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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles mock draft roundup

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Draft day draws ever closer for the Orioles. Who might get picked #2? Plus, the 1970 O’s move on in MLB’s sim bracket.

2019 Major League Baseball Draft
The draft may look about this empty in 2020.
Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

In the parallel universe where everything is exactly like this one except no one had ever heard of COVID-19 and there were no rain delays, the Orioles would have played 56 games by now. Instead, there have been no games played and MLB team owners collectively are doing their best to make sure that there are no games played in 2020.

With no games in America to talk about, there’s not a whole lot to think about with baseball here except for who the Orioles might take with the #2 pick in next month’s draft. The latest mock drafts have introduced some intrigue to what seemed two months ago to have only one real possibility.

In yesterday’s Baseball America mock draft - their fifth update of the spring - they have the Orioles choosing Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin. This is something of a chalk pick in that most rankings like Martin as the #2 prospect in the draft and most earlier mocks have just had the Orioles taking Martin, no question. That has evolved somewhat lately, as MLB’s Jim Callis recently told MASN’s Steve Melewski:

There is some question to where (Martin) will play. He opened this year at third, didn’t throw well and they move him to the outfield in center. Is he a center fielder, a third baseman, an offensive second baseman? That is a little unclear, but he is the best pure hitter in this draft. But I don’t think he’s a lock at No. 2. I think there are a number of teams that would take Asa Lacy ahead of him. He’s the best pitcher in this draft.

Asa Lacy is a left-handed pitcher from Texas A&M. The first Fangraphs mock draft of the season suggests that the Orioles will end up taking Lacy as well. FG’s Eric Longenhagen thinks that would be a “best player available” pick, so no reason for O’s fans to be bummed. Lacy would be a top 50 prospect on the Fangraphs list as soon as he signed, according to Longenhagen.

FG’s insight is that they thinks that Mike Elias leaned towards players with big power in Houston and away from players without big power, and Martin, for all of his strengths, does not.

At ESPN, Kiley McDaniel also thinks that the Orioles are most likely to end up drafting Martin, though he also gives the Orioles a 40% chance of going instead for New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzalez. There is some question as to whether the O’s might prefer to take Gonzales, who’d still be a top 5-10 pick without their taking him, in order to have more money available for possible overslot signings.

McDaniel on Gonzales:

He posted absurd numbers (.488/.610/1.155, 12 homers in 16 games) and has comparable offensive talent to Martin, but with fringy speed and defense at second base that could eventually move him to left field; Keston Hiura is the most common comp thrown out here.

Hiura, the #9 pick in 2017, debuted last year and batted .303/.368/.570 with 19 home runs in 84 games. That’s some interesting power, although he’s struck out in almost 31% of plate appearances.

Do you have a player you’re hoping that the Orioles are able to draft? Maybe you’re even hoping that presumptive #1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson, the Arizona State first baseman, slides down to #2. I’m intrigued by the idea of the Orioles taking the chance on getting an overslot guy at #30 or #39, but right now I think my biggest hope is that they take Lacy.

Around the blogO’sphere

Adjustment in Castro’s delivery monitored from long distance (School of Roch)
I’m not very high on Miguel Castro’s chances to ever be anything, but maybe it will turn out that the delivery change he was making as baseball ground to a halt will be a difference maker for him.

Doug Brocail says Orioles pitchers have been doing their work during the pandemic (Baltimore Baseball)
According to the pitching coach, Alex Cobb has been one of the particular engaged students in the era of remote Zoom instruction.

Blair leads ‘70 O’s to next round of Dream Bracket 2 (Orioles.com)
In MLB’s Out of the Park Baseball-powered Dream Bracket 2 simulation, the 1970 Orioles beat the 1983 White Sox in seven games, with Paul Blair hitting five homers and driving in 14 home runs. Whoa! Next up in the round of 16, the 1954 Indians.

A look at the Orioles roster as we last saw it (Steve Melewski)
Steve is here with a reminder of who was kicking around at the suspension of spring training, and who might have a chance in the assumed expanded roster if there’s baseball played in 2020.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1968, American League owners agreed to split the league into two divisions, setting the Orioles in the East for the start of the 1969 season, a division where they still remain today.

There is one lone former Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 39th birthday to 2004-08 pitcher Daniel Cabrera.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: British prime minister William Pitt the Younger (1759), blowtorch inventor Carl Richard Nyberg (1858), gold medal decathlete Jim Thorpe (1888), James Bond creator Ian Fleming (1908), novelist Maeve Binchy (1939), singer-songwriter Gladys Knight (1944), singer-songwriter Kylie Minogue (1968), and actress Carey Mulligan (1985).

On this day in history...

In 585 BC, a solar eclipse occurred. This had been predicted by a Greek philosopher, Thales, and coincided with the Battle of Halys, which ended in a truce after the eclipse. As a consequence, this is one of the earliest dates in history that can be used to figure out other dates.

In 1588 AD, the Spanish Armada began to set sail from Lisbon, with the aim of escorting an invasion force from Flanders to England. The Spanish choice to name the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who had no naval experience, as the admiral of the armada, proved to be a poor one.

In 1754, in the first engagement of the French and Indian War, 22-year-old lieutenant colonel George Washington led the Virginia militia regiment to victory against a French patrol in the Battle of Jumonville Glen.

In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, the two countries navies fought the Battle of Tsushima, a decisive Japanese victory. This was the first battle of the era of modern steel battleships and also the first in which radio signals were important.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 28. Have a safe Thursday.