The first day of the 2019 MLB draft is in the books and teams like the Orioles can now turn their attention to the later rounds. Coming up on Tuesday afternoon will be rounds 3-10, in which teams who are lucky and good could be able to find some future big leaguers. Most teams, starting in about round 7, will be looking for college seniors to sign inexpensively and fill out low-level rosters in order to save money for signing higher picks.
A simple fact of the MLB draft is that many of these day 2 picks are not ones who anyone other than the most dedicated prospect junkies will ever spend time thinking about. However, they shouldn’t be discounted entirely. Two of the most interesting Orioles of 2019 so far came from these middle round picks. Trey Mancini was an eighth round pick in 2013, while John Means was an 11th round pick in 2014.
The Orioles are probably not going to find the next Mancini today, but maybe they could find players who manage to make it to the big leagues like David Hess (fifth round, 2014), Tanner Scott (sixth round), Stevie Wilkerson (eighth round), and Cedric Mullins (13th round, 2015). And hopefully the new ones do a little better once they make it to the Orioles.
When and how to watch Day 2
- Time: 1pm Eastern
- Stream: MLB.com
That’s it! The Orioles will have the first selection of the day at #79, which is the first pick of the third round. They will pick again at #108 and then every 30 picks thereafter. Unlike last night’s glacial draft telecast, these rounds go quickly, with a minute between picks as teams are all on one giant conference call and chime in at (usually) the appropriate time.
The draft prospect lists
For “best available,” I’m consulting the Fangraphs board because they have kindly updated to indicate which players have already been drafted. Seven of the top 47 prospects on the Fangraphs board are still out there, but these are all high school players who probably have not been drafted because they are not willing to sign for what teams assess that their talent is currently worth.
My dream of the awesome name for a Baltimore accent, Florida high school lefty Hunter Barco, will probably have to wait three years while he attends the University of Florida.
As the Orioles have yet to take a pitcher, the five top-ranked college pitchers on the Fangraphs board:
- Navy RHP Noah Song
- Butler RHP Ryan Pepiot
- Duke LHP Graeme Stinson
- Stanford LHP Erik Miller
- Arkansas LHP Matt Cronin
Song’s draft stock is somewhat complicated as he is a senior who is expected to have to serve in the armed forces before beginning his professional career. Pepiot, Stinson, and Miller are all ranked in the 62-76 range by Fangraphs, so they “feel” right for pick #79.
The Orioles draft story so far
First round - C Adley Rutschman - Oregon State University
The Orioles had the opportunity to draft the player who every prospect evaluator believed was the best talent in the class at #1: Rutschman. GM Mike Elias told reporters that the eventual top four picks were all under “heavy discussion” from the Orioles before they settled on Rutschman, a switch-hitting catcher who is seen as having both a good bat and good defensive skills.
Yes, Orioles fans have heard this story before. Although Matt Wieters was a fine Oriole, picking up 18 WAR over his eight seasons here, he didn’t live up to the draft hype of MATT WIETERS, so some disappointment creeps into the memories. Law thinks that Rutschman could play his way up to the majors by the end of next season. If he does speed through the minors, that would be thrilling, though I don’t think we’ll see him before mid-April 2021.
Second round - SS Gunnar Henderson - Morgan Academy (AL)
The Orioles picked the lefty-batting Henderson out of the Alabama high school ranks with the #42 selection. He was ranked as high as #27 on the Pipeline prospect list, 40th on Fangraphs, and 41st from Law. This does not guarantee that he will ever be a good MLB player, just that the Orioles opinion of him is in line with many in the industry.
From the Pipeline scouting report:
One of the better hitters in this year’s high school class, Henderson produces a lot of hard contact from gap to gap. He has shown more bat speed from the left side of the plate this spring and his power is catching up to his hitting ability as he continues to add muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame. He has been a little faster this year as well, more consistently recording above-average run times.
If you’re thinking that sounds like better than the #42 draft slot, that’s because he’s not without some downside or risk. Law notes that there are “questions about his bat speed” and that Henderson is expected to slide over to third base as he fills out and adds more muscle. Unlike current Orioles minor leaguer Ryan Mountcastle, the experts do seem to believe that Henderson can stick at third base.
Competitive balance round B - CF Kyle Stowers - Stanford University
Stanford’s baseball team was still playing a game even as day 1 of the draft was wrapping up in the very early hours of Tuesday morning, creating this cool moment:
Pretty awesome to see Kyle Stowers drafted while playing. Unique moment. pic.twitter.com/lU4sAXQFhl— Guy Haberman (@GuyHaberman) June 4, 2019
I remember an interview earlier this year where Elias remarked about the need to get good up the middle players (C, SS, CF) keeping him up at night. His first three picks as Orioles GM: catcher, shortstop, center fielder.
Stowers had a bit less of a consensus among the evaluators about his prospect stock. He was not rated at all in Law’s 100, came in at #78 on MLB Pipeline, and ranked as high as #32 from Fangraphs.
The diverging opinions probably reflect who’s optimistic and who’s not about Stowers having an aggressive swing. He only struck out 28 times in 210 at-bats for Stanford this season, but the words “swing and miss” show up in both the Fangraphs and Pipeline capsules about him. The Fangraphs optimists believe in Stowers’s ability to remain in center field, which he’d only switched to this season, with others thinking one of the outfield corners is a more likely spot for him.
How are you feeling about the Orioles draft so far? Do you have a favorite less-regarded prospect or even just awesomely-named prospect you’re hoping the Orioles draft today? I’m still rooting for my last name buddies, Canadian outfielder Dasan Brown and Wayne State righty Hunter Brown. Follow along in the comments for the day 2 picks.