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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles’ abbreviated draft is complete

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For the second straight year, Mike Elias went heavy on position players in the draft. Will the strategy pan out? Don’t ask me.

2020 Grape Fruit League Media Availability Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Ahhh. Haven’t these last two days been nice? Thanks to the just-concluded MLB draft, we’ve had actual, real baseball news to talk about amidst an otherwise barren sports landscape. Aaand...now we’re back to the vast emptiness.

How are you feeling about the Orioles’ haul in the draft, O’s fans? I’ll say this for Mike Elias — he certainly didn’t follow the script that any of the national draft prognosticators laid out for him. He started zig-zagging right off the bat, passing on the consensus favorite for the No. 2 pick, Austin Martin, and instead picking Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad, who was projected to go somewhere in the 8-10 range.

From there, Elias continued to go hot and heavy for position players, finishing day one of the draft with Mississippi State shortstop Jordan Westburg and following suit in the next three rounds with Tulane outfielder Hudson Haskin, Ole Miss shortstop Anthony Servideo, and Florida high school third baseman Coby Mayo. Elias finally drafted his first and only pitcher, Iowa prep righty Carter Baumler, in the fifth round. Our Mark Brown provided a breakdown of the Orioles’ six picks.

Some grumbly Orioles fans on Twitter were less than enthused with the Birds’ selections, calling ownership cheap for passing on Martin for an underslot guy in Kjerstad, criticizing Elias for not putting more focus on pitching, proclaiming that the O’s overdrafted guys who weren’t highly ranked by the pundits. I mean, I don’t know. Whereas most of us had never heard of any potential 2020 draftees until a month ago, Elias and his staff do this stuff for a living. It’s okay if their evaluations of these players don’t match yours. We’ll have to wait and see how well the players the O’s drafted — and the ones they didn’t — pan out.

Poll

How would you grade the Orioles’ 2020 draft?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A
    (55 votes)
  • 18%
    B
    (177 votes)
  • 15%
    C
    (141 votes)
  • 8%
    D
    (82 votes)
  • 48%
    This exercise is folly. Draft grades are a meaningless construct; how can one be so presumptuous to assign a single letter to players whose futures could present an array of possible outcomes, which won’t truly be determined until several years hence?
    (457 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (25 votes)
937 votes total Vote Now

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the MLB draft ran its usual 40 rounds instead of just five. The 53-15 Orioles drafted Heston Kjerstad and 40 other players, all of whom gladly inked with the Birds within a day. Meanwhile, the 1,000-plus players drafted by other teams all refused to sign, insisting they won’t play for anybody but the Orioles.

Simulation brought to you by the PWAG (Paul’s Wild-Ass Guesses) system.

Links

Connolly: Under-slot move or shrewd pick? Orioles take risk with Heston Kjerstad – The Athletic
Count Dan Connolly as one who's a bit skeptical of Elias’ risky pick of Kjerstad over Martin, saying “Mike Elias better know what the hell he is doing.” We’ll definitely be tracking the careers of Kjerstad and Martin very, very closely for the next few years, especially since the latter ended up with the division rival Blue Jays.

Orioles take Haskin 39th, Westburg talks selection (updated) - School of Roch
Jordan Westburg, the Orioles’ pick at No. 30, describes his style of play as “explosive.” That sounds good, even if I’m not entirely sure what it means.

MLB draft: Baltimore Orioles pick Dowling Catholic star Carter Baumler
Baumler, the Orioles’ fifth-round pick, was considered by some pundits to be a tough sign because of his commitment to TCU. But he’s quoted in this article saying, “The plan is to sign.” Well, good!

10 Fun Facts About the Baltimore Oriole | Audubon
And now for something completely different, here are some fun facts about Baltimore Orioles. The actual birds. Did you know they were originally called “the Baltimore-Bird” because their orange and black feathers matched the heraldic colors of Lord Baltimore? Well, now you know!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the birthday of two former O’s draft picks who later played with the club: 1969 sixth-round catcher Dave Skaggs (69) and Baltimore-born 1990 tenth-rounder Damon Buford (50), son of former Oriole Don.

On this day in 1990, the Orioles shocked the Brewers with a dramatic last at-bat victory. Trailing by a run with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth, Mickey Tettleton tied the game with a home run off Dan Plesac. An inning later, Randy Milligan’s walkoff blast, also against Plesac, sent the Memorial Stadium crowd home happy.

And on this date in 2004, the GiantsBarry Bonds and the Orioles’ Rafael Palmeiro homered in the opener of a doubleheader at Camden Yards — Bonds’ 675th career shot, Palmeiro’s 536th and 537th — marking just the third time in MLB history that two members of the 500-homer club went deep in the same game. Bonds had three hits in that game, and the O’s apparently learned their lesson; in the nightcap, the Orioles walked him five times, four intentionally. Both games went extras, with the Giants winning the first and the O’s the second.