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2014 (Sour Grapes) Draft Preview

2014 (Sour Grapes) Draft Preview

PostPost #1 by Old Sneakers » June 5th, 2014, 8:36 am

The Orioles will not have much of a draft class in 2014. Trades in 2013 and free agency effectively wiped any notion of that out.

The Orioles won't pick now until the 90th choice overall. The cliche' response is best available talent. The truthful answer is positional talent and bullpen arms that have exactly what your looking for. I'm not suggesting the next Derek Jeter is going to be available at the 90th selection. I do suggest that an athletic short stop or second baseman worth developing is. To be honest, I would like to see both positions drafted in rounds 3-5. Additionally I think the team should have a hard look at bullpen arms. Not players that will be given a chance to start in the minors. Young men that will throw more often but in shorter stints. Also allowing them to move a little quicker.

Trying to predict whom will avoid college commitment and sign for slot is impossible as it is information I simply do not have access to. However these are the players I favor in which I like them:

Round 3 possibilities

2B Trace Loehr He's a SS in high school with an ordinary arm. Everything I've read suggests he sticks at 2B. Left Handed hitter with good bat speed. Power enough to hit his share of doubles. I think I am in love with this guy as a prospect because he's so much like everything the Orioles have failed to even try to develop. Will he turn out to be a first rate position player is still a long ways off. However, the tools and makeup are there. I suspect he's gone by the 90th pick. But, the team would be stupid to pass on him if he's there.

OF Trenton Kemp Taking Kemp at 90 might be a slight stretch. However, for a high school prospect he looks the part.Will he sign? The only baseball question is do you believe in his hit tool? As far as power projection, speed and athletic ability he looks like a winner. He also looks like the type of prospect the Orioles seem to ignore. Regardless if he signs with whomever drafts him this is a fine player. He's likely not a RF as his arm is average, but in LF this guy has real value.

RHP Jordan Foley While he doesn't have a lights out pitch or the big prototypical build. He does have fastball velocity and three solid pitches to work with (Fastball, slider and splitter) as well as a below average change up. This strikes me as the type of guy the team could groom as a closer. I won't say he's can't miss, but there is simply too much to work with to not get something out of him.

RHP Wyatt Strahan One of the few exceptions to my thinking of bullpen arms. This is likely a guy you give two good seasons to as a starter in the minors and re-evaluate. He looks like he's going to eat innings. That said he only really has two quality pitches, his fastball and curveball. Control is reportedly also an issue. However, he's a chance to become a solid back of the rotation starter or possibly a closer.

Round 4 possibilities

3B Joey Pankake There isn't a whole lot to not like with this player. He's not seen as a great defender or having a brilliant arm. The upside here is that he's a 3B. Middle ground see's him as a 1B. Floor he's a solid designated hitter. Considering the team used it's second round choice on Nelson Cruz (for a single season), I don't know that a solid bat is a poor investment for round 4.

RHP Jake Jewell Juco closer this is another guy that may or may not sign. He's not lights out but the velocity is there. His control needs some help and some time developing off speed stuff. If the team has good info on whether or not he will sign decides the matter. If he does not sign for whomever drafts him. We will be reading more about him next season.

RHP Colin Welmon Is a command and control type pitcher. The drawback is he doesn't have lights out stuff. Still, there is something to be said for a pitcher who's pitches actually go where they are intended. Going pro he's likely not to stick as a starter. But one time through an order might suit him greatly and he could be a solid reliever.

Round 5 possibilities

OF Justin Smith Another question regarding whether he will sign or not. Otherwise this looks to be a very solid outfielder with a chance to be something special at the plate. That will take time and some resolve. However, he has enough arm for right field and is athletic enough to be an asset on the base paths. Again high school prospects take time. The simple question is does he want to go pro?

2B/SS Gunnar Heidt It's hard to say if this college junior will or won't sign. He's likely not an everyday SS going forward and doesn't excel at anything. However he has enough of a hit tool, power and athleticism that a team should try to develop him. It's already suggested that he could be a utility player. I don't know that either. What I do know is that athletic prospects capable of playing SS or 2B come from somewhere and it doesn't have to be south of the border. This is the type of prospect every team should take a shot at every year in the draft.

Needless to say, for the Orioles whom are picking later than usual for all the wrong reasons should likely focus on positional talent. This was indeed a poor class to forgo in favor of free-agency. The top end talent is certainly there. But it's not great depth. Teams targeting pitching this year may come to remember this class as year of the wild pitch. There are an unusual amount of one pitch left handers in this class. It isn't pretty. Normally I value left handed pitching more than most. Not this year, I don't see enough to work with. Even Jonathan Mayo and MLB are having a tough time hyping this class.

Shopping list:
Two Positional talents, one middle infielder, one outfielder with some upside. Best guess it's round three and four or never.
I stated a couple names above I am a little high on. Trace Loehr would be ideal if he's available in round 3. Gunnar Heidt would be outstanding as well later on. The main thing is injecting some potential into the lower minors.

Two low upside command and control type pitchers.
Think a prospect like Brad Bergesen or Tyler Wilson. Typically these guys don't have long careers in the majors as starters. But they have survivability as players and do have good careers in bullpens around the league. Flash isn't everything.

Two arms profiling as potential closers.
I noted RHP Jordan Foley as a teaser. I could completely see the Orioles bypassing a high end athlete for a project like that. The main thing is fastball velocity with sink. A closer needs a great off speed pitch as well. Identifying talents like this that check out mechanically are a sound investment with your scouts.I also think good closers develop differently. You don't let them build up innings as starters. I think you keep them throwing more often to get their command in shape.

Losing the first round pick (#17 overall) for Ubaldo Jiminez, the competitive balance A pick (#37 overall) in part for Bud Norris and the second round choice (#59 overall) to get Nelson Cruz for a single season is beyond stupid. The "Window to win" also is beyond stupid. You build a club to compete to win every year. To do that you build through the draft like the Rays have done and like the Diamondbacks are doing. The only good thing fans can know going into the draft is that there will be no more major league contracts handed out to draftees. Also completely stupid.
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