Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Rest Of The Draft

Day One of the the Draft had a surprise in the first round with the selection of high school pitcher Matt Hobgood, but was solid overall with the addition of a shortstop and a slugging first-baseman. Where would the team go on days two and three?

Round 4: Randy Henry, RHP, College.
"Hailing from Arnett, Okla., Henry was slated to attend Texas Tech after high school. But he blew out his elbow, missed his senior season after having Tommy John surgery and ended up at South Mountain CC. He's played second base for the Cougars this year, but his future is likely on the mound. At 6-foot-3, Henry has clean mechanics from a three-quarter arm slot. Just 18 months removed from surgery, head coach Todd Eastin gave Henry a very soft landing this year, allowing him to pitch out of the bullpen. Over nine games, Henry pitched just 11 innings this season. Because of his limited time on the mound this year, Henry has been tough to see, but those that have seen him walked away impressed. His fastball has shown good life, sitting at 90 mph every time out and even touching 94-96 late in the year. While Henry threw mostly fastballs and changeups this year, when he regained the confidence to throw a breaking ball, scouts said it was an above-average pitch with great tilt and snap." - Baseball America
Given the injury, Henry might have been underappreciated by some teams. If he's healthy and just needs to work his way back to where he was with his control, velocity, and ability to throw the curve (which did indeed look good in video clips), then this would have been a potential steal in a later round. As is, it's a fine risk to take in the fourth. If I were to bet online, I wouldn't bet against this guy.

Round 5: Ashur Tolliver, LHP, College
"NAIA power Oklahoma City usually has an interesting NCAA Division I transfer, and this year's prospect is Tolliver. He went just 2-5, 7.94 at Arkansas-Little Rock in 2008, but started to blossom in the Cape Cod League during the summer. He drew a lot of attention when his fastball sat in the low 90s and popped some 96s early in the spring, though he was working more at 88-92 mph as the draft approached. Scouts wonder about his durability because he's generously listed at 6 feet and 170 pounds. He has a very quick arm, though there's also effort in his delivery, and he ultimately may wind up in the bullpen. Tolliver's second-best pitch currently is his changeup. He showed some feel for a curveball in the fall but now employs a slurvy slider in the low 80s. He has a chance to become the highest-drafted player in Stars history, surpassing Grant Hansen, who went 89th overall to the White Sox in 2003. But Tolliver didn't help his chances by giving up eight runs in three innings against Louisiana State-Shreveport in the first round of the NAIA playoffs." - BA
Lefties that can touch the mid 90s are in short supply, and the ability to throw the change-up is a big plus. If he eventually ends up as a harder throwing Jamie Walker out of the pen, then so be it. Walker did stick around in the majors until he was 37.

Round 6: Justin Dalles, C, College

Should be decent behind the plate and can hit some. Considering that one of the best catching prospects on the board - Max Stassi - fell to the fourth round in the draft, I don't see why the O's didn't just pick him there (he'll likely require over-slot money to sign, though not an absurd amount I'd think - and given the pick of Hobgood in the first, the team should have the cash to spend) and take their chance that Henry would still be available in the 5th (fair) and Tolliver in the 6th (possible).

Round 7: Aaron Wirsch, LHP, High School

A little bit of a funky looking pitching motion, though if he can keep it consistent and stay healthy (at least relative to the average pitching prospect) then it might be a plus for him. Might be a little on the expensive side to sign (for a 7th round pick) given his commitment to the University of San Diego. One can never have too many lefties in the organization.

Round 8: Devin Harris, LF, College
"Few players who will be drafted today have more upside than Orioles eighth-rounder Devin Harris, an outfielder from East Carolina. Built like an Adonis at 6-foot-3, 227 pounds, Harris a prototypical right fielder’s skill set: massive raw power, an above-average arm and even solid-average speed. He still swings and misses a lot, but he made huge strides offensively this year, batting .344 with 14 home runs." - BA
After going raw and fast last year, they're going with raw power this year. That's a change I really like, even if Harris will require over-slot money to sign. Nice to see the O's doing that after going relatively cheap on day one.

