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MLB Draft results: Orioles close out day 1 by selecting another OF as well as a college P

The two picks to close out day 1: UNC OF Mac Horvath, and FSU RHP Jackson Baumeister

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Georgia Tech v North Carolina
Orioles second round pick Mac Horvath rounds the bases after hitting a home run.
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

The Orioles started off their 2023 draft class by raiding the college hitting ranks and coming away with Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. They closed out their first day of the draft with two more picks. With pick #53 in the second round, the Orioles took North Carolina outfielder Mac Horvath. They were quickly back at the podium for pick #63 in competitive balance round B, where they took Florida State right-hander Jackson Baumeister. Yes, they finally took a pitcher in the second round.

Horvath is a 6’1” righty batter who’s been playing third base as a Tar Heel up until this season, when he shifted into the otufield. He was announced as an outfielder on draft night. If you go off of The Athletic’s Keith Law’s draft ranking, Horvath is a solid value in the middle of the second round. He was Law’s #44 player. Other rankings, like MLB Pipeline, were not as sunny about Horvath, rating him 82nd, more of a third round talent.

Law’s report on Horvath:

Horvath has plus power with a lot of hard contact, and his swing puts the ball in the air a ton for extra bases, but concerns about his strikeouts and lack of track record have raised some doubts about his hit tool. ... Even with those concerns, he doesn’t whiff that much, taking too many strikes rather than swinging and missing. ... He offers first-round upside but needs to get into the right system.

There is a certain similarity in this to the Orioles first round pick, Enrique Bradfield, in the sense that they are outfielders where there is swing work that needs to be done. As I wrote about Bradfield, the idea of the Orioles needing to fix some guy’s swing would, five years ago, have seemed completely hopeless. The current O’s development regime has a much better track record of improving players, even polishing college talent a bit.

Horvath hit 24 home runs for North Carolina this season and stole 25 bases in 60 games. I think we can guess that the Orioles liked something in the exit velocity/launch angle data for Horvath, enough to make them willing to take the chance to bolster whatever weakness might be in his swing or plate discipline. He turns 22 later this month and was draft-eligible as a sophomore last year but went undrafted.

Mac is short for Macauley. His middle name is Cole. I’m sure that all of the Macauley Cole kin are thrilled about this pick.

The 63rd overall selection, Baumeister, is immediately interesting because the Orioles selected a pitcher with a second round pick. They have not done this in any of the Elias drafts up to this point. Baumeister, whose 21st birthday is July 10, is fresh off a sophomore season with the Seminoles where he struck out 95 batters in 69 innings. The Orioles were probably looking at that more than his 5.09 ERA.

In terms of the assorted draft prospect rankings, this looks like even more of a reach than Horvath might have seemed. Baumeister was not ranked in the 100 prospects listed by Law, and his MLB Pipeline ranking is 167th in the class. Pipeline’s report on Baumeister:

While his fastball has averaged around 93 mph, he can reach back for 97 mph on occasion and it’s not hard to believe he’ll get to consistently plus velocity while showing some good riding quality to it up in the zone. His mid-70s curve is playable, with the lower velocity keeping hitters off-balance. Baumeister can fold in a little cutter-like slider and a fringy changeup at times as well. While Baumeister is durable and has a fairly simple delivery, he’s struggled at times with limiting walks and has been hit more than expected since he headed to college.

The Orioles have not lacked for opportunities to take pitchers, even well-regarded pitchers, with their draft picks up to this point and they haven’t done it until right now. There’s something they must have liked about his tools and maybe his potential to be improved that made them take him over any of the remaining players, or even better-rated pitchers on the draft board, such as Kent State left-hander Joe Whitman, or Vanderbilt lefty Hunter Owen.

The slot value for pick 53 is $1,582,900, with $1,243,300 available for the 63rd pick. The Orioles choice of Bradfield at 17 did not seem to be setting up an underslot strategy for the draft and from these picks it doesn’t seem that they’re trying to do that either. Since Baumeister is a sophomore, he can probably command a higher bonus than his lack of consensus prospect heat might suggest.

The draft will continue on Monday afternoon with rounds 3-10 beginning at 2pm Eastern. Unlike Sunday night, when it took almost three hours just to get through the first round, things will go much quicker from here on. I’ll be updating an Orioles draft tracker here on Camden Chat as each day 2 pick is made and rounding up the draft so far on Monday evening.