Until this year, when they picked Jackson Holiday as #1 overall, the Orioles didn’t use their top pick in a high school player draft. This was not the beginning of a sign that the Orioles were looking to add a group of newly graduated high school kids to the farm system. They picked three college players after Holiday on the first day of the draft, and when all was said and done on the second day of the draft, they went on for eight other players drafting college talent.
Mike Elias has never hidden what’s easier to appreciate about college players. Predictive models can take into account college stats in a way that would be difficult for high school players to do. There is a better sense of what a player’s strengths might be, what their weaknesses are, and what weaknesses they might be able to eliminate with time, instruction, and effort.
The group of Day Two players selected by the Orioles did not contain any sudden deviations in running to a high school player likely headed for college. They have chosen a group of players who are more or less likely to score near the value of their chosen slot. If O is lucky, one or two of them may build up some potential stocks for themselves over the next two seasons. If they aren’t, well, they’ll probably pick up more undergraduates next year and try again.
The second day was noteworthy for another reason: the Orioles finally drafted some jugs high in the draft. Elias’ previous three drafts had not seen a throw taken before the fifth round, nor more than two in the first 10 rounds. Five of the eight choices O made today are pitchers.
Round Three / #81 overall – Nolan McClain – RHP (/3B?) – Oklahoma State
A two-way player as an amateur, he was listed as a pitcher when the Orioles drafted him. Maybe this is a sign that they intend to keep him as a jug, although who knows, things might get weird. In the MLB Pipeline, where the 6’3″ Right is the 118th prospect in the draft class, they said this about his arm:
No questions asked about his arm, which delivers fast balls up to 98 mph and a pair of broken pitches (curve ball down, force slider) that have a chance of becoming extra offerings. He averaged nearly two hits per half as a high-powered reducer for Oklahoma State, and denizens began to wonder if his future might be brighter on the hill.
Even if it’s just a pitcher, this choice is immediately interesting for one reason: It’s the first time an Oriole has crafted a pitcher this high in the draft under Mike Elias. They had never crafted a pitcher before the fifth round.
McLean was used exclusively as a lounging when promoting Oklahoma State — where, incidentally, Josh Holiday, uncle of the Orioles #1 of Jackson’s pick, is the head coach. He hit 39 runs in 25.1 innings, hitting .285/.397/.595 with 19 home runs in 64 games as a third baseman. He is a sophomore eligible to enlist, having entered college after not being drafted into the five-round 2020 draft. He also had designs to play soccer when he got to campus, and then the soccer team didn’t give him any time to play, so it was baseball.
Here’s McLean throwing some punches and also hitting a dinger for the Cowboys:
R3, P81: RHP/INF NOLAN MCLEAN (State of Oklahoma)
– mid-nineties FB + good curve, slow 12-6
-25.1 IP in Relief in 2022, 4.97 ERA, 39 K, 13 BB, .206 BAA
-2022 Beating: Cut .285/ .397/ .595 s/19h but 107k at 242 AB
Advertised as a jug, but a two-way potentialpic.twitter.com/LZaAM9dsWD
– LockedOnOrioles @LockedOnOrioles July 18 2022
Fourth round / 107 overall – Silas Ardoin – C – Texas
This name may sound familiar to those whose long-term memory is just as full of useless information as the obscure former Oriole names. Ardoin’s father, Danny, played five games for the 2006 team as part of his five-year career in the league. Silas Ardoin, like his father, is a musk.
MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis recognized Ardoin upon hearing his name being called, calling him “one of the best, if not the best, defensive tackle” in this year’s draft class. Callis also noted that Ardoin “has upped it offensively, this year he’s been driving it more steadily… he might hit 12 or 15 home runs.” He was sixth in the draft.
A 6’0-inch correct hit is ranked 146th in the MLB Pipeline’s top 250 odds. This is what they said about him:
Arduin’s upbringing appears because he is too polished for a college collector. He has a soft hand and receives and defines balls well. It not only possesses extra arm strength, but also quick firing ability and impressive throwing accuracy.
Prior to this season, Ardoin was famous for his walking drawing but he didn’t hit much in the way of strength. That season improved, Callis noted, as Ardoin posted a .271/.391/.513 batting streak over 69 games. He hit 12 home runs. Not bad that there is some competition for Adley Rutschman’s future backup. There has to be someone better at defending and hitting than Robinson Sherinos.
Ardwin throws a man out:
Silas Ardwin, CI, TX: I don’t really care where Ardwin ranks, I think he’s a new NBA player in the future. Great defense, great tennis data.
– Greg Zumach (@IvyFutures) July 18 2022
Round 5 / No. 137 overall – Bright Tracking – RHP – Auburn
Bright, a petite 6 feet 4 inches tall, has led the Auburn Tigers baseball team with 94 penalties this season. That’s probably what the Orioles liked about him, given that his results certainly weren’t interesting – he had a 5.13 ERA for his junior season.
In the broadcast draft, Callis said Bright “managed to make four pitches to be average or better, 92-94 on his fastball.” It did not feature in the MLB Pipeline’s Top 250 ratings. This isn’t too surprising once you get into round five and the things the teams are looking for don’t match what generates a place on the longer lists of leads. another post, American baseballI had more to say about Bright:
Per Baseball America: “Bright looks a bit off a starter with a 6-foot-4, 199-pound drop frame, but he’ll need to improve his grip to make the most of what’s a legitimate, deep arsenal of solid stuff.”
