The Orioles have come to terms with their second-round draft pick, Vanderbilt third baseman Jason Esposito. They selected him with the 64th overall selection.
Esposito is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed hitter that turned 21 on July 19. This year in college he hit .341 with nine homers and 59 RBIs in 65 games. He had an on-base percentage of .405 and slugging percentage of .534. Esposito hit .376 in Southeastern Conference games.
He started every game in three seasons with Vanderbilt and is considered excellent on defense and even played some shortstop in college.
In 2008, he was drafted in round seven by Kansas City out of Amity High in Bethany, Conn. But he didn’t sign then, reportedly turning down a $1.5 million bonus to go to college.
Multiple reports indicate Esposito got a bonus in the neighborhood of $600,000 from the Orioles. The club has now signed 20 picks, including eight of their top ten selections. They hope to add Dylan Bundy (first round) and Nick Delmonico (sixth round) before tonight’s midnight deadline.
Esposito was ranked as the 55th best player in the draft by ESPN’s Keith Law and 77th by Baseball America.
Here is the Baseball America scouting report on Esposito:
The Royals drafted Esposito in the seventh round out of high school in 2008, but he turned down a reported $1.5 million offer to attend Vanderbilt. He may not get that much this time around, but he’ll be close. He got hot offensively this spring at the right time, hitting .376 in SEC play. Esposito is a college version of Marlins prospect Matt Dominguez in that his glove is ahead of his bat. He played some shortstop this spring but is an above-average defender at third with good hands and plus arm strength. Offensively, he has backed up a bit. An average runner with good instincts, he has been less proficient on the bases this year (11 SB, 10 CS) after going 51-for-60 his first two seasons, and stolen bases won’t be a significant part of his game as a pro. He has struggled against velocity at times and lost his rhythm, which tends to happen with players with a big leg kick. Some scouts wonder if he’s a natural hitter and believe he’ll wind up as a utility player, with his glove as his calling card.
In this YouTube video, Esposito hits a walk-off homer. Warning, it’s not exactly ESPN quality camera work.