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Ranking the best Orioles draft picks of the 21st Century

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Here's my ranking of the best picks the Orioles have made since 2000. That's really 2-3 full generations of players. My list takes into account where the player was drafted -- a guy taken in the 2nd round would be ranked higher than a player taken in the 1st round who has the same value. A player makes this list regardless of whether his value came with the Orioles, or some other team. However, I am not including guys we drafted but didn't sign. I'm also not considering guys who might have been good picks if injuries had not derailed their careers. I'm also not considering guys who haven't made it to the majors yet. Here's my list:

1. Manny Machado, 1:3 pick 2010, 24.4 rWAR -- He's the highest pick we've had in the last 17 drafts, and we made it count. Future Hall of Famer if he can stay healthy.

2. Jake Arrieta, 5:5 pick 2007, 19.8 rWAR -- Brilliant selection and signing by Joe Jordan, but unfortunately all of his value has gone to the Chicago Cubs after we traded Jake away for Scott Feldman.

3. Nick Markakis, 1:7 pick 2003, 29.1 rWAR -- Excellent choice and a future Orioles HOFer. Very nice value at no. 7 overall.

4. Zach Britton, 3:9 pick 2006, 10.2 rWAR -- Lots of value still to come for Britton. A steal in the 3rd round.

5. Matt Wieters, 1:5 pick 2007, 16.3 rWAR -- We were fortunate that he fell to us in the 2007 draft, and we did a good job in signing him. He never lived up to the hype after his first MiL season, but a very worthwhile pick at 1:5.

6. Kevin Gausman, 1:4 pick 2012, 6.2 rWAR -- Solid if unspectacular pick at 1:4. The best is yet to come. The way we moved him up and down the first couple of years may have slowed his development, but the good news is that he's under team control another four years because he's 21 games short of three years of service time despite spending parts of four seasons in the majors. Could move up the list if he can take his game up one more notch.

7. Dylan Bundy, 1:4 pick 2011, 1.8 rWAR -- You really have to close your eyes and guess where to put Bundy on this list. He's a very high pick so you have to take that into account, but I'm hoping that over the next five years he can be a staple of our rotation, and possibly our ace. He could move up as high as no. 3 if things break right, or he could drop a couple of notches. I still feel he has more upside than Gausman, but he needs to prove he can hold up before he moves up.

8. Jim Johnson, 5:7 pick 2001, 10.2 rWAR -- Excellent closer/set up guy for a few years, still serviceable for the Braves in 2016, 15 years after he was drafted.

9. Zach Davies, 26:4 pick 2010, 2.7 rWAR -- Looks to me like a solid BOR starter for a long time, maybe more. Amazing value in the 26th round. If he does well in 2017 I'd probably move him up on this list. Still furious that we threw this value away for two months of a mediocre corner outfielder.

10. Mychal Givens, 2:5 pick 2009, 2.6 rWAR -- You have to project a bit to rank Givens this highly, but he looks to me like he'll have an 8-10 rWAR career at least. Nice value in the second round, even if we did pick him as an infielder.

11. David Hernandez, 16:13 pick, 2005, 4.0 rWAR -- Awesome value for where he was picked. Traded away for Mark Reynolds.

12. John Maine, 6:4 pick 2002, 4.0 rWAR -- Decent BOR starter for a few years, but all his value was after we traded him away for Chris Benson.

13. Brad Bergesen, 4:8 pick 2004, 3.2 rWAR -- Had one excellent year as a starter, maybe could have done more if he hadn't foolishly hurt his shoulder filming a TV commercial

14. Chris Ray, 3:7 pick 2003, 3.2 rWAR -- Had a few good years in our bullpen before he blew out his arm.

15. Mike Fontenot, 1:19 pick 2001, 4.5 rWAR -- Serviceable career, but we threw him away in the Sosa trade.

16. Caleb Joseph, 7:4 pick 2008, 2.5 rWAR -- Did a solid job as our principal catcher in the 2014 playoff run, and sharing the load with Wieters in 2015. It remains to be seen if he has more value to give after a disastrous 2016.

17. Nolan Reimold, 2:13 pick 2005, 2.2 rWAR -- Might have done a bit better if he hadn't been injured so often.

18. Brian Matusz, 1:4 pick 2008, 2.7 rWAR -- Certainly the biggest disappointment on this list, considering where he was drafted, but he did provide some value as a starter in 2009-10 and as a LOOGY in 2012-15.

