The Orioles’ 2018 draft strategy, it seems, is to follow the same pattern as their 2017 draft.
Just as the O’s selected a high-school pitcher with their first overall pick for the second year in a row, their second pick was a familiar one, too. They chose college shortstop Cadyn Grenier out of Oregon State with the No. 37 overall pick during competitive balance round A.
Grenier, like the Orioles’ 2017 second overall pick Adam Hall, is a defensive-minded shortstop whose offense is not as well developed.
Let’s hear it from MLB Pipeline.
There is no doubt he can stay at the premium position long-term, with an outstanding internal clock, good hands, above-average speed to give him excellent range and more than enough arm to make throws from anywhere on the infield. The bigger question is about his offensive game. He’s been putting up better numbers in his junior season, but without a ton of hard contact. He does have bat speed and a little pop to his pull side, but he tends to be off-balance often when he swings.
Grenier was the 2018 Pac-12 defensive player of the year, an award I did not know existed until just now. His presence at Oregon State pushed Nick Madrigal, the No. 4 overall pick by the White Sox, to second base.
So the guy can definitely use the leather. But will he be able to hit at the major league level? He has apparently made strides, at least, improving his offensive numbers in each year at Oregon States. In 2018, his junior year, he hit .330 with an .888 OPS, four homers, and 43 RBIs in 57 games, following marks of .275/.828/5/37 in his sophomore season. That was certainly a step up from his freshman year in 2016, when he batted a meager .240 with a .653 OPS and was held homerless in 52 games.
“He started to hit this year, he started to use the entire field,” said Dan O’Dowd on MLB Network. “A lot of it’s going to come down to projection strength. Is he going to incrementally continue to get better as he gets into the system?”
If you’re looking for opinions on whether this was a good pick...who even knows? Nobody can possibly have a strong sense of who should be the 37th pick in a given draft. At this point you’re sifting through a ton of players with some upside and considerable risks. The deeper you get into the draft, the murkier the waters get. Perhaps this pick will work out. The Orioles could certainly use all the help they can get.