Now that the August 16th midnight deadline for signing amateur draftees has come and gone, it’s a good time to take a look back at how the Baltimore Orioles fared.
With the third overall pick on June 7th, Baltimore selected Florida high school shortstop Manny Machado. The tall, lanky infielder out of Miami Brito HS has drawn somewhat dubious comparisons to Alex Rodriguez. While Machado likely won’t develop Rodriguez’s elite power, he is an impressive 4-tool athlete who is instantly Baltimore’s best middle infield prospect of this decade.
While there are still questions as to whether Machado will stick at the 6-spot on the diamond, he was a ‘consensus’ top-3 pick based on his compact swing, athleticism and good defensive instincts.
The selection of Machado, a Scott Boras client, set the tone for Baltimore’s draft in terms of money if not profile. While Baltimore showed a willingness to spend above-average dollars on the amateur draft for the third year in a row, scouting director Joe Jordan’s draft-day board was littered with names less talked about by major publications, relying heavily on area scouts and his own instincts.
The Picks and Their Money
As expected, super-agent Scott Boras held out until the literal last minute – Orioles’ scouting director Joe Jordan says the deal was completed at 11:57 – before inking Baltimore’s first pick, high school shortstop Manny Machado. Machado, picked 3rd overall in June’s 2010 amateur draft, signed for a sizeable but not unreasonable bonus of $5.25 million. The two sides found themselves about $1.5 million apart as late as 11:45 on Monday night, but Jordan and Orioles’ GM Andy MacPhail wisely decided to wait Boras out. While Machado’s bonus is the second largest in franchise history, the deal is believed to be much closer to Baltimore’s stand pat offer than the figure for which Boras and Machado were asking.
Here’s a complete list of the Orioles’ final signings in the 2010 Amateur Draft, with signing dates and bonuses provided for those made public. Bolded bonuses were signed for figures in significant excess of commissioner Bud Selig’s recommended slot bonuses.
|1||SS||Manny Machado||7/6/1992||6′ 3″||190||$5,250,000||8/16/2010
|3||RHP||Dan Klein||7/27/1988||6′ 3″||190||$499,000||8/13/2010
|5||SS||Connor Narron||11/12/1991||6′ 3″||187||$650,000||8/4/2010
|6||RHP||Dixon Anderson||7/2/1989||6′ 5″||225||Unsigned|
|7||LHP||Matt Bywater||6/15/1989||6′ 2″||190||$195,000||8/16/2010
|8||C||Wynston Sawyer||11/14/1991||6′ 3″||185||$300,000||7/30/2010|
|9||RHP||Parker Bridwell||8/2/1991||6′ 4″||187||$625,000||8/4/2010|
|10||RHP||Clayton Schrader||4/28/1990||6′ 0″||200||$300,000||7/29/2010|
|11||RHP||Alex Gonzalez||1/15/1992||6′ 2″||190||Unsigned|
|12||C||Riley Hornback||7/19/1991||6′ 0″||180||N/A||6/24/2010|
|13||OF||Jeremy Nowack||3/17/1988||6′ 0″||205||N/A||6/16/2010|
|14||3B||Michael Mosby||10/30/1989||6′ 0″||195||N/A||6/20/2010|
|15||C||Joe Oliveira||9/30/1987||6′ 0″||195||N/A||6/16/2010|
|16||OF||Brandon King||3/30/1990||5′ 11″||190||Unsigned|
|17||RHP||Dave Richardson||1/31/1991||5′ 11″||170||N/A||6/20/2010|
|18||RHP||Sebastian Vader||6/3/1992||6′ 4″||175||$150,000||6/29/2010|
|19||RHP||Kenny Wise||4/7/1990||6′ 6″||225||N/A||8/16/2010
|20||LHP||Matt Drumond||4/5/1988||6′ 1″||200||N/A||7/7/2010|
|21||RHP||Scott Copeland||12/15/1987||6′ 3″||210||N/A||6/16/2010|
|22||C||Tanner Murphy||7/4/1992||6′ 1″||190||N/A||6/24/2010|
|23||CF||Chris Clinton||7/24/1989||6′ 1″||185||N/A||6/24/2010|
|24||RHP||Tim Adleman||11/13/1987||6′ 5″||205||N/A||6/16/2010|
|25||SS||Vincent Zazueta||11/28/1990||6′ 0″||150||N/A||6/21/2010|
|26||C||Austin Goolsby||4/28/1988||6′ 2″||185||N/A||6/16/2010|
