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Draft Preview 2010

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As I have posted nearly every year since 2002, I am offering my early draft prediction of the prospect the Orioles will take. Things started with the Draft Preview in 2002 when I drooled over the projections for Adam Loewen - a six-six Canadian LHP with plenty of velocity and international experience. Since then, I have challenged myself to pick a player from outside the Os draft slot on BA's Draft Preview ratings who will move up during the spring to be worthy of the Os pick (or an even earlier one). I was right with Lubanski in 2003, Longoria in 2006, Vitters in 2007 and Hosmer in 2008. Last year, the BA preview had Tyler Matzek rated seventh and I selected Matzek to be the first first round HS pitcher selected by Joe Jordan (over Kyle Gibson). While Matzek was supposedly the number two prospect on the boards of many teams, the Os and several other teams passed on him. In picking Hobgood, Joe Jordan did select a HS pitcher for the first time. This selection made me five for eight since 2002 as I put the kiss of death on the draft hopes of Jordan Danks in 2005. I can not recall my 2004 selection.

This draft has a consensus top 3 in Bryce Harper (the power hitting JUCO prospect), Anthony Ranaudo (top college pitcher) and James Taillon (top HS pitcher). These three have been at the top of most projections systems for a while - such as the list below from last September.


Picking from outside that trio is more difficult this year as there are several quality prospects who could move up draft boards to elite positions this spring - mostly pitchers. BA's next top three college arms are Deck McGuire (GaTech, 6'6", 228, RHP), Drew Pomeranz (Mississsippi, 6'5", 230, RHP) and Chris Sale (Florida Gulf Coast, 6'5", 175, LHP). BA's top college position player is Christian Colon (shortstop, Cal State Fullerton) - he's BA's Best Pure Hitter among college players entering the draft.

The BA writeup for these four is below:

McGuire - Very similar to Ranaudo in terms of size, stuff and command.

Pomeranz - Used his 90-95 mph fastball and wipeout curveball to lead Team USA's college team with 48 Ks in 26 IP.

Sale - the No 1 prospect in the Cape Cod League last summer throws 90-93 mph and has one of the draft's best change-ups.

Colon - The best pure hitter in the college draft class gets the most out of his average speed and defensive tools.

Outside of Taillon, the next best HS arms are AJ Cole (6'5", 185, RHP, Florida) and Karsten Whitson (6'3", 195, RHP, Florida). The top HS position prospects are Manny Machado (11th pick overall in BA's Early Draft Preview) - a SS (6'2", 180, from Miami) and Josh Sale (6'0", 205, also from Florida).

The BA write-ups for these four is below:

Cole - the most projectable of the elite pitchers in this draft, has a low 90s fastball and promising secondary pitches

Whitson - Combines athleticism, a live 92-94 mph fastball and a share 78-81 slider

Machado - He's more physically gifted than Colon and outslugged Harper with the Team USA juniors last fall

Sale - the top HS hitting prospect in this class, he generates left power with strength and bat speed

Some recent comments about the guys above including another top 10 prospect - Dylan Covey - HS RHP California:



Some draft factors and other facts:

- It is difficult to analyze who will be taken by the Nats and Pirates. It is difficult to see the Nats passing on Harper. If they did, I would expect the Nats to take a fast rising college pitcher of the Ranaudo, McGuire, Pomeranz ilk. IMO, it is difficult to forecast the Pirates taking a HSer and that organization has stayed away from high $ picks like Wieters and other recently. I think they could also take a pitcher from the Ranaudo, McGuire, Pomeranz group. Would the Os meet the bonus demands of a Harper or Taillon or Cole (who probably would ask for Porcello, Wheeler, Matzek $ in the $4M-$7M range)? The Os avoided a big bonus player in 2009, but met the asking price of Wieters and Matusz in the two previous years.

- Joe Jordan has been all over the place with his first round picks - HS right batter (Snyder), HS lefty batter (Rowell), polished college bat (Wieters), LHP college in Matusz and RHP HS in Hobgood. About all we can say is that Jordan has not passed on the obvious, polished talent (Wieters, Matusz) when available early - I think it will be difficult to pass on Ranaudo and Taillon. Would Jordan want to grab a strong, polished college pitcher to move quickly or plant another seed at the bottom of our system (such as Hobgood)? Would Jordan grab one of the two SS prospects above - Colon or Machado?

