid offensive seasons in the system (114, 126 wRC+), but was shipped off to Milwaukee fro Francisco Rodriguez in 2013's stretch run.
Potential picks not taken: Marcus Semien
26th Round, 785th overall - Zach Davies - Mesquite HS (Gilbert, AZ) - RHP
Tim Berry was an extreme case, but here we have another late round pick that Joe Jordan and company felt strongly enough about to pay a premium in order to secure his signature. The O's paid Davies a WELL overslot $575,000 and he has rewarded their investment. The buzzword with Davies has been "pitchability." Davies debuted made his AA debut thus year, but has been sidetracked by injuries.
2011 Orioles Draft Picks Still in System
Johnny Ruettiger, CF, 8th Round: A classic Joe Jordan pick. Ruettiger is a supremely gifted athlete...slick in the field, patient at the plate and swift on the basepaths. Also, like many of this type of Joe Jordan draft pick, the hit tool has been slow to develop. Ruettiger walked 45 times and stole 43 bases at Frederick in 2013, but only SLG-ed .287. Future O Stephen Tarpley was selected a few picks later by the Indians, but they were unable to sign him.
Tyler Wilson, RHP, 10th Round, UVA: Also at Bowie, Wilson is another pitcher from the 2011 that doesn't seem to show one outstanding tool, nor does he show any glaring weakness. In fact, Wilson has seen his strikeout and groundball percentages spike prodigiously this season (he also made 16 starts at Bowie last year).
Mark Blackmar, RHP, 16th Round: Has alternated between the rotation and the pen since 2011, but has worked exclusively out of the pen this year. Generates a lot of grounders and has missed more bats this year than in any since his Gulf Coast League debut in 2011. Blackmar's pitching this year at Frederick and at 22 is considered to be on the younger end of the Carolina League's age spectrum.
Jerome Pena, 2B, TCU, 38th Round: Now in his 153 game in the Carolina League, he seems to have topped out at Frederick.
Bennett Parry, LHP, (no school): Parry's made 12 starts across the system, but the big (6'6", 225) lefty seems destined for the bullpen. He went to the same high school (two years between graduation and draft) that produced Tony Gwynn, Garry Templeton and Phil Plantier.