Here is the final part of my series of interviews with Jim Callis of Baseball America.
Today he discusses the O’s drafts under Joe Jordan and the dollars the Orioles have spent on the draft. He gives Jordan solid marks for his drafts.
“They’ve been good. I know some Baltimore fans, at least from the emails I get, are a little impatient, saying Matt Wieters isn’t all he was cracked up to be and Brian Matusz is struggling. But those were two very good picks. They were guys that didn’t sign for slot money, yet the Orioles pulled the trigger on them.
“Hobgood last year was a little bit of a money saver. They spent money elsewhere in the draft but they went with a slot-guy at the top. He may have been more of a money pick, but I know the Orioles publicly have said that is not the case.
“I think Joe has done a good job. The farm system is better than it’s been and they’ve gotten more young players to the big leagues the last few years than they have in a while. I think their player development and scouting departments are as effective as they have been in a long time.”
Callis said the O’s spent $8.7 million on draft picks last year. He said in the future they should spend even more than that on the draft.
“The average team spends a little over six (million). That can be distorted due to what you spend on your first pick. They have been more aggressive than most teams recently.
“They spent a lot on Cameron Coffey, Michael Ohlman and Mychal Givens, so they didn’t go cheap (last year).
“But to me the easiest way to build a team is through the draft. Quite frankly, if the Yankees want a Major League free agent, they will get him. If the Red Sox want him, they are probably going to get him. The Orioles can’t spend like those teams and the Sabathias and Teixieras won’t come there until the team starts winning.
“The only way to compete is in the draft. If the Orioles were my team, I’d spend even more in the draft and have the commissioner’s office screaming at me. They are more aggressive than most teams, but if you are spending eight, why not spend ten or twelve (million). Not every guy you get will hit, but the rate of return on the investment is high.
“They have not been cheap, but to me, if I had a bad team in the AL East, I’d be as aggressive as possible in the draft, I’d spend 10 or 15 million a year. The way the system is set up, if you are willing to spend, the system winds up driving the players who are not going to sign for slot money, to the teams that are willing to pay them the extra money.
“We saw them do it last year. They gave Michael Ohlman almost a million dollars in the 11th round. They gave Coffey almost a million dollars, even though he had Tommy John surgery in March. They wind up giving Givens a lot of money at the end. But you can get three more guys like that. That’s how you get back into contention.”
Where the Orioles select in each round:
Round 1 - 3rd
Round 2 - no pick
Round 3 - 85th
Round 4 - 118th
Round 5 - 148th
Rounds 6-50 - Every 30th pick after that.
High School players have been taken with the third pick three straight years:
2007 - Cubs take 3B Josh Vitters
2008 - Royals take Eric Hosmer
2009 - Padres take Donovan Tate
Keith Law’s lastest draft projection:
Nats - Bryce Harper
Pirates - Jameson Taillon
O’s - Manny Machado
Jim Callis’ latest draft projection:
Nats - Bryce Harper
Pirates - Manny Machado
O’s - Jameson Taillon