The First-Year Player Draft is now less than two weeks away and the Orioles will have the third pick in round one on June 7.
The man who will make the selection, O’s scouting director Joe Jordan, has narrowed his choices but said he has not yet made his final call on which player he’d like to take.
“We haven’t made a decision and we won’t until we get into the draft room and start going through it. I don’t have to make a decision until the seventh, so I try to practice what I preach and tell my guys - keep scouting. We’re out at all the conference tournaments now.
“We’ve got this thing down to probably five or six names. We know what group of guys the player will come from. No different than any other year.”
Many draft projections have Washington taking catcher Bryce Harper first with Pittsburgh then selecting either high school shortstop Manny Machado or high school pitcher Jameson Taillon. The O’s, most project, would take whichever player the Pirates don’t among that pair.
Jordan will huddle in Baltimore all next week with his top scouts and staff to set up his draft board.
I asked him if a players’ performance over the last few weeks before the draft is important.
“With the players we are talking about, it may influence one way or the other if you are really kind of even on a couple of guys. Honestly, most of the players we are talking about are guys that either we’ve seen them since high school or they’re in college. Or we’ve seen them for two years on the showcase circuit and their high school season.
“I don’t think it’s crucial. We’ve got so much history with every player I’m considering. If you see something really good late, it always helps the player but we’ve got so much history and background on these guys. We’re just trying to monitor them (right now) to make sure they are healthy and don’t get hurt.”
Jordan feels the player he will get with the third pick will stack up well with the talents of third picks in recent drafts.
“I think it’s a good year at the top of the draft. We’re picking three and I’m glad we’re picking three. I think there will be a really good option there. It’s a good year for where we are picking.”
Jordan would not comment on individual players the O’s could select. He did say he tries not to leave any stone unturned in attempting to separate the top talents available.
“You know, we just evaluate everything. From the physical stuff to the personal interaction to the psychological evaluations. Basically, scrutinize them in every way. Sometimes it’s hard to separate them.
“If everything is equal and one of them is a position player and I feel like it’s a good fit for us, then I might go that way. It’s difficult when you are picking high and like your options.”
Jordan concurs with the feeling that Harper to the Nats is pretty much a lock at this point.
“I feel like that is the consensus of everyone that is forecasting this stuff. If he gets past Washington and Pittsburgh, we’ve got our work done. We have two guys watching him this weekend. If he gets to us, we’ll be prepared.”
Here are the third overall picks from the last five years:
2005 - Seattle took C Jeff Clement from USC
2006 - Tampa took 3B Evan Longoria from Long Beach State
2007 - Cubs took high school 3B Josh Vitters
2008 - KC took high school 1B Eric Hosmer
2009 - SD took high school OF Donovan Tate
Coming over the next few days: More blogs and comments with Joe Jordan and other stories about the upcoming draft.
Check out this video feature on Jameson Taillon.
Here is a video of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.