The Orioles drafted 41 players in the June draft and they signed 32 of them. They signed all of their top 15 picks.
To take a closer look at the O’s draft and get some analysis about it, I turned again to Jim Callis of Baseball America.
What is your overall take on the O’s draft?
“I thought it was solid. They get a real high upside high school arm in Hunter Harvey and one of the better high school athletes in the draft in Josh Hart.
“After that, Chance Sisco is a young catcher from California, (Stephen) Tarpley is a hard-throwing lefty, Jonah Heim is another athletic catcher. I think that if Drew Dosch is healthy, that’s really good value there in round 7.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily one of the drafts that jumps out at me the most, but to be honest, the drafts that jump out at you seem to be those of the teams picking at the top that get one of the elite guys or the teams that have a lot of extra picks, and this year the Orioles were not one of those teams.
“I thought the Danny Ayers signing was a nice sign. A guy they got in the 25th round that didn’t cost them an arm and a leg, but a guy that probably fits six to 10 in terms of talent.”
What is your take on their first-round pick, pitcher Hunter Harvey?
“He’s a guy that really came on this spring. He touched 97 (mph) in one outing. I don’t think he did that repeatedly, but you know it’s in there. He’s got the bloodlines because his dad was an All-Star.
“He’s flashed a changeup. He flashes a breaking ball. He’s got the projection and he’s shown you the 97. He could be a guy with three pretty good pitches.”
How about the O’s second-round pick, outfielder Josh Hart?
“He’s part of that Parkview (Ga.) program that has been one of the best teams in the country the last few years. He profiles as a center fielder with speed. A line drive, gap-to-gap hitter. He’s kind of that traditional leadoff, center field/speed type of guy.”
What about the Orioles taking high school players with their first three picks and six of their first seven selections?
“I haven’t talked to them directly, but sometimes that happens by accident, the board keeps coming up high school. But also, the Orioles are in better shape than they’ve been in years. In the past, picking near the top of the draft, maybe you are looking for a quicker return. Now maybe you can take a little longer view.
“There is not one way to do things. I don’t think drafting high school is better than college or college over high school. College guys develop quicker but in general, you have a little bit better chance of getting a real star if you get the guy out of high school.”
Did Drew Dosch, the O’s seventh-round pick fall to that round due to a torn ACL that was operated on June 4? Baseball America had him rated as the draft’s 131st-best player and he wasn’t taken until pick No. 219.
“We set our rankings three weeks before the draft and he hadn’t hurt his knee when we ranked him No. 131. If he was healthy, I think he would have gone in that fourth-round range.
“He was one of the better pure college hitters around. There is some question, is he a 10-homer guy or a 15-homer guy. He runs OK and has arm strength, but he’s not the most agile guy at third. There is some question if he is a third baseman or a left fielder. If he’s an outfielder you’d want more power out of it. But I really like the bat and this signing and I felt this was nice value in the seventh round.”
Did the O’s make any picks that caught your attention after the top 10 rounds?
“Jake Bray, the 12th-rounder, is interesting. A two-way (pitcher and position player) guy that touched 96 (mph) as a closer. A lot of scouts like taking two-way guys, as they feel if you take a two-way guy with a strong arm and you put him on the mound he won’t get worn out playing a position every day and he’ll get even better. He was 93 to 96 (mph) as a reliever and flashed a plus slider. They may even have a starter there.
“Mike Yastrzemski (round 14) is the grandson of a Hall of Famer and his dad was a college star and minor league player. I don’t know if there is a standout tool, but he kind of does everything well and gets the job done. He’s interesting.
“Jon Keller, who they got in the 22nd round, is a big body kid, 6-foot-5 with a 90 to 94 mph fastball. Danny Ayers in round 25, he touched 94 (mph) and showed a promising curve as a high school lefty.”
What about the O’s signing their top 15 picks and 32 in all?
“I haven’t looked at signing percentages. You know 32 seems like a lot. My gut instinct is for a while, teams usually signed 25 or so. I do think teams are signing more with the new rules. Signability has always been important but now more than ever. You have to budget for all your picks and we are definitely seeing more players signed at the top of the draft.”