Good morning, Birdland!
It. Is. Draft! Day!!
We finally have some real MLB-related action to care about. Sure, it is being done with a background of disagreement between MLB and the Players Association, and this may be the only actual event that occurs for the league this year. But it’s also something I can watch on TV tonight that isn’t Chopped reruns, so I’m counting that as a win.
By now, you know the deal. The Orioles will make two picks tonight, including the second overall selection, and six picks in total. They have the largest signing bonus pool, and may be the in the best position of any club to really improve their minor leagues.
It’s not required reading, but I would recommend you head over to our “Prospects Hub” and bone up on all of the players that the Orioles could potentially select with that number two pick. I’m a fan of taking Austin Martin, the guy that has been linked to the O’s most often in recent mock drafts. He appears to be a superb athlete and one of the best hitters in the draft. It has been a while since the Orioles have had a guy like that. Sure, a lot can happen between the draft and the big leagues, but he has an impressive set of tools with which to begin.
Four of the Orioles last five first-round picks have turned into, at the very least, quite intriguing prospects. Adley Rutschman (2019, 1st overall) is currently the top catching prospect in all of baseball, and universally considered one of the top 10 prospects overall. Grayson Rodriguez (2018, 11th overall) was viewed as a stretch when the O’s took him, but now he is MLB Pipeline’s 36th-best prospect and 10th-best right-handed pitcher. D.L. Hall (2018, 21st overall) needs to cut down on the walks, but he is still the 69th-best prospect on Pipeline’s list and their 10th-best southpaw. And there is Ryan Mountcastle (2015, 36th overall), the 2019 International League MVP may have questions about his glove, but his bat alone has made him the 94th-best prospects on Pipeline and the fourth-best first baseman.
Whomever the O’s pick tonight will immediately slot into this collection of prospects that will be expected to bring the club back to relevance. No pressure!
Links & Notes
One year later, Orioles’ Adley Rutschman still warranted the pre-draft hype - NBC Sports
The lack of games in 2020 so far has taken away our chance to see Rutschman continue to develop his other worldly abilities down in the minors. This may or may not change his ETA in the bigs. Sure, the club wants him to get some seasoning, but he was already a nearly finished product the day that they drafted him.
Five prospects that could go second overall to the Orioles in MLB Draft - Yahoo! Sports
This list is the first one in a while that I have seen mention Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock among possible options for the Orioles. That’s not to say Hancock isn’t well-regarded. Both Pipeline and FanGraphs have him as the fourth-best prospect overall and the best right-handed pitcher in the draft. But the consensus is that if the O’s go pitcher then it will be Texas A&M’s Asa Lacy. This draft is deep on the mound, and the team could get big talent later on.
Countdown to the 1st round: Latest mock Draft - MLB Pipeline
If you want the absolute final predictions from the MLB Pipeline crew, then you need to follow Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo on Twitter. They will be posting those on the social media site sometime prior to the first round tonight. However, as of this moment, they both have the Orioles snagging Martin. Things can change, but there is starting to be a consensus, which normally indicates the reality.
The 2020 Draft Primer - FanGraphs
It’s good to know about more than just the top prospects in order to truly understand what is happening in tonight’s draft. I highly recommend this Eric Longenhagen piece for just that purpose.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
Julio Mañón turns 47 today. The right-handed pitcher appeared in 22 games for the 2006 Orioles, during which time he allowed 12 earned runs in just 20 innings of work. He returned to the O’s organization in 2008, but has been out of affiliated ball ever since.
Orioles Hall of Famer Ken Singleton turns 73. The longtime outfielder spent 10 seasons with the O’s from 1975 through 1984. He was named to three All-Star games and earned a little MVP buzz on several occasions.
Former catcher Hank Foiles is 91. Foiles spent 11 seasons in the bigs, but just one of them came with the Orioles. He appeared in 43 games for the 1961 O’s before his contract was bought by the Reds the following year.
Finally, it is a melancholy happy birthday for the late Ken Lehman (b. 1928, d. 2010). The southpaw was an Oriole for two years (1957-58), when he accumulated a 3.12 ERA over 130 total innings.
1995 - Orioles third baseman Jeff Manto homers in his fourth consecutive at-bat. He had hit just four home runs in total during his first three big league seasons. He would go on to hit 17 home runs during the 1995 season, but only 31 home runs in total throughout his entire career, which spanned nine seasons, but just 289 games.
2005 - For the first time in MLB history, three members of the 500 home run club appear in the same game: Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro for the Orioles, Ken Griffey Jr. for the Reds. The O’s win 4-3, although Griffey Jr. does hit a bomb in the eighth inning.