Round 9: Ryan Berry, RHP, College

Fastball:Berry's fastball was solid average, in the 88-92 mph range. He touched 93 in the ninth inning.
Fastball movement:Using a quick delivery, it has a sneaky quality to it.
Curve:Was a plus pitch, thrown 80-84 mph. It had late break and he buried it for a true out pitch. He throws it with two grips -- a knuckle grip and a spiked grip.
Changeup:He didn't use it much, but it was 83-84 mph when he did throw it.
Control:He had solid command of all his pitches.
Poise:In a big-league park, he had very good mound presence and it resulted in one of his best outings in a long time.
Physical Description:Berry has a lean build, kind of like Rich Harden. He was sporting long hair and glasses, sort of a Mark Fydrich look.
Medical Update:Healthy.
Strengths:When he's going right, he has two or three average or above pitches with command of all of them.
Weaknesses:He hasn't been consistent. He'll have to show he can do it repeatedly to make people believers.
Summary:Berry is somewhat of an enigma. He was one of the top freshman in his class, then regressed last year. He began his Draft season on a rocky note, but bounced back with a terrific start in the Houston Classic. When he's locked in, he's got good stuff and command. For him to rise up Draft boards come June, he'll have to show he can maintain it over the course of the season.

That's from, and then from BA:
"If the draft were held in early to mid-March, Berry would have been a late first-round pick; he was utterly dominant over three straight complete games, and scouts at the Houston College Classic in February raved about his fastball command and life, as well as his secondary stuff. But his stock sank when he was sidelined with a muscle strain in his shoulder. He returned down the stretch and pitched well for the Owls, but he did not show the same fastball velocity. Still, there’s no reason to believe Berry’s shoulder woes will be permanent, and getting a borderline first-round talent in the ninth round is pretty good."
I'm under the impression that Rice pitchers get worked pretty hard, so the injury might have actually saved some innings on his arm. He'll want closer to 1-3 round money to sign, but it's these kinds of picks that make the Hobgood one look better. Really like this one..

Round 10: Jacob Cowan, RHP, College
"Despite a bout with elbow tendinitis that sidelined him for four weeks and cost him some sharpness on his pitches, Cowan has been plenty effective. He threw a complete-game one-hitter against Panola (Texas) JC in the regional playoffs, helping San Jacinto reach the Junior College World Series for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, then fanned 13 to beat Santa Fe (Fla.) JC as the Gators finished third in the nation. A 14th-round pick out of a Georgia high school by the Red Sox in 2007, Cowan spent 2008 at Virginia before transferring to San Jac. He worked with a low-90s fastball, but his arm problems have left him with a high-80s heater for much of the spring. An MRI revealed no structural damage, and Cowan should regain velocity once he fully recovers. There's also room for projection on his 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame. Cowan doesn't need to overpower hitters because the late boring action on his fastball makes it tough to square up, and he mixes four offerings. His slider is a low-80s strikeout pitch at its best, and he does a nice job of maintaining his arm speed when he throws his changeup, which has good fade and sink. His curveball is his fourth-best pitch, and it has some lost some velocity and tilt this spring, but it's still an effective offering. He has a clean delivery, so when he's 100 percent he can throw all four pitches for strikes. He also draws praise for his ability to compete without his best stuff. Cowan looked like a potential second-rounder in the fall. Though he's now more of a fourth- to sixth-rounder and has committed to Texas, he's still considered signable." - BA
Doesn't look like he has the highest upside, but a solid back-of-the-rotation starter is still useful. Nice value pick in the 10th.