|27||RHP||Austin Urban||7/8/1992||6′ 1″||185||Unsigned|
|28||RHP||Jaime Esquivel||5/25/1992||6′ 2″||185||$225,000||8/15/2010
|29||LHP||Cameron Roth||4/5/1989||6′ 1″||202||N/A||6/24/2010|
|30||SS||Michael Rooney||8/7/1988||5′ 11″||170||N/A||6/16/2010|
|31||3B||Adam Gaylord||5/12/1988||6′ 3″||210||N/A||6/16/2010|
|32||RHP||Joe Robinson||9/19/1990||6′ 2″||190||Unsigned|
|33||RHP||Steven Mazur||1/29/1988||6′ 0″||195||N/A||6/21/2010|
|34||SS||Samuel Starr||5/31/1988||5′ 8″||165||N/A||6/16/2010|
|35||SS||Joe Donaldson||4/9/1988||5′ 11″||175||N/A||6/16/2010|
|36||SS||Brad Decater||12/28/1988||6′ 1″||185||N/A||6/21/2010|
|37||2B||Austin Knight||2/13/1990||5′ 11″||195||N/A||6/16/2010|
|38||CF||Jeremy Shelby||8/14/1987||6′ 3″||180||N/A||6/21/2010|
|39||RHP||Travis Strong||8/13/1988||6′ 6″||210||N/A||6/24/2010|
|40||C||Joseph Velleggia||7/23/1988||6′ 6″||235||N/A||6/24/2010|
|41||SS||David Blanchard||12/16/1991||6′ 0″||180||Unsigned|
|42||LHP||Jacob Petitt||10/28/1986||6′ 1″||185||N/A||6/21/2010|
|43||OF||Blair Dunlap||7/2/1987||5′ 10″||180||N/A||7/7/2010|
|44||OF||Preston Hale||3/7/1988||5′ 10″||195||N/A||6/20/2010|
|45||RHP||Nathan Williams||4/8/1992||6′ 3″||200||Unsigned|
|46||C||Daniel Torres||5/29/1992||6′ 0″||175||Unsigned|
|47||OF||Cody Young||1/5/1988||6′ 4″||200||N/A||6/21/2010|
|48||RHP||Alex Schmarzo||2/28/1989||6′ 3″||185||N/A||8/15/2010
|49||RHP||Hayden Jordan||11/11/1991||6′ 2″||205||Unsigned|
|50||RHP||Philip Walby||7/24/1992||6′ 2″||190||Unsigned|
Baltimore was successful in signing 39 of its 49 picks and the total of the bonuses that have been made available comes to $8.466 MM. Alex Schmarzo’s bonus has not been made available but is likely in the $100,000 range. 19th round pick Kenny Wise is also believed to have signed an over-slot bonus. Factoring in the remaining slot signings, this draft cost just over $9 MM, very close to the estimated $8.8 MM the club spent on its 2009 draft and, again, well above the average draft total (about $6.5 MM in 2010 according to Baseball America’s Jim Callis).
Baltimore tied up roughly 58 percent of its draft budget in top pick Manny Machado, but still managed to complete at least 7 other over-slot deals, with 6 total contracts worth $300,000 or more.
Here are some scouting profiles of some of the most intriguing selections in Baltimore’s draft.
First round selection (3rd overall): Manny Machado, SS, Miami Brito HS
As stated, Machado received very high praise from evaluators all around the country. He emerged as the consensus top prep positional talent midway through the season. While the ARod comparisons are a stretch – any toolsy, offensive-minded, Latin shortstop out of Florida will inevitably be pegged with the label at some point – Machado is still a very special talent.
While I believe Machado has the upside to be an elite shortstop in the major leagues, he comes with legitimate question marks. While Machado is an excellent hitter, he did not have the best bat of the prep class (that honor goes to 3B Nick Castellanos).
Much of Machado’s stock rests on his positional value. An above-average bat at a premium position is incredibly valuable. While Machado has the arm and the actions to stick at shortstop, his size alone may facilitate a move to third base. As it stands he has average range, but there is quite a bit of room on that lanky frame to bulk up and fill out, which could slow him down too much.
And therein lies the quandary: if Machado fills out and reaches his power potential, he’ll likely slide over to a less valuable position. If he stays lean and quick enough to stick at short, he’ll likely only display average pop.
