A closer look at Joe Jordan’s time as scouting director

When Orioles fans debate how Joe Jordan did in his seven years as scouting director, most will first mention Matt Hobgood and Billy Rowell.

Rowell has simply not come close to panning out and may be headed on his way out of the organization and the returns so far on Hobgood are pretty bleak. Hobgood still has time to salvage his career though, so he can’t be written off yet.

But many fans will never forgive Jordan for these two picks.

My thoughts are that Jordan did a decent job as O’s scouting director and is a very good baseball man. One of the best teams in the sport, the Philadelphia Phillies, hired him away from the Orioles for a prominent position guiding their minor leagues. The Phillies, division champs for five straight seasons, clearly think highly of Jordan.

That says a lot to me about his talents.

But the Orioles didn’t win when he was here, the Orioles minor leagues are currently among the poorest in the sport currently and Jordan has to take some of the fall for that, of course.

Over the next few years, if players like Bobby and Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado, Dan Klein, Jason Esposito and Nicky Delmonico can lift up that farm system, Jordan’s record will look better.

I also look at it this way: Clubs can gain talent through free agency, international signings and the draft. The Orioles put adequate resources into the draft, but not the other two areas. They have been expecting to produce a winning club almost solely through the amateur draft. In any division, especially the American League East, good luck with that.

Jordan’s drafts produced many major leaguers, including Brandon Snyder, Garrett Olson, Nolan Reimold, David Hernandez, Pedro Beato, Ryan Adams, Zach Britton, Jason Berken, Blake Davis, Matt Wieters, Jake Arrieta, Matt Angle, Kyle Hudson and Brian Matusz.

Over the next year or two, perhaps players like Machado, the Bundy brothers, Xavier Avery, LJ Hoes, Joe Mahoney and Delmonico, to name just a few, will be added to this list.

Jordan’s 2009 draft is one that hasn’t produced any major league help yet. Several pitchers taken in that draft have either not advanced far in their careers yet and/or have dealt with injury issues, including Hobgood, Randy Henry, Ashur Tolliver, Aaron Wirsch, Ryan Berry, David Baker, Cameron Coffey, Ryan Palsha and Jake Cowan. Two position players taken high in that draft, Mychal Givens and Tyler Townsend, have not yet advanced beyond Single-A. How these players progress or do not in the next year or two will also have a lot to say about Jordan’s legacy in Baltimore.

Jordan’s drafts didn’t come close to producing a winner in Baltimore. But as he leaves the organization today, hired away by a top club to a prominent role, I hope fans realize he is not the only one that didn’t get this club over the hump.

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