Well, draft day is finally here. It feels like I've been writing about the draft for weeks, but it's only been about the last week.
It's an important three-day stretch for the Orioles. They seem certain to get a highly-touted prospect with their first-round pick tonight, but all of their picks will be important. The Tampa Bay Rays hit big on some draft picks over the years and that helped them climb to the top of the American League East.
But while fans are excited about the Orioles having the third overall pick (their highest since taking Ben McDonald number one overall in 1989) Tampa drafted third or higher seven times between 1999 and 2008. That produced players like Josh Hamilton, Evan Longoria, David Price and B.J. Upton.
Today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Pirates are "leaning" toward taking shortstop Manny Machado which would leave prep pitcher Jameson Taillon for the O's to take and it sure seems Taillon is the player the O's want most.
I'm not a scout and have not seen any of the top players play in person, just on some video. But based on my reporting, the player I would like to see the O's get is Taillon. You don't often see a high school pitcher that can throw 98 or 99. While velocity is not everything, let's face it, by getting Taillon the O's would have a pitcher that can throw faster right now than most players on this planet.
He is rated the clear best pitcher in this draft. We all know the Orioles need offense, but I don't think they could pass on Taillon. He has the look of a future ace number one starter. His work ethic and makeup are considered great. He's a good student from a great family. What's not to like.
The O's are expected to go after some hitters during this draft, probably starting with their third-round pick.
It should be an interesting few days. I will publish any Orioles updates or changes I hear about today as soon as I get them.
Note: By now you probably know, I've got a big day planned. I'll be at our MASN WebStudio later today to host a live online video chat here at 1:00 p.m. with the O's Adam Jones and we will broadcast live over this website and take your calls (914.338.0105) beginning at 2:00 p.m. Check back here often today and tonight.
Let the drafting begin...