If you missed my story yesterday with Jim Callis of Baseball America, he believes very strongly that the Orioles will sign their top draft pick, prep shortstop Manny Machado, by next week’s Monday midnight deadline.
The Orioles have five players unsigned among players they drafted in the first 15 rounds:
Round one pick Manny Machado
Round three pick Dan Klein
Round six pick Dixon Anderson
Round seven pick Matthew Bywater
Round 11 pick Alexander Gonzalez
The club has not officially announced agreements with fifth-round pick Conner Narron and ninth-round selection Parker Bridwell, but those two are believed to be all but done.
Callis expects a flurry of signings leading up to the deadline.
“As of right now, we’ve got 96 players in the first ten rounds unsigned. That’s 96 out of 325. Last year there were only 22 unsigned players in the first ten rounds. I think it will probably be about the same this year, when all is said and done,” Callis said.
So, he added, that bodes well for the Orioles to get most, if not all five of the players mentioned above signed.
“It does bode well. Do I think they’ll sign all those guys? Not necessarily, but I think it’s reasonable to think they will get Machado and at least two of the other four guys.
“If I’m an Orioles fan I look at it like my team has spent in the past and they’ll do it again. The Orioles last year set a franchise record spending 8.7 million on the draft and they might top that this year.”
Callis said with Machado at the top, this draft could turn out to be a very good one for the Orioles.
“I haven’t stacked up all the teams against each other and we won’t know for a few years (for sure) how good these drafts are, but it starts at the top with Machado.
“He does draw comps to A-Rod because he’s a shortstop with five tools from Miami. That’s ludicrous because A-Rod is one of the best in baseball history.
“But Manny Machado is a stud. This guy would be the number one pick in some years in the draft. At the time of the draft when the Rays took Tim Beckham number one two years ago, and he has struggled, but if you are grading out how good Beckham was when they took him, Manny Machado is a better player than Beckham was when he was the number one pick.
“I like what they got. Trent Mummey is a guy that is kind of average, maybe a little above across the board. Conner Narron is a guy who, after his sophomore year looked like he would be a first-round pick. He’s tailed off a bit, but there is a lot of upside there.
“(Wynston) Sawyer is an interesting catching prospect out of high school. Bridwell, who they gave a bunch of money to, was a three-sport guy who I think is going to get a lot better as a pitcher now that he is a baseball-only guy.
“Clay Schrader, their tenth rounder, is a guy we had ranked in our top 200. I thought he had a chance to go maybe fifth round. He’s a little guy with some effort to his delivery, but when he is on he’s got a mid 90’s fastball with a mid 80’s slider and has some nasty, nasty stuff.
“You throw in a Dan Klein and a Dixon Anderson or Matt Bywater too and I think they’ll get at least a couple of those guys and I like this draft class.”