It probably doesn’t happen very often, but last week the Orioles agreed to terms with a player that did not get taken in the June draft, but one they feel has a lot of talent.
They came to terms with 18-year-old Glynn Davis of Catonsville Community College, a player with great speed that played shortstop in junior college but will move to center field in the O’s minors.
The right-handed hitting Davis hit .430 with ten homers and 35 steals, but went almost totally un-scouted at Catonsville. Then he had a big summer playing for the Youse’s Orioles team that won the AAABA national championship in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
There he was seen by scouts and before another team could swoop in and sign him, the Orioles did.
O’s scouting director Joe Jordan talked about how Davis could be highly regarded by O’s scouts, yet was little noticed at Catonsville by other organizations and went un-drafted.
“We’ve kind of had this situation before, whether it was (pitcher) Oliver Drake, when some people didn’t realize he was (draft) eligible as a sophomore at the Naval Academy,” Jordan said.
“It’s just a really good job by a first-year area scout in Chris Gale, first of all identifying the guy. We had him in our pre-draft workout at Camden Yards.
“We saw a couple of tools we liked and we were going to take him down in the draft. Chris and (East Coast crosschecker) Dean Albany assured me they didn’t feel there was any other club on him.
“As things got rolling (in the draft) and we ended up taking guys, once it reached a certain point, Dean basically and Chris, they just thought, we don’t need to do this. We don’t know for sure whether this is something we need to do this summer. Let’s just not alert everyone to him. Let’s watch him this summer and we can do it as a free agent signing.”
So the Orioles did not take Davis at any point in the draft. Was Jordan concerned that another team would draft Davis at some point?
“I’m working strictly off my staff at that point. Bottom line, we rolled the dice. We wanted to watch him and get to know him.
“It could have gotten away from us and someone could have taken him, but that’s how it played out. Dean and Chris got to see him and we decided that he would go pretty good in the (next) draft if we sent him back because of the progress that he made this summer, so we just signed him.”
Also, because Davis went undrafted, he did not need to sign by the August 16th deadline, but did have to be signed before Catonsville student-athletes returned for classes.
Jordan said Davis’ play in that Johnstown tourney, where the O’s scouted him again, kind of clinched it that they wanted to sign Davis.
“That had a lot to do with it. Dean and Chris were there and got to watch him for several games and there was some interest from other clubs.
“It was a little bit of a game of poker on our part, but Dean and Chris just did a really good job. This kids got good tools. He can throw, he can run and we like his swing. When you got right to it, there are three tools that are present.”
The Orioles plan for Davis to play center field.
“I think that’s what we should do with that type of run tool and our guys liked how he caught the ball (in the Johnstown tourney). He’s got enough arm to play right also, but I think center field is a good idea right now.”
I asked Jordan if he felt Davis had top ten round type talent?
“He’s got a top of scale run tool. He’s got a better than average Major League arm and we got a swing that we like, the easy answer is yes, definitely. He’s got the physical ability to be a real good player.
“I like his swing, that’s exciting to me. He hit over .400 this summer with a wooden bat.
“Our guys did a really good job on this, they played it well. We talk every day about scouting the whole draft. Let’s find someone that no one is on, let’s beat the rest of the clubs and they did with this.
“We don’t know what he will become, but as far as ability, these guys did a great job.”