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draft philosophy- the safe pick or go-for-broke?


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Do we go with the "safe" choice like Pomeranz/McGuire/Colon - guys that should make the Majors in a relatively short time frame and contribute. Perhaps not superstars, but solid.

or take a chance and gamble on a toolsy high-schooler like Manny Machado?

Some call him "potentially the best player in the draft" (aside from Harper).

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Personally, I think it's a measure of both. Personally I like James Taillon he projects to eventually be a TOR-Ace SP. However You must weigh his volatility and consider your needs long term. However, we are talking the third overall choice. Getting anything less than a player that is eventually a centerpiece of your roster would be a major disappointment.

I am no scout, but it's my understanding that those who are know by taking a hard look at a pitcher's mechanics know if there is potential injury risk involved.

When you consider the team's troubled history at developing positional talent and the somewhat striking success rate in recent years with pitching. Along with the talent pool itself. I think you could almost lock the team to choose an arm.

I really suspect they take whomever they are most enamored with, not what national news services think are the best.

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Personally, I think it's a measure of both. Personally I like James Taillon he projects to eventually be a TOR-Ace SP. However You must weigh his volatility and consider your needs long term. However, we are talking the third overall choice. Getting anything less than a player that is eventually a centerpiece of your roster would be a major disappointment.

I am no scout, but it's my understanding that those who are know by taking a hard look at a pitcher's mechanics know if there is potential injury risk involved.

When you consider the team's troubled history at developing positional talent and the somewhat striking success rate in recent years with pitching. Along with the talent pool itself. I think you could almost lock the team to choose an arm.

I really suspect they take whomever they are most enamored with, not what national news services think are the best.

This approach in the bolded is somewhat contradictory.

To get a player who becomes the centerpiece of your roster, you have to start with high-ceiling talent. But the high-ceiling talent may be a high-risk talent as well. I'd say that if you're going in that direction, you have to prepare for things not to work out--be ready to accept it as the price of rolling the dice, not a major disappointment.

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- Rowell, Snyder, Adams, Henson, Givens, etc....

might Machado or Cabrera pique his interest?

The players above were rated pre-draft and were not really reaches. And Rowell, Snyder and Adams will all be at AA and higher this year.

I've followed Jordan's picks a lot and it is really difficult to put him in a box with who he likes and who he passes on. Jordan and our scouts are very good at identifying quality pitchers and have an impressive hit rate there, IMO.

Jordan takes more chances than most SDs, IMO, and that should result in a better hit rate among later round players. Jordan did not do so well in the later rounds in the initital drafts (save David Hernandez, Spoonye), but appears to have found more potential prospects after round five in the past two years with guys like Caleb Joseph.

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To me, a high draft selection is like looking an at bat with count 3-0 game and a risp, hit it hard or miss, obviously counting in your previous training to support you (your scouts hard work) if you miss, you will get other at bats in the game, if you don't trust your training, then play it safe.

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This approach in the bolded is somewhat contradictory.

To get a player who becomes the centerpiece of your roster, you have to start with high-ceiling talent. But the high-ceiling talent may be a high-risk talent as well. I'd say that if you're going in that direction, you have to prepare for things not to work out--be ready to accept it as the price of rolling the dice, not a major disappointment.

You are correct sir. It absolutely was a contradiction. Let me try to explain myself.

The OP asked Safe pick or go for broke?

This season we are selecting the third overall choice. I personally consider it a must that we select a guy with a ceiling so high we cannot help but fall in love with our long term return. However... If that selection is a pitcher (likely), and he doesn't at least turn out to be a #3 SP that gives the club a 4.50 ERA and 200 IP for 4 years... I would have no choice but call that selection a bust. It's a very high draft choice that the club is unlikely to get another shot at for a very long time. Right now I want that player to be James Taillon. I think his potential isn't hyperbole. I think in four years he is real TOR type of guy.

That said, it isn't all about velocity to me. Today great pitchers need 4 or 5 plus pitches coupled with command and control to become a true ace. That said, if I could ask the Orioles' scouts one thing it would be just how likely is it that Taillon can add that to his arsenal? If he can't do that he could still become a solid SP, however the chances that he is a centerpiece are drastically reduced. That is volatility.

Above I stated that it was my belief that scouts know trouble when they look at a guy's mechanics when throwing if he is an injury risk. If I am wrong on that end I would love some feedback on the subject. Beyond that however I define injury risk as volatility.

I don't think there is a mold of player that is absolutely what you want. For instance Tim Lincecum (5-11) and Zakk Greinke (6-2) aren't exactly towering, musclebound guys. I think it's more a matter of command control when you look at what a player can become. I love Taillon as a prospect, however the distance from high school ace and future star to becoming a ML Ace SP is a long long way. You have to consider it. Why walk away millions of dollars less and with nothing if you aren't sure what your getting.

Do I have confidence in the organization's ability to develop a pitcher? Yes. Do I have confidence in it's ability to draft and develop a SS? Ehh... not so much. That said, when you consider the talent pool. The high draft choice, the team's strengths and the team needs to me it has to be a pitcher. Only Harper could swing me on that note. The chances of both being available at #3 overall are so slim... Better scout both of them anyway.

More Contradictions

The OP also asked would a safer selection like Deck McGruire or Drew Pomeranz be the way to go? Well if they figure them to only be average MLB SP the answer is no! However there are different degrees of "No" in my thinking. Let me explain...

If Deck McGuire becomes a solid #3 SP with league average career statistics. I think we all will be somewhat disappointed. However, Pomeranz being a lefty, and their careers mirror one another precisely? I would have to weight that as well as I would much rather have another lefty in the rotation. I would still be somewhat disappointed if either turned out to be pedestrian MLSPs. However a Lefty is just much more appealing and harder to come by. Of those two if the question of volatility is even... I would choose Pomeranz.

However, Deck McGuire is already a 4 pitch guy... The best pitchers and those with the most potential have an impressive repertoire of pitches to throw. In other words... If McGuire really develops these pitches he won't be a workhorse type. He will become a star. To date all I have read though is that these pitches are average. Pomeranz, on the other hand has three pitches but is only considered solid nothing that blows you away... I would still go with McGuire. Why I like guys with four or more pitches. It doesn't matter that professional hitters see thousands of pitches. The more options a pitcher has the better he can screw with a hitters timing.

So while I am not predicting what the Orioles are going to do with their top choice. Like them I am scrapping for as much info regarding the coming draft as I can. I know I don't want the 3rd choice to go to a SS that projects as ML average. I know I don't want a pitcher that has mechanical issues that will destine that player for a relief role or likely need surgery.

That said, I really think you have to weight Volatility vs. High Ceiling.

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I think you have to take the best play available regardless of position and regardless of what his contract demands might be. That is how Matt Wieters fell to us in 07, so we have to be prepared to take Harper, Tallion, etc.... if either the Nats or Bucs pass on them.

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