Round 11: Michael Ohlman, C, High School
"Yet another prep catcher from Florida, Ohlman started to get national attention last fall playing for North Carolina's "Dirtbags" travel team, which featured Tar Heel State prep stars Brian Goodwin and Wil Myers. Ohlman showed premium power potential in the summer and fall and was snapped up in the early signing period by Miami. He's tall for a catcher at 6-foot-4, and his slender 200-pound body doesn't seem suited to the position for the long-term, scouts worry. But he has shown excellent athletic ability, and he should be able to remain a catcher at least through college. He has excellent arm strength, but his receiving skills are less advanced than his Florida prep rivals. He has improved his skills behind the plate but has a long way to go in terms of blocking, framing pitches and learning other nuances behind the plate. He's tall so he has some holes in his swing but has a good feel for hitting and hand-eye coordination. His best tool is his raw power, which might be sufficient for a move to a corner. Ohlman should be athletic enough to give outfield a try if catching doesn't take. He could go in the fourth-to-sixth round range." - BA
Saw some Jayson Werth comparisons; hope the team will actually keep him if that's the case. Another guy who was drafted a little passed where it was projected he'd go.

Round 12: Steven Bumbry, RF, College

Son of former Orioles Al Bumbry, who had this to say: "No. 1, he doesn't run like me... He sort of glides after the ball more. He can catch the ball, but he doesn't have speed like I had. His arm is a hell of a lot better than mine. He has a tremendous arm, which is one of his assets. As far as his batting style, he hits the ball a lot further than I did. Physically, he's more developed than I was."

The younger Bumbry isn't a big guy at 5'10", so it would be nice if he could handle center. If so, he'd have a better shot of making it to the majors.

Round 13: Tyler Kelly, 2B, College

Seems like a solid enough all around player, who can play a little defense, has a strong enough arm to play at third (and apparently the range to handle center-field some), can hit for some average, and has gap power. That kind of profile tends to be underrated, so while Kelly will never be a star he seems like he could contribute to the team in some way.

Round 14: David Baker, RHP, High School

Hit 15 batters in 60 IP this year. That's... amusing.

Round 15: Garrett Bush, RHP, High School
"Stanton College Prep righthander Garrett Bush was one of the few pitchers who looked good in Sebring at the FACA Baseball Classic. Bush has a classic, projectable build at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds with a loose arm and an idea of what he’s doing on the mound. He was 88-92 mph with his fastball that had good downhill plane and mixed in an 82 mph changeup and a 77 mph breaking ball. Bush is an Auburn recruit that was selected by the Orioles." - BA
It'll cost some money to keep him from going to college, but it's a good looking arm.

Round 16: Ryan Palsha, RHP, College
"On the other side of the country, Diablo Valley (Calif.) CC’s Ryan Palsha is a 6-foot-2 righthander that is long and loose. He throws an 88-91 mph fastball and a big curveball. He’s aggressive with his stuff and throws strikes, but is still a little raw." - BA
More pitching. The team knows they're really short on position player prospects, right?

Round 17: Jeffrey Walters, RHP, College


Round 18: Jarret Martin, LHP, College

If that name looks familiar, it should, as the O's selected Martin last year too (he didn't sign).
"Martin is a player on the rise, with a very impressive showing last summer at the Area Code Games despite not being universally ranked among the top players in the nation before that point in time. Martin has the entire package: The perfect build, a loose and easy arm action that he repeats well, improving velocity, good control and a good head on his shoulders. His consistent low-90s heater with good dip and dive late in the zone is what gets your attention first, and then he pulls out a hammer curveball in the mid-70s and a relatively polished change, showing the ability to change speeds and command the strike zone. Like so many left-handed pitchers, he also has a pretty swing at the plate that allows him to drive the ball to all parts of the field, but his future clearly lies on the mound." - BA
Hopefully they can get a deal done this time, because I like Martin, much as I did last year.

Round 19: Kipp Schutz, LF, College

Can't play center and can't hit well enough to play a corner. Probably.

Round 20: James Brandhorst, RHP, College

"Brandhorst is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound San Antonio native with a fastball in the mid-90s. Scouts told Brandhorst he might be picked in the top 10 rounds instead of 20th."

Another potentially slightly more expensive pick.

Round 21: Kevin Landry, RHP, College
Round 22: Cameron Coffey, RHP, High School
"Houston Christian High School left-hander Cameron Coffey is one of the first "pop-up" guys (meaning someone who wasn't high on follow lists coming into the spring but who is moving up lists quickly because he has improved) of the spring.

