It’s day 1 of the MLB draft that gets the most attention, and for good reason. First round picks, especially high first round picks, are the best chance for any franchise to improve itself. Yet the importance of day 2 shouldn’t be ignored, either.
If a team like the Orioles can find future big leaguers out of the later rounds, that’s the kind of thing that can make a difference, too. If a fourth round pick turns into a back of the rotation starter, you don’t have to sign the Andrew Cashners of the world. A seventh round pick turning into a utility infielder doesn’t leave the team weirdly exposed by a sudden lack of Ryan Flaherty.
Are they going to find any such players in day 2? I don’t know. The best success story in this vein from the current regime is 2013 eighth round pick Trey Mancini. With Mancini playing out of position through no fault of his own and also slumping, it’s unclear the extent to which this will prove to be a success in the long run, but it’s something.
Day 2 in a nutshell
- Time: 1pm Eastern
- Stream: MLB.com
That’s it! The Orioles pick at #87 for their third round selection and again every 30 picks thereafter. In rounds 3-10 there’s only about a minute between picks with everything announced over a conference call.
At some point, maybe as soon as the sixth round, the O’s are likely to start picking college seniors, the “senior signs” who will take small signing bonuses to allow them to spend more money on other players.
The story so far
First round - RHP Grayson Rodriguez - Central Heights (TX) HS
This was something of a surprise pick in that Rodriguez was generally not placed as high as #11 on the pre-draft rankings from evaluators like Keith Law, Fangraphs, and MLB Pipeline. The Orioles passed on a couple of high school arms, lefty Matthew Liberatore and righty Cole Winn, as well as Florida starter Brady Singer.
Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich provided this to O’s beat writers about Rodriguez:
Grayson Rodriguez is a future power pitcher with an advanced delivery and feel for all of his pitches. He has command of four above-average pitches, can shape two distinct breaking balls and attacks the strike zone.
Indeed, if that’s the player who shows up in the Orioles system, that’s pretty good. There does not seem to have been a general belief that Rodriguez has those capabilities, though he was described on MLB Network’s draft broadcast as a “pop-up player” whose stock rose through the spring.
The scouting site 2080 Baseball has some video of Rodriguez in action last month.
The slot value of this pick is about $4.4 million. By taking a bit of a less-regarded player, are the O’s looking to save any money here for later? That’s something that could play out as day 2 unfolds, or even day 3.
This is the third straight year the Orioles have used their top pick on a pitcher and the second in a row they used it on a high-school pitcher.
Competitive Balance Round A - SS Cadyn Grenier - Oregon State
Grenier was the third player from his team picked in the draft’s first 37 picks. One thing that the MLB Network crew was quick to point out on draft night is that Grenier’s teammate, #4 overall pick Nick Madrigal, had been displaced to second base by Grenier’s superior defensive ability at shortstop. That’s something to hang your hat on, at least.
However, Grenier was seen as maybe more of a second round talent, rating at #61 on the Fangraphs prospect board, #68 on MLB Pipeline, and #46 from Law. He’s described by Law, who likes him the most, as a player who “doesn’t have much power but should hit for a high enough average to make him a potential everyday shortstop or very good utility infielder.”
Getting a utility infielder at #37 sounds less exciting, although realistically, by the time you’re out of the first round, getting a big leaguer at all is pretty good. And maybe the Orioles optimism about Grenier will pay off - as a college talent who’s already a good fielder and doesn’t have high expectations for his offense, he might be able to move quickly. The O’s, as you may have heard, could use a shortstop after Manny Machado is gone.
Baseball America put together a little video package about Grenier.
The slot value of this pick is about $1.9 million.
Second round - Pick forfeited with Alex Cobb signing
I don’t want to dwell on this, but I found it interesting that at #52, where the Orioles would have picked if they hadn’t given up the pick, the Blue Jays selected Duke right fielder Griffin Conine, the son of former Oriole Jeff Conine.
Still on the board: Towson University shortstop Richard Palacios, who seems likely to be picked at some point today. Other Maryland connections in MLB Pipeline’s top 200: Navy righty Noah Song (#135) and Terps second baseman Nick Dunn (#174). Perhaps the O’s will pluck someone out of their back yard over the first few rounds today before somebody else can get to them.