19. Tyler Wilson, 10:4 pick 2011, 1.0 rWAR -- Not sure he has much more to give, but for a 10th rounder, he gave us a bit of value.

Overall, it strikes me that this is a pretty short list. At some point, I am going to try to do the same list for the other four AL East teams and add them to the list. But in the meantime, I'm interested to see everyone's reactions to my rankings.

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LJ Hoes and Oliver Drake's +0.1 career rWAR aren't enough for you???

Davies and Arrieta are obviously the saddest names on here, especially when both were traded for pieces that ultimately did not help us reach the playoffs.

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Nice exercise.

There is still hope with Gausman, Bundy, and maybe Givens, but as of right now that is five picks in 15 years and a bunch of nothing special. That is horrible. In the past I was firmly in the "bad development" camp over "bad selections", citing Jake Arrieta as exhibit A as well as the multitude of injuries to pitchers, but I am not so sure these days.

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I'm not going to comment in detail on the players, just list them in order of rWAR (not the order I'd rank them).

Dustin Pedroia, 2:24 2004, 50.7 rWAR

Jon Lester, 2:16 2002, 40.2 rWAR

Kevin Youkilis, 8:17 2001, 32.3 rWAR

Jacoby Ellsbury, 1:23 2005, 29.1 rWAR (FA comp)

Jonathan Papelbon, 4:17 2003, 24.0 rWAR

Anthony Rizzo, 6:20 2007, 21.7 rWAR

Josh Reddick, 17:7 2006, 18.6 rWAR

Mookie Betts, 5:21 2011, 17.6 rWAR

Clay Buchholz, 1:42 2005, 15.1 rWAR (FA comp)

Freddy Sanchez, 11:22 2000, 15.8 rWAR

David Murphy, 1:17 2003, 10.3 rWAR

Justin Masterson, 2:27 2006, 9.3 rWAR

Jed Lowrie, 1:45 2005, 8.6 rWAR (FA comp)

Kelly Shoppach, 2:4 2001, 8.1 rWAR (FA comp)

Jackie Bradley Jr., 1:40 2011, 8.0 rWAR (FA comp)

Brandon Moss, 8:16 2002, 5.8 rWAR

Daniel Bard, 1:28 2006, 4.3 rWAR (FA comp)

Manny Delcarmen, 2:22 2000, 3.9 rWAR

Alex Wilson, 2:28 2009, 3.8 rWAR

Travis Shaw, 9:21 2011, 3.4 rWAR

Matt Murton; 1:32 2003, 3.3 rWAR (FA comp)

Cla Meredith, 6:24 2004, 3.1 rWAR

Hunter Strickland, 18:20 2007, 2.8 rWAR

Ryan Pressly, 11:20 2007, 2.6 rWAR

Kason Gabbard, 29:22 2000, 1.8 rWAR

They have 25 guys over 1.0 rWAR, to our 19. Part of that is the 7 FA comp picks on their list, but they got a great yield on those comp picks.

We have six players over 10 rWAR, they have 11. We have two guys over 20 rWAR, they have six. We have nobody over 30 rWAR -- they have three, including a 50+ and a 40+.

Pretty sickening.

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Looking at his #'s, he looks like the LH version of Joe Gunkel

Really I must have missed where Joe Gunkel had 192 SO in 161 innings at AA at age 20

or missed the reports of Joe Gunkel has a FB that sits at 95, and touches 97

or that Hader is on the MLB top 100 prospects list

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Really I must have missed where Joe Gunkel had 192 SO in 161 innings at AA at age 20

or missed the reports of Joe Gunkel has a FB that sits at 95, and touches 97

or that Hader is on the MLB top 100 prospects list

I looked at ERA and Whip

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I looked at ERA and Whip

How about you go look up where Hader was pitching.

It might tell you something.

Then you can think about where Gunkel is pitching.

You might rethink how important WHIP and ERA are in this comparison.

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Geesh. The Orioles shouldn't be allowed to trade away minor leaguers. Very few minor leaguers for veterans deals have worked for the Orioles. They have over payed for a lot of mediocrity or worse. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Also pretty sad that the minor league system seems only incrementally improved.

And we should all pray hard for Gausman and Bundy. Really hard.

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