As the Orioles get set to make a pick outside of the top five picks in round one of the MLB Draft for the first time in a while on Sunday, draft expert Jim Callis gives the Orioles props for both drafting and developing young talent under Mike Elias and his front office staff.
And certainly, it is not a stretch to praise an O's organization that now has the No. 1 ranked farm system in the sport.
They drafted No. 1 overall in 2019, taking catcher Adley Rutschman and No. 2 in the next year selecting outfielder Heston Kjerstad. Their first selection in the 2021 draft, taken No. 5 overall, was outfielder Colton Cowser who just arrived in the majors. Last year, with the third No. 1 overall pick in club history, they selected high school shortstop Jackson Holliday. MLBPipeline.com now ranks him as the No. 1 prospect on their top 100 list.
“They have obviously done well (in the draft)," Callis said this week. "You can argue when you are picking one, two, five and one, you should do pretty well. They got Gunnar Henderson with their second pick back in 2019. I think it’s not just in drafting, but also development. Guys are coming into their system and getting better.
“Heston Kjerstad is a guy we have talked a lot about, took forever to get going and now they’ve got him back to where he was. He’s everything they hoped he would be. Some later round picks like Coby Mayo, granted was an overslot signing, Joey Ortiz and Jordan Westburg have developed well. They’ve made good picks and good picks later in the draft.