A Completely Pointless Draft Exercise: 2021

It's time for the sixth edition of the the Complete Pointless Draft Exercise! The goal is to simply take a look at what has happened previously at the draft positions the Orioles have this year for the first few rounds of the draft. As always, we'll use the Baseball-Reference draft archive, and all WAR totals are bWAR unless otherwise noted.

A friendly reminder: there is no practical purpose to this. It's just a fun exercise, and a bit of nostalgia as we approach the crap shoot that is the MLB Draft.

If you're interested, check out last year's version here. The Orioles have four picks through the 3rd round this year, let's take a look.

5th Overall Pick

There have been two recent selections here for the O's, both relatively recent. In 2009, RHP Matt Hobgood was chosen out of the California high school ranks. You are likely familiar with how that turned out. This was called out as a cost-saving pick at the time, and Hobgood never really showed much promise. Across six minor league seasons, he only threw 325 1/3 innings with a 4.98 ERA across Rookie to AA. in 2007, a much better Matt was selected. Matt Wieters was a much hyped prospect, and it is easy to look at his overall career and feel disappointed. His time with the Orioles came to an unceremonious end, but by bWAR he was the top player on the Orioles in 2011 and 2012 right as they transitioned into their recent run of success. He played a crucial role on the best Orioles teams of this century and I look forward to welcoming him to the Orioles Hall of Fame.

With a pick this high, there have been some big success stories. The highest overall WAR player from this position is Dwight Gooden (52.9), followed closely by Mark Teixeira (50.6). Other highlights include Buster Posey, Dale Murphy, J.D. Drew, and Vernon Wells.

41st Overall Pick

Not much Orioles news in terms of picks to speak of here. in 1969 they selected high school 1B James Stafford who played parts of four seasons in the minors for the Orioles, Tigers, and Angels.

There's one clear standout from this spot overall, Fred Lynn (50.2) who while mostly remembered with the Red Sox, did spend time with the mid-80s Orioles. After that it's a big drop-off to Dan Plesac (16.9). Some recent highlights include Sean Doolittle, Lance McCullers Jr., and Ryan Flaherty (best gif ever?). One fun note, Lance McCullers Jr. was chosen in the same spot as his father 30 years later.

65th Overall Pick

Three previous selections for the Orioles to mention here. In 1969 the Orioles chose North Carolina high school SS Terry Clapp. Clapp never made the majors, but played six seasons in the system with an .807 OPS overall. Anthony Telford was picked up in 1987. He ended up pitching parts of nine seasons in MLB, mostly in relief, with the Orioles, Expos, and Rangers. More recently, Branden Kline out of UVA was picked here in 2012. From Frederick, MD it was fun to see him pitch in Baltimore in 2019 and 2020 after facing multiple injuries through his time in the minor leagues. Best of luck in your recent retirement, Branden!

Two notable names at the top of the list for the 65th position: Dustin Pedroia (51.9 WAR) and Randy Winn (27.5). We're all familiar with Pedroia, but Randy Winn's number surprised me. He had a nice 13 year career as a well-travelled player. He was drafted by the Marlins, before being chosen by Tampa Bay in the expansion draft. After an all-star campaign in 2002, he was then part of the trade that sent manager Lou Piniella from Seattle to Tampa Bay. One final note, brief 2012 Oriole (Disco) Stu Pomeranz was chosen by the Cardinals here in 2003. Every member of the 2012 Orioles deserves a mention!

76th Overall Pick

Another three priors at this position, though none of particular note. A couple of high schoolers (SS Randolph Coon in 1966, and LHP Jeff Lackie in 1981), and Val Majewski who made it for 13 plate appearances in 2004 with the O's. He did continue to kick around in the minor leagues through 2012 with the Rangers before jumping to Indy ball.

Some interesting names across the years here. The top overall player is another recent 2B Chase Utley (64.5) who was chosen here by the Dodgers in 1997 as a SS out of his Long Beach, CA high school. He didn't sign, and was later selected in the 1st round by the Phillies. Giancarlo Stanton (42.1) and Marquis Grissom (29.6) are some other high profile players. Some recent success stories include Brian Anderson of the Marlins, and James McCann who was originally selected by the Tigers, now with the Mets.

A couple Orioles shout outs: Nick Hundley of the 2014 squad was originally chosen in this spot in 2005 by the Padres as compensation from the Red Sox for signing David Wells. Current O's farmhand Brett Cumberland was also chosen here by the Braves before being part of the Gausman/O'Day trade.

Four picks provides an opportunity for getting some more talent into the system. This feels like a big draft for the rebuild, especially with Heston Kjerstad's status up in the air. May the baseball gods smile on the Baltimore organization.

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