Joe Jordan not scared of high school talent in first round

Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan has taken four high school players and two collegians with his six first-round picks since he was named to that post in November of 2004.

Right now, he is in the final days of his preparation for another draft and the Orioles have the fourth pick in Round 1 next Monday night.

There are several draft projections and predictions that have the Orioles taking Oklahoma right-handed high school pitcher Dylan Bundy with that pick. There is also a segment of fans that seem terrified of the Orioles drafting another high school pitcher after watching Matt Hobgood lose velocity and now struggle with an injury.

As for Jordan, he said he would not be afraid to take another high school pitcher if that is the player he feels is the best move for the Orioles when it’s their turn to select.

“The best way for me to answer that is I refuse to do this job scared,” Jordan said. “I do think that each draft is different. The players change, but the process and scrutiny we put ourselves through is the same. Yeah, you try to learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t. But I’m not going to do this job as a coward, I refuse to. We’ll do what we think is the best for the organization.”

I asked Jordan if it came down to a high school pitcher or one or more college pitchers for that selection, which would he go with?

“If everything is equal and we feel like we’re going to end up with the same player or same (talent level of) pitcher, then we’d probably lean toward the college player. I just think it makes sense. If it’s clearly a better option to go the other way in the end (with a high school pick), we’ll weigh that and weigh the risk of taking a younger pitcher. I just think that, if everything is equal, you take the 20 or 21-year-old.”

Right now Jordan says he has a list of six or seven players he is looking at for the fourth pick. This week he will try to learn which players are likely to be picked by the three teams selecting ahead of the Orioles.

“That’s the biggest variable right now, there is not a lot of information up above us. That’s not abnormal. Each club has their own process and everyone is working off of Pittsburgh. It’s the same as every year for us. We line up the country and then wait to react off those clubs. We have work to do in checking out any last-minute signability information, that type of stuff,” Jordan said.

While it seems quite unlikely that Rice infielder Anthony Rendon will be on the board when the Orioles make their pick, Jordan said he would not totally rule out the chance that Rendon could fall and still be around at four.

“I don’t really know. Everything being equal, there are medical questions that have to be answered. If he is healthy and deemed healthy, there is a good chance that he doesn’t get to us. But I do think there is a chance that he is available and we have work to do on that one like the three teams in front of us,” he said.

By the way, Jordan and his staff are holding draft meetings this week at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota and that is where they will make the picks from after working out of the Camden Yards warehouse in past years.

Coming later this week: Jordan talks about the Dylan Bundy family connection with the Orioles, the possible role of Buck Showalter in this draft and how a new collective bargaining agreement could impact next week’s selections.

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