I have interviewed Gary Rajsich many times since he became Orioles scouting director and you could hear a little extra excitement in his voice late last night when he talked with reporters about the O's top three draft picks.
In pitcher Hunter Harvey, they get a kid that already is throwing 91 to 95 mph, and the potential for more is there. When he gets in the O's conditioning and throwing program, he could add weight, strength and velocity like Josh Hader, a high school pitcher they selected last year.
Dan Duquette scouted Harvey, so this was a player the O's had targeted before the draft.
Harvey is being represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Speedy outfielder Josh Hart has shown the potential to have five tools, making him a rare player in this draft, some scouts say. Even though they got him 15 picks after Harvey, the O's had these two players rated close together on their draft board. They were quite pleased he was there at No. 37.
Chance Sisco was drafted for his bat first - the O's really like the kid's offensive potential. It was a bonus that he moved from infield to catcher this year, but he showed some real potential behind the plate and for now the O's will keep him there.
The O's could get one or all three of these players signed quickly and some negotiations could begin as soon as today. Even as the draft is going on, that may happen. The O's scouting department can multitask.
The draft resumes at 1 p.m. and the Orioles have the 98th overall pick and then will select every 30 picks after that.
Check back here today as I will update this blog after each of today's O's draft picks.
Also, watch "O's Xtra" at 6:30 p.m. on MASN and I will be on for a segment discussing the Orioles' draft.
Today's Orioles picks:
In the third round: With the 98th overall selection, the Orioles added left-hander Stephen Tarpley from Scottsdale Community College in Arizona. He was an eighth-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2011. He initially went to Southern Cal, but left to go to Scottsdale so he could be eligible for this draft. His fastball can get up to 94 mph and he also has a curveball and slider with a changeup rated a little behind his breaking pitches. This season, Tarpley was 3-2 with an ERA of 2.35 and 108 strikeouts over 92 innings for Scottsdale.
In the fourth round: The Orioles selected catcher Jonah Heim from Amherst (N.Y.) High School near Buffalo with the draft's 129th selection. He is a switch-hitter and reports say he has a strong arm and good times throwing to second base. So the O's have drafted two catchers from the high school ranks among their first five picks. Heim has a college commitment to Michigan State.
By the way, that makes four high school players among the O's first five selections. Last year, when they drafted college players with eight of their first 10 picks, they didn't draft their fourth high school kid until round 14.
Keys All-Stars: MASNsports.com has learned that pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez and catcher Zane Chavez have been named to play in the Carolina League All-Star game. Rodriguez is having quite a year for the Keys, going 6-2 with a 2.94 ERA over 11 starts. He pitched to an ERA of 2.23 in six starts in May.
The lefty has an ERA of 1.33 and an average against of just .211 his last three starts. That is quite a run and today quite an honor for the 20-year-old Rodriguez.
Chavez is batting .279 with four homers, 27 RBIs and an OPS of .809. An official announcement of the pair making the game should come this afternoon.
In the fifth round: The Orioles took another high school player, selecting lefty pitcher Travis Seabrooke from Crestwood Secondary School in Ontario, Canada. The 6-foot-5, 197-pound hurler has a fastball in the 90 mph range. He throws a curve also and his changeup is said to be behind the other two pitches.
In the sixth round: In the sixth round with pick No. 189, the Orioles took a local Baltimore-area product. They drafted catcher Alex Murphy from Calvert Hall College High School. He's listed as 5-foot-11, 180 pounds and bats and throws right-handed.
So that makes three catchers and six high school players among the O's first seven picks in this draft. Last year, they didn't take their sixth high school player until the 19th round. They got a good local product then in pitcher Josh Hader and now they add Murphy to the organization.
In the seventh round: With pick No. 219, the Orioles selected third baseman Drew Dosch out of Youngstown State University. Dosch is listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds.
Dosch suffered a torn ACL in a game May 17 and had surgery on Tuesday of this week. This year he batted .338 with three homers, 30 RBIs and a .434 OBP.
The left-handed-hitting Dosch made the Cape Cod League All-Star team last summer after opening as a fill-in. He is considered advanced with his approach at the plate to go with decent power. In the field, he doesn't have much range and some believe he might have to move to first eventually.
In the eighth round: The Orioles added Notre Dame first baseman Trey Mancini with the 249th pick.
Mancini, listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, is renowned for his power. The right-handed hitter reportedly needs to improve his pitch recognition to reach his potential. For the Irish this year he hit .389 with seven homers and 54 RBIs.
The O's last three picks and six of nine overall have been position players.
In the ninth round: The Orioles drafted their fourth pitcher with pick No. 279, selecting 6-foot-5 left-hander Mitch Horacek out of Dartmouth. This season he went 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA and fanned 42 in 45 innings.
In the 10th round: The O's went with another college position player at No. 309, taking Fresno State catcher Austin Wynns. As a senior this season, Wynns hit .279 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 53 games.
In all, the Orioles have selected seven position players in 11 picks, including four catchers. Of the four pitchers they have taken, three are southpaws.
O's first 11 picks in 2012: Three from high school, eight from college and seven pitchers.
O's first 11 picks in 2013: Six from high school, five from college and four pitchers.