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Weekend Bird Droppings: MLB Draft fallout

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It will be years before we know how well the Orioles did with their big signing bonus pool.

2020 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The draft has come and gone. The results have now had some time to marinate and, since I have not yet given my take anywhere on the internet and “the people” clamor for said takes, I figured I would give them here.

OK, I don’t really have a grand take. I can’t pretend like I knew who any of these players were up until a month or two ago, and even then I didn’t study them close enough to have much of an opinion beyond the first 15 picks or so.

I think the draft didn’t go exactly as the Orioles planned. If you believe reporting, the O’s wanted high school pitcher Nick Bitsko with that 30th overall pick, but the Rays swooped in at 24. That’s a bummer, but they pivoted and it appears made selections that both fit their overall philosophy and will take up most, if not all, of their big signing bonus pool.

Since clubs couldn’t go around and see players in person as much as they would in years past, they had to make do with video and lean even heavier on analytics. These picks reflect that. College players are safer than high schoolers, so the Orioles focused on college players early. Players with one or two carrying tools are easier to project than guys who do everything fairly well. That’s why they went with guys that had big power or big arms or high exit velocities or played superb defense.

MLB drafts can’t be judged right away. The team that adds the most talent doesn’t always add the best big league players. The Orioles needed to bring in guys that they believe can be molded and transformed into producers at the next level. Only time will tell if that’s the case, and by then we won’t care about how they allocated their bonus money.


Orioles, Fourth-Rounder Coby Mayo Agree To Above-Slot Bonus - MLB Trade Rumors
There goes about $1.2 million of the savings from getting Heston Kjerstad rather than a more expensive alternative with the number two pick.

Meet Jordan Westburg, the Orioles’ 30th overall pick who didn’t think he’d be an Oriole - Yahoo! Sports
I really like how the Orioles have recently focused on “up the middle” talent. If a guy can’t stick at shortstop or centerfield, he should be able to move elsewhere on the diamond fairly easily. The O’s have lacked athleticism for a few years, and this philosophy should change that.

‘From the ground up:’ Orioles’ top pick Heston Kjerstad’s growth mirrors that of the family water business - Baltimore Sun
Who knows how good of a big leaguer Kjerstad will one day be, but I have a feeling we may be seeing him in some home run derbies eventually, and I am totally fine with that.

How with each passing day Major League Baseball keeps missing the point - ESPN
There will be MLB in 2020, but man is it gonna be kinda lame!

The 2020 MLB draft pick who could make the majors first on all 30 teams - ESPN
The O’s loaded up on college bats. Those guys don’t typically move through the system quite as fast at their pitcher counterparts, but that doesn’t mean we will have to wait long to see some of the fruits of the 2020 class.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday this weekend? Happy birthday!

Pedro Strop turns 35 today. The right-handed pitcher came to the Orioles as a “player to be named later” in exchange for fellow reliever Mike Gonzalez. Strop spent parts of three seasons from 2011 through 2013 as an Oriole with the most impressive performance coming during the 2012 season, where he appeared in 70 games and posted a 173 ERA+ over 66.1 innings.

It is the 68th birthday of catcher Ernie Whitt. The former backstop spent most of his 15-year career with the rival Blue Jays, but did play in 35 games for the 1991 O’s before being released that July.

Finally, it is also the birthday of the late Tom Gastall (b. 1932, d. 1956). The former catcher played two seasons for the Orioles (1955-56) before the light aircraft he was piloting on September 16, 1956 had engine problems and crashed into the Chesapeake Bay.

This day in history

1999 - The Orioles score a franchise-record 22 runs in a 22-1 beating of the Atlanta Braves. Cal Ripken Jr. leads the way with a 6-for-6 performance with two home runs, five runs scored and six RBI. Will Clark adds five RBI on four hits, and Mike Mussina dominates on the mound with seven innings and one run allowed.