Machado profiles to have more than enough bat for either position, so he has still has a very good chance of being a valuable player. My only concern is that, while he vaulted into top-5 discussion due to his high ceiling, reaching that ceiling requires a somewhat unlikely combination of proper development, excellent conditioning, and a fair amount of luck.
Regardless, Machado is an excellent prospect that has been injected into a team bereft of positional talent and devoid of a realistic solution at short for years. Many publications will rank Machado as the Orioles’ top prospect right off the bat, and Baseball America’s Jim Callis has already dubbed him the best shortstop prospect in baseball.
Third round selection: Dan Klein, RHP, UCLA
Klein was red-shirted in his sophomore season due to shoulder surgery. He came back for UCLA in his junior campaign as the club’s closer, experiencing quite a bit of success in that role.
Klein could be fast tracked to Baltimore’s bullpen by late 2011, but the Orioles seem intent on developing him as a starter, due mainly to his impressive 4-pitch repertoire featuring a sinking fastball that sits in the low 90s, a hard biting slider, an average, rolling curveball, and a developing changeup.
While Klein probably won’t be a strikeout machine, he will induce a good amount of ground balls and he flashes above average command of four pitches. Because Baltimore will have to ease Klein into a starter’s workload, his development will likely take longer than most polished college pitchers. Still, if he remains healthy, he could profile as a mid-rotation starter in a park that plays well for ground ball pitchers.
Fourth round selection: Trent Mummey, OF, Auburn
Mummey was the first Auburn player off the board, though many evaluators considered him the second best draft-eligible player on his own team. Auburn 1B Hunter Morris represented a big college bat, and most thought he would be picked in the first few rounds.
While Mummey’s power numbers were comparable to Morris’ on paper, don’t expect that to translate to wood. Mummey is small (5’10″, 185) and doesn’t use his lower body to generate power. He isn’t strong enough to fight off inside pitches and won’t square up as consistently with a wooden bat.
Regardless, Mummey is a very good pure hitter with advanced plate discipline and on-base skills. Many see him as a fourth outfielder, but I believe his polish and his ability to get on base could land Mummey a job as a starting center fielder and potential leadoff hitter. There is some potential for gap-to-gap power as well, but there are legitimate questions as to how he’ll adjust to hitting with a wooden bat against higher levels of pitching. I see his ceiling as a sort of Brian Roberts-lite type of bat in center field. He’ll be one to follow.
Fifth round selection: Connor Narron, IF, Aycock HS, NC
Connor Narron represented a somewhat risky over-slot pick for BAL Director of Scouting Joe Jordan. He had a verbal commitment to North Carolina but opted to sign with Baltimore on August 4th.
Connor is the son of ex-big leaguer Jerry Narron. The switch hitter is a fluid defender with a strong and accurate arm, but will likely settle in at third base. He has the tools to be an above average defender at the hot corner.
Narron raised some eyebrows after ‘only’ hitting .317 in his senior campaign. He walked nearly twice a game, pretty clearly being pitched around. Still, the relatively low average for a highly drafted high schooler is a bit of a red flag. It would not surprise me to see Narron develop into a three true outcome hitter down the line. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if he can walk and hit for power enough to offset a mediocre batting average.
Seventh round selection: Matt Bywater, LHP, Pepperdine
The term that keeps getting thrown around about Matthew Bywater is “Matusz-lite.” The lefty has excellent control of four pitches, including a plus change, but he’ll need to spot his 87-89 MPH fastball consistently to set up his secondaries. His command and deception give him a safe LOOGY floor, though he could become a back-end of the rotation innings eater. Don’t expect lots of strikeouts, but Bywater has very good pitchability.
Ninth round selection: Parker Bridwell, RHP, Hereford HS (TX)
Bridwell was a three-sport star at Hereford High who Baltimore was able to snatch from Texas Tech. Scouts believe that focusing solely on baseball for the first time in his life will help Bridwell add two or three MPH of velocity and refine his secondaries. This pick is all about projectability.
Tenth round selection: Clayton Schrader, RHP, San Jacinto JC
There was never any pretense that Schrader profiled as anything but a reliever, but Baltimore grabbed a potential future closer in the tenth round. The right-hander is ‘only’ 6-0, 200 LBS, but a 92-94 MPH fastball and plus slider have scouts thinking he could be an effective late inning reliever. He mixes in an average curve to change the eye level, but he is mainly a two-pitch power arm. Schrader is one of Baltimore’s most intriguing relief prospects.
