The Orioles’ top three draft picks will make their professsional baseball debuts this week, pitching in games in Florida and Maryland.
Also, the Orioles today announced the signing of their seventh-round pick, UCLA pitcher Max Schuh. The O’s are close to signing their ninth-round pick, University of Mississippi infielder Austin Anderson, according to a source.
When Anderson’s signing is completed, the Orioles will have signed their first 16 draft picks, getting everyone from rounds three through 16.
The O’s top pick, high school lefty Brian Gonzalez, who was taken in the third round, will pitch Wednesday for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles and is expected to throw one or two innings.
Their Round 4 pick, right-hander Pat Connaughton out of Notre Dame, and round 5 pick, right-hander David Hess out of Tennessee Tech, will debut in relief for short-season Single-A Aberdeen during Tuesday’s game at Ripken Stadium.
The 22-year-old Schuh, whose signing was announced today, is 6-foot-4 and 210 lbs. and went to UCLA as a walk-on for the football team. He was on the team as a quarterback, but did not get into any games during the 2010-11 seasons.
Baseball America’s scouting report says Schuh has a high three-quarter delivery, making his 86-91 mph fastball tough to pick up. Some scouts see him profiling as reliever. Schuh is ranked No. 360 on the Baseball America top 500.
This year for UCLA, he was 0-1 with an ERA of 1.55 in 37 games, all in relief. In 29 innings, he gave up 22 hits with 10 walks, 34 strikeouts and a .214 average against. He pitched in the Northwoods League last summer for Duluth, going 0-1 with a 2.07 ERA over 13 games.
With this signing, the Orioles have signed 29 players, including 19 pitchers. They have signed seven of their eight picks in the top 10 rounds, and Anderson will make that eight of eight.
Meanwhile, Orioles minor league outfielder Josh Hart has returned after missing several weeks. Hart had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in late May.
The Orioles’ No. 13 prospect according to Baseball America, Hart was injured in the second game of a doubleheader on May 26. His first game back was on June 26 and he has gone 1-for-11 with a stolen base in three games in the Gulf Coast League.
Hart was the Orioles’ second draft pick in last June’s First-Year Player Draft. After the club took Hunter Harvey 22nd overall, the Orioles selected Hart with the 37th pick. He was a supplemental first-round pick.
The 19-year-old Hart was with Single-A Delmarva when he was injured. With the Shorebirds, he was batting .266 with one double, no homers, 15 RBIs and a .573 OPS. He stole six bases in eight attempts and was batting .304 with runners in scoring position.
A very rough season for the Aberdeen IronBirds continued with another loss on Sunday. The IronBirds are 1-16 for the season with 11 consecutive losses.
While the Aberdeen pitching has been decent - the team ERA of 3.04 ranks sixth in the league - the offense has been very poor.
Aberdeen is last in the league with a team batting average of .180 and has scored just 31 runs in 17 games. Seven times in the last nine games, the IronBirdd have scored one run or less.