A 6'4" left-hander with a strong build and good frame, Coffey touched 92 several times in his Friday outing, sitting 89-90 early but dropping to 85-89 by the 5th inning. His best pitch is his changeup, which he turns over very well, getting good tumbling action. He has good feel for when to use his changeup, and showed enough confidence in the pitch to double up on it. His slider is well below-average right now; it's a pitch he rarely used before this year, and it showed, as he struggled to find a consistent release point on it and had several back up on him.

His arm works well and he generates good arm speed; he can overthrow a little on fastballs and plant his front foot hard enough to make him snap upwards in his finish, which is going to limit his fastball command. Reducing his stride length a little would probably mitigate this issue. Coffey's committed to Duke but all indications are that he wants to play pro ball; he's not first-round material but is high day one material, and if he can show more stamina and arm strength he will be a top 100 pick. " - BA
Apparently he had Tommy John surgery, but if he comes back healthy and they can sign him it'd be another good value pick.

Round 23: Michael Mooney, SS, College
Round 24: Justin Anderson, LHP, College
Round 25: Jay Johnson, LHP, College
Round 26: Michael Mechaw, LHP, College
Round 27: Michael Planeta, RF, College
Round 28: Kyle Hoppy, CF, High School

It'll take over-slot money to sign him, but the guy's a good athlete.

Round 29: Brandon Alexander, CF, High School
Round 30: Brenden Webb, CF, College
Round 31: Mike Flacco, 3B, College

Joe Flacco's brother. Nice (sentimental) move by the team, but he's a long-shot to make it to Triple-A.

Round 32: Matthew Nadolski, LHP, High School
Round 33: Tyler Naquin, RF, High School
Round 34: Malcolm Clapsaddle, RHP, High School

Pretty good pitching prospect, but he's probably going to college.

Round 35: Jeremy Lucas, C, High School
Round 36: Scott Firth, RHP, High School
Round 37: Taylor Rogers, LHP, High School
Round 38: Josh Dowdy, RHP, College
Round 39: Kevin Alexander, RHP, High School
Round 40: Bobby Shore, RHP, College
Round 41: Mason Magleby, RHP, High School
Round 42: Joe Valleggia, C, College
Round 43: Brad Decater, SS, College
Round 44: Kyle Westwood, RHP, College
Round 45: David Rivera, LF, High School
Round 46: Scott Swinson, RHP, College
Round 47: Nolan Martz, RHP, College
Round 48: David Burnaman, 3B, College
Round 49: Ashley Bulluck, RHP, High School
Round 50: Timothy Berry, LHP, College

That's a lot of pitchers (29 out of 47) and quite a few players that may have slid a little due to signability questions. With the money saved on day one, it would be great to see that team really go all-out to sign anyone that has a reasonable request and that has some potential. Would have liked to have seen a couple more infielders selected, but I'm pretty content with this draft. It's not the same as last year's, but I'd say it's about on the same level given my very (very) shallow knowledge about these players.

From MinorLeagueBall:
"I don't have a problem with Hobgood at fifth overall. He's signable, and in my opinion the difference between him and the other elite prep arms isn't all that great. He might not be as projectable as some of them, being more physically mature, but I really like his arm and I don't think this is a huge overdraft. Mychal Givens in the second round adds another high-ceiling arm to the system, and if pitching doesn't work out you can try him as a hitter. Townsend out of Florida International in the third round is a solid college bat in the Jay Gibbons mode; not a star but a guy who should be able to contribute. Randy Henry in the fourth round and Ashur Tolliver in the fifth provide more live arms, Tolliver in particular being a good value in that round. 8th round pick OF Devin Harris (East Carolina), 9th round pick RHP Ryan Berry (Rice), and 10th round pick RHP Jacob Cowan (San Jacinto JC) all offer very good value for their draft slots. Harris has tons of tools, and both Berry and Cowan were considered possible second or third round picks if not for injury questions. This may not be a spectacular draft class, but I think it is solid." - BA
I'll take that.

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