- BA's only local prospects are Bobby Wahl 68th rated HS prospect from Springfield, VA, Jedd Gyorko, # 12 college prospect SS at West Virginia, #17 college prospect Jarrett Parket OF at Virginia, #18 college prospect Jesse Hahn at VaTech, Austin Wates - 27th college prospect OF at VaTech, 55th college RHP Matthew Price from VaTech, #89 college RHP Tyler Wilson at Virginia. Not sure where the college prospects played HS ball.

- BA also listed out the top prospects in college by year. Among the freshmen, the Os failed to sign the 2009 37th round pick, Taylor Rogers, rated the 22nd freshmen per BA. The Rays had six of the top fifty and five of the top 15 led by their unsigned firts and second round picks. The Os did not previously draft any of the top 50 sophomores or juniors - the Brady kid who attended Virginia who many had hoped to sign in 2008 did not make the cut. The Os unsigned 19th round pick from 2009, Jeff Walters, is the 14th rated college senior.

- Joe Jordan is influenced by performances the summer before the draft. Prospects such as Rowell, Olson, Avery, all performed very well in the summer showcases or college summer league. Prospects who really distinguished themselves last summer include Harper, Taillon, college LHP Sale and Machado.

Well, there's not much room for a high riser to move ahead of the Os draft position or be selected by the Os. Such a player would have to pass elite talents Harper, Ranaudo and Taillon. My successes above have been from taking the best HS position player - such as Vitters and Hosmer - guys who tend to be under-rated early in the spring season, IMO. The player that fits that description fills a position of enormous need for the Os - Manny Machado - also a position the Os used their 2009 second round pick on. IMO, the top HS players from this draft are all strong candidates for the Os to select - from Taillon to Cole to Whitson to Covey and Machado. I think Machado retains a tremendous offensive upside and there appears to be a consensus at this time that Machado can stick at SS. On some lists, Machado will have to pass a lot of folks to get to 3 or better, but I'll take that risk despite being heavily swayed to AJ Cole.

Regardless of my uninformed opinion, we should expect Joe Jordan will select a premium talent at 1:3. At this time, I'm hoping we select one of Taillon, Ranaudo, Cole or Machado.

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Thanks for the info and analysis, Hoosiers. Appreciate the write-up.

Middle infield is still a need for this organization, and undoubtely a reason Hangouters get overly excited about top flight SS prospects.

A couple things to consider before we start salivating over Machado

- With the success and praise that pitching picks have received, Jordan's track record with middle infield picks has not been as strong.

- Reaching to draft a SS seems to be a desparation move, especially in light of drafting Givens last year.

- What budget philosophy will the O's brass bring to this draft: best available (which means big $$$ to first rounder) or depth (spending over slot for talents later in the draft)

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My self imposed restrictions prevent myself from picking a player inside the Os draft position. Currently, Machado is well outside the top five prospects on some lists and a borderline top five guy on others. By the time the draft rolls around hopefully Machado will have distinguished himself such that he would be worthy of our pick - as Hosmer, Vitters, Longoria and others did between the pre-draft ratings and the day of the draft. I did not select Machado because that is a current hole in our system, but because I think he retains a higher upside than he is given credit for.

As I mentioned, my self imposed restriction eliminates Ranaudo and Taillon as I like to try to find an under-rated prospect. I hope the Os take the best player available. There are numerous quality candidates that will be available and my preference at this time would Ranaudo, Taillon and then Cole/Whitson/Machado with a slight edge to Machado.

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  • 2 months later...

Was hoping someone else would pump up this prediction, but that's not in the cards, apparently. Machado was pre-season 11 and there did not seem much room in the top 3 at the time, but Ranaudo faltered this spring and Manny moved in.

I think BA's pre-season top 15 or so held up pretty well ....

I've been on the "Pittsburgh will take a college talent with their first pick" bandwagon for several years recently, but was proven wrong this year. It would have been an interesting decision if Ranaudo had held up whether Pittsburgh would have drafted Ranaudo or Taillon and if the Os would have taken the remaining pitcher or gone with Machado.

I think there is tremendous upside to Machado and will conclude the update with a Jim Callis answer to my BA Chat question today:

hoosiers (Hangout North): Great draft coverage. A lot has been made of Harper's age, but Machado is young for a HS senior and is not much older than Harper. Per BA, Machado appears capable of playing a premium position in the majors. Does Machado get enough credit regarding his upside relative to Harper given that both are only 17? Will Machado at SS provide more value than Harper in RF in the majors?

Jim Callis: Valid point on Machado. I think the general perception of the difference in value between Harper and Machado is far greater than the reality.

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