There have recently been some rumblings in baseball circles and some reporters have been wondering whether Orioles manager Buck Showalter will have any input into the team’s selections in the upcoming First-Year Player Draft.
The theory is that Showalter wants to win now and doesn’t have time to wait around for a high school player to get to the majors. Thus, he would want the Orioles to draft a closer-to-ready college player with the fourth pick of the first round
“The X-factor for the Orioles is Buck Showalter,” Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis said. “He was part of the draft room in Texas and in Arizona. A lot of teams feel like Buck will be part of the draft room in Baltimore, too, and that he may want a bigger, college horse that might get there quicker. I think (high school pitcher Dylan) Bundy is going to get there quick for a high school guy. I know some teams think when push comes to shove, that Buck might push for a college pitcher.”
The man that will make the Orioles’ pick, scouting director Joe Jordan, said he does talk with Showalter at times, but that the O’s manager will not have input and doesn’t want any in the upcoming draft.
“No. Buck and I have talked a lot and I value the time I do get to talk to him,” Jordan said. “One of his great values is he is interested in everything. That is not a negative. I haven’t had anything but good conversations with him. He wants this organization to get better and that’s how I have taken my interaction with him on the draft.
“The thing people may not realize. I have a lot of conversations with Andy (MacPhail) and other people in our organization. I have questions and interaction with John Stockstill - he’s done this job in the past. I never really closed off anyone.
“Andy has worked with a lot of scouting directors and has been great to give me his insights. But this is our responsibility. We understand that, but we have interaction with a lot of people in our organization that help us.”
Meanwhile, some mock drafts continue to project the Orioles will take Oklahoma prep right-hander Dylan Bundy with their first-round pick. Jordan knows the Bundy family well and he drafted Dylan’s brother Bobby, now pitching with Single-A Frederick, in the eighth round in 2008.
Bobby Bundy got an overslot $600,000 signing bonus from the Orioles then. The Orioles and that family have a connection, of course, but Jordan said that doesn’t mean they are any more likely to take Dylan Bundy over another player.
“I don’t think it does. They are more familiar maybe with us than most families because they’ve had Bobby in the system for three years and he has progressed. But as far as being relative to our process, no, we have to seperate that. Whoever we pick, we’re going to try to pick the best option for this organization,” Jordan added.
Dylan Bundy and his advisors have reportedly told some teams that they may be seeking a $30 million major league contract. While no one expects him to get anything close to that, the price tag could be high on the right-hander. Is Jordan concerned about Bundy’s potential contract demands if the Orioles select him?
“My approach to that is to first try to figure out what player will be available. The economic part comes in later. I really don’t even have much of a reaction to anything that has been said on that right now. You can say anything you want two or three weeks before the draft. The truth comes out probably later this week, but it’s not really relevant to me right now,” Jordan said.