Eighteenth round selection: Sebastian Vader, RHP, San Marcos HS (CA)
The 6’4”, 195 pound righty has a good, projectable frame. His stuff right now is raw, but he throws an 88-90 MPH fastball with some late bite and an above-average slider. He has a chance to add a little bit of velocity as he grows into his body. Vader is a sleeper pick to grow into a top pitching prospect a couple of years down the line.
Nineteenth round selection: Kenneth Wise, RHP, Santa Fe CC
Ken Wise is a 6’6” pitching monster who has gained nearly 10 MPH on his fastball while adding 45 pounds to his frame over the last two years. Now weighing in at 225 and sitting in the low to mid 90s, Ken utilizes an above average fastball/slider combo to retire hitters. He is very tall and has trouble repeating his mechanics, having walked 46 in 60 IP last year for Santa Fe CC. All of this screams late-inning reliever, but he could be a good one.
Twenty eighth round selection: Jaime Esquivel, RHP, South Houston HS (TX)
Esquivel was an intriguing day-before-the-deadline sign. The projectable righty already shows a fastball that touches 92 and a curveball that many scouts feel could become a plus pitch. He needs to fill out some and refine his command and secondaries, but he’s a very high upside pick.
The ones who got away
While Baltimore’s draft spending was strong, there were a handful of promising young players with demands that proved too lofty for the Orioles’ assessment. Here are some of the best players who did not sign:
Dixon Anderson, RHP, California
The 7th round pick was a draft-eligible sophomore, so he had plenty of leverage in negotiations. The 6’5″, 225-pound right-hander had a disappointing season, going 5-4 with a 5.17 ERA for the Golden Bears. Anderson will return to Cal State, where he will attempt to return to form and re-enter the draft in 2011. If he puts it together, Anderson could go in the first three rounds next season.
Austin Urban, RHP, Richland HS (PA)
Baltimore’s 19th round pick, Austin Urban, was an intriguing potential over-slot who ultimately slipped away. The somewhat undersized righty (6’1″, 185) impressed Baltimore scouts by touching the mid-90s in pre-draft workouts. Reports indicated that Urban was willing to sign for the right price, but the two sides ended up several hundred thousand apart. Urban was likely a backup plan if Baltimore failed to sign 7th round pick Matthew Bywater. In the end, Bywater lowered his demands and signed on August 16th and Baltimore left their final offer on the table for Urban, who decided to go to Penn State instead.
Joe Robinson, RHP, College of Southern Nevada
Joe Robinson was going to be a very difficult sign from the beginning, and on August 16th he decided to return to school. The RHP does not have much projection left on his frame, but he already sits in the low to mid 90s with his fastball and complements it with a solid average curveball and change. Robinson will likely not become a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, but he is a safe bet to make a major league rotation for whomever selects him the next time around.
Joe Jordan was not afraid to select tough signs on draft day, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to sign everyone he liked. There was enough over-slot talent in this draft to feel very good about the results even if it meant walking away from a few high-ceiling players.
Overall, it would be difficult to argue that Baltimore did not have a successful draft. After the smoke cleared at midnight of August 16th, Joe Jordan’s draft team walked away with a consensus top 3 talent surrounded by some raw, high-upside high school over-slots and a few safe, valuable college picks. They outspent their 2009 budget, spending 76% over slot on their first nine selections (signing eight of those nine).
Baltimore was in the unique position of having an elite talent guaranteed to fall into its lap, whether it was high school hurler Jameson Taillon or Manny Machado. After the third overall pick, however, Jordan’s board started to splinter from the consensus, as he passed over high profile prospects like A.J. Cole, Tyler Holt, Jesse Hahn, Hunter Morris, Zach Alvord and Kevin Gausman. Jordan seemed to rely on his own scouting reports and those of his area scouts. Despite the premium that Jordan was willing to pay to lure raw talent away from big schools, it is questionable whether Baltimore’s above-average budget was maximized.
Ultimately, a scouting director must rely on his instincts, and Jordan stands by his picks. While Klein, Mummey, Narron, and Bywater all have their warts, they are excellent talents with legitimate potential to make an impact on a major league squad. Time will tell whether Baltimore’s development team is up to the task of nurturing the over-slot projects picked in the later rounds. Still, the balance of upside and safety in this draft shows promise that the Orioles will reap large rewards from their farm system a few years from now.