The Verge An Orioles MiLB podcast (BSLOnTheVerge) July 18 2022
As Prop Joe once said to Avon Barksdale, “Look the part, be the part.” Well, it’s not that easy for a professional bowler, but there are worse places to start the journey. With the recent results from the Orioles junior league system, it doesn’t seem like a hopeless reason to have shooters who need to do some development to be their best.
Round Six / #167 overall – Douglas Hudow III – OF – University of Texas
Elias loves crafting university members. His first draft saw three college players in the first seven rounds. His second draft made him take two in his first three selections. Last year’s draft saw the Orioles knock out four college players from their top five picks. Throw them all in there and see who can play.
Hodo scores the pipeline draft order at #223:
Douglas’s skills at center field and his intimidation have earned him comparisons to Kevin Pillar and Eric Burns. Hodo’s speed keeps showing up and he can flash extra runtimes out of the batter box. The Longhorns didn’t really drive him on the base lanes but he does run balls from gap to gap on center court, where he has a playing arm. His energy-packed style of play made him a favorite among the Scouts of the region. While Hodo’s right swing can swing and can get overly aggressive and pull on the board, he has a knack for hitting the base.
Although every team hopes that the player selected at this point in the draft will be refined to become a top player, another important advantage of picking from mid-to-late round is the players who will come, work hard and have good behavior while playing alongside With more prospects announced. Hodo’s “high-energy style of play” may have also been noticed by the Oriole Scouts. It probably didn’t hurt that he led every NCAA Division I in doubles this college season.
The observation about having a strange swing is a common feature with First Day Orioles options by Dylan Bevers and Judd Fabian. The O takes three chances to turn one of these guys with a weird swing into a solid player. Maybe they are right. This could be the full Delmarva Shorebirds stadium for the final month of the season.
Round 7/197 overall – Preston Johnson – RHP – Mississippi
This is a pretty big guy, listed at 6’4″ and 250 lbs. He’s also 22 years old and he’s listed on the MLB Draft Tracker as an undergraduate, which raises the possibility that this is a “higher mark” pick that might save some bonus pool money (choose value around $250,000) which may need to go to one of our pre-drafted sophomores.
Johnson started 14 games for the Bulldogs and hit 117 hitters in 79 innings. On the telecast, Callis noted that this was the ninth best strike average among NCAA shooters this season, so again, you can guess what the Orioles might like about this guy. Can he do it like a pro? If everyone thought he could, he wouldn’t have featured his first season in college, and wouldn’t last until the seventh round of the 2022 draft.
Round 8 / No. 227 overall – Cameron Weston – RHP – Michigan
Elias’ avoidance of top-tier shooters for the first three years he framed here seemed like an overarching philosophy, but not with four shooters selected in the top ten and it seems like it was just a coincidence of the draft method. Boards lined up in previous seasons. Perhaps it was no coincidence that the Orioles, now that they had recruited a few pitchers, all came from universities I had heard of.
Weston is fresh on the Michigan junior season as he hit 92 hitters in 81.1 runs, although that came along with a high walking rate; He went almost every other run. The Orioles may also have noticed him playing in Cape Cod this summer. Weston threw 21.1 innings for Wareham Gatemen, hitting a 21-hitter with a WHIP of 0.891.
In the broadcast draft, Callis made a brief note on Weston before moving on to the other players: “Right-handed vulnerability, low 90s guy, excels at 94, the field with the best potential is a fork/splitter ball.”
Round 9 / 257 overall – Adam Crampton – SS – Stanford
Jonathan Mayo in the Crampton Stream draft described the prospect of “defense first, gauntlet first,” with “lots of contact” but not a lot of power, so there are big questions around the bat. In the ninth round, there will be questions about something. Something unfamiliar about him to American baseball players is that he was born in Taiwan.
Crampton was the Pac 12’s best defensive player of the season. The lack of power is evident in his battle line at Stanford in 2022, coming in at .316/.395/.392. You don’t get OBP above the slow percentage very often. He has hit one home run in 65 matches. Surely the Orioles didn’t formulate him to hit the house, they framed him to play balls with the shooting probabilities they are trying to develop so that they don’t start to feel horrible if they let contact.
Crampton’s simple defense:
Round 10/287 overall – White Cheney – RHP – McClennan CC (Texas)
Cheney was picked here from a small college, but the two previous seasons for him was promoting Oklahoma State, whose name has already appeared here. He had some major leadership issues as an assistant sophomore in 2021, walking 14 hitters in 13.2 innings. Both Callis and Mayo were baffled by this choice at first, and unless Cheney and the Orioles were very lucky, there might not be much to say about it.
The number of players selected in the first 10 rounds who sign professional contracts is very close to 100%. The Orioles would probably sign all these men, and perhaps even all the men who would take them tomorrow as well. With a heavy college draft, many of them will probably hop straight into Low-A Delmarva after a few short days to get their feet wet at the spring pool in Sarasota.