One of the hallmarks of the early 21st century Orioles dark ages was that the draft was one of the most exciting nights of the season. The teams, obviously bad and going nowhere, offered little hope on a nightly basis. The seductive dream of the future, wrapped up in possibilities of names who have yet to disappoint us, is hard to resist on such a night. With how the O’s are playing this year, those days are back, at least for tonight.
It’s not quite as exciting as the days when the Orioles were picking in the top 5 every year. As bad as they were last year, the Orioles were not that bad. If it’s any consolation - and it’s not, really - they sure seem to be headed for a top 5 pick in next year’s draft. As of this writing, the O’s are in line for next year’s #1 overall pick. Yikes.
For tonight, the Orioles have picks #11 and #37. That’s their first round pick for last year’s 75-87 performance as well as a competitive balance that they thankfully did not trade. The Orioles do not have a second round pick, which would have been at #52, as a result of signing Alex Cobb. The O’s will have a bonus pool of $8,754,400 to spread around the first ten rounds.
Draft broadcast info
- Time: 7pm Eastern (pre-show at 6pm)
- TV: MLB Network
- Stream: MLB.com
Day two of the draft will go through rounds 3-10 beginning at 1pm tomorrow. That is an online stream only. Day three of the draft, for the true junkie, will power through rounds 11-40 beginning at 1pm on Wednesday.
Possible Orioles picks
With hours to go until the first round kicks off, not even the Orioles may know who they are going to pick. The ten teams drafting ahead of them will make picks that determine who the Orioles even have to choose from. Here are some names to keep an eye on from the final round of mock drafts from some mainstream prospect writers:
Ryan Weathers - LHP - Loretto (TN) HS
ESPN’s Keith Law has the Orioles selecting Weathers, the son of former MLB pitcher David Weathers, whose 19-year career took him to nine different teams. Law rates the younger Weathers as the 8th-best prospect in the draft, noting that he has “good command for his age of both his fastball and above-average curveball.”
MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo also has the Orioles taking Weathers. The general expectation seems to be that the Orioles are aiming for pitching, with Mayo reporting they also have interest in California’s Cole Winn, who may not be available, Texas righty Grayson Rodriguez, and college starters including USF’s Shane McClanahan and Stetson’s Logan Gilbert.
RHP Cole Winn - Orange Lutheran (CA) HS
Winn is the O’s pick from Mayo’s colleague at MLB Pipeline, Jim Callis. The other mocks have Winn gone before the O’s select, with Law projecting him at #2 to the Giants and Mayo at #10 to the Pirates. So don’t get your hopes up, is what I’m saying, no matter how enticing this from MLB Pipeline sounds:
Winn flashes three plus pitches, carrying his fastball deep into starts and showing an improved slider with new life. His slider was more of a cutter at first, with not a ton of tilt to it, then it was slurvy, and now it’s often a plus three-quarters power breaker he throws for strikes. He’s not afraid to throw a changeup when he needs it ... With his clean and easy delivery, he should develop more consistent command.
The Orioles pitching development track record in recent years is not so great when it comes to developing offspeed pitches or helping pitchers refine their command, but that’s a different story than drafting the best player they can.
3B Jonathan India - University of Florida
The Fangraphs duo of Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel sees India, who is their 9th-rated player, falling to the Orioles, though they also describe the O’s as “all over the map” - shocking, for the team that bumbled through the offseason with indecisiveness that led to their not even being able to re-sign Ryan Flaherty - with possibilities including prep pitchers like Weathers and college pitchers like Mississippi’s Ryan Rolison, a lefty.
India doesn’t make it down to the O’s by the Mayo or Callis mocks, with both of them thinking the Reds take him at #6. Law thinks India will still be on the board when the O’s pick, though he mocks India to the Blue Jays at #12 right after the O’s take Weathers.
They see India as one of the more high-floor players of the draft, describing him as “a high probability, 2 to 3 win, every day third baseman.” Most teams could use one of those, assuming that’s what he turns into.
Our friends over at Lookout Landing wrangled the SB Nation baseball sites together for a mock draft. With Weathers, Winn, and another well-regarded prep arm, Matthew Liberatore, all off the board, I chose India as well. You can find the rest of that mock here.
Bonus names: Fangraphs suggests to keep an eye out for New Jersey prep outfielder Nick Decker with the second pick and Pennsylvania prep shortstop Sean Guilbe in the third round.