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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where it’s mock draft season

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There isn’t much happening in Birdland, but we can have fun dreaming about the talent that may soon don the orange and black.

2019 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Last week we finally found out what the 2020 version of the MLB Draft is going to look like. It’s gonna be short; just five rounds rather than the normal 40. Any player not picked in those five rounds will then be a free agent, available to sign for a $20,000 bonus. This outcome is a loss for players that were expecting to go in those later rounds, but could prove to be a boon for clubs with a keen eye for talent and a knack for recruitment.

Even still, the cream of this year’s class will be found in those five rounds, and the Orioles are in the best position of any team to capitalize. Their 2020 draft bonus pool is largest in the league, and they will get to spread it across six picks:

Round 1, Pick 2 (2nd overall) - $7,789,900 slot value
Round 1, Pick 30 (30th overall) - $2,365,500
Round 2, Pick 2 (39th overall) - $1,906,800 slot value
Round 3, Pick 2 (74th overall) - $844,200 slot value
Round 4, Pick 2 (103rd overall) - $565,600 slot value
Round 5, Pick 2 (133rd overall) - $422,300 slot value

A barrage of mock drafts have started to roll out in recent days, and a consensus is developing. Considering there will be no more college or high school ball played between now and the draft on June 10, it’s safe to say that little will change in terms of who the industry views as the best players in this class. However, who the Orioles will actually pick at number two overall could be up in the air once they get to negotiated with representatives.

MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs agree on who the four top players are in this draft: Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson, Vanderbilt outfielder/third baseman Austin Martin, Texas A&M left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy, and Georgia right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock. It appears to be a coin flip on whether it will be Torkelson or Martin that goes number one to the Tigers with the other falling into the Orioles lap. Neither one would unseat Adley Rutschman as the club’s top youngster. In fact, they would likely slot in behind both the backstop and the team’s top pick in 2018, righty Grayson Rodriguez, for that honor.

The Orioles rebuild still has a long way to go. Rutschman has the makings of a stud, and will almost certainly be a major league regular sometime soon, but it’s impossible to make any distinctions beyond that just yet. Both Rodriguez and D.L. Hall have been impressive, but neither has pitched above A-ball yet. Adding a few college stars this year could help to complement some of the younger talent in the system. Of course, MLB teams cannot draft for “need” in the way that other leagues do. They need to find talent that they believe in and feel they can make better.

Links & Notes

The O’s Intriguing Short-Season Trade Chip - MLB Trade Rumors
While the Orioles minor league cabinet has benefited from increased investment over the last year or so, the talent at the major league level has gotten a bit stale. Even still, they do have a few potential trade candidates should the season get underway this year.

The Remaking of a Pitcher in the KBO: Part 1 - FanGraphs
There are quite a few former Orioles pitchers in the KBO this year. Names like Aaron Brooks, Dan Straily, Mike Wright Jr. and Tyler Wilson might ring a bell. Who’s to say that one of them doesn’t make a career change like Josh Lindblom did, winning the MVP award of the league and then returning to MLB as a better player.

Cal Ripken Jr. believes players can adjust to a season without a clubhouse - NBC Sports
The story buries the lede. The most interesting tidbit in here is that Brady Anderson used to roller blade to games at Camden Yards. Maybe that was common knowledge, but I certainly hadn’t heard it. Why does that makes so much sense? Of course Brady roller bladed around Baltimore in the mid-90s.

A schedule based on geography could be tough in the East - Steve Melewski
I think I have officially reached my breaking point with all of the talk of potential workarounds to get this baseball season underway. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Unless a vaccine is found soon (which is highly unlikely) there is no way that players can feel safe. They will be putting themselves and their families at risk not to mention all of the staff and non-playing personnel needed to put on a game.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Current Orioles closer Mychal Givens is 30 today. The former infield prospect has been a reliable member of the O’s bullpen since 2015, accumulating a 3.40 ERA in 284 total appearances.

It is the 35th birthday of David Hernandez. The righty has bounced around the big leagues for the last decade, but got his start with the Orioles, earning a 4.93 ERA over 180.2 innings for the club between 2009 and 2010. He was traded away following the 2010 season, along with Kam Mickolio, to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for slugger Mark Reynolds.

Happy 42nd to reliever Ryan Bukvich. The last time he pitched in the big leagues was with the 2008 Orioles, when he allowed four runs in 5.1 innings over work.

Lyle Mouton turns 51 today. The former outfielder spent time in the majors with four different clubs, including the 1998 Orioles. In 18 games donning the black and orange Mouton went 12-for-39 with a pair of home runs. The O’s traded him to the Brewers the next summer for outfielder Todd Dunn.

Finally, 17-year MLB vet Juan Beniquez is 70. He put together a solid 1986 season at the plate for the Orioles, slashing .300/.372/.397 with six home runs. He was then dealt to the Royals for two minor leagues, neither of which would ever make it to the bigs, the following off-season.

2011 - The eventual AL Rookie of the Year, Jeremy Hellickson, tosses the first complete game shutout of his career. The 24-year-old allows just four hits as his Rays beat the Orioles 3-0.

2018 - Dylan Bundy bounces back from a historic outing in which he allowed seven runs on four homers and failed to record an out by tossing seven scoreless innings as the Orioles stomp the Rays 17-1. Joey Rickard, recalled from Triple-A Norfolk that day, hits two home runs and drives in four runs. Danny Valencia and Trey Mancini add a round-tripper each.