MLBPipeline's Jim Calls gives O's drafting/developing props as farm became No. 1 (plus a rout in NY)

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. 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.

“The fact that it seems like it’s one player after another and guys get better, is a tribute to their development staff too.”

The Orioles will have five picks in the top 100 of the draft that begins Sunday night, selecting No. 17, No. 53, No. 63, No. 86 and No. 100.

In this entry yesterday, we discussed at some length Florida right-handed pitcher Hurston Waldrep, who helped the Gators reach the College World Series where they lost in the finals to LSU.

Callis provided some info on a few other prospects that have either been linked by some outlets to the Orioles or are players that could land somewhere around No. 17.

One is high school two-way player Bryce Eldridge from Vienna, Va. He is a firstbaseman and pitcher who has an Alabama commitment.

“He is a two-way player and two-way prospect. But he’s not going to be a two-way player as a pro," Callis said. "He’s going to get drafted, say 99 percent, as a hitter. Guys like him more as hitter. He’s a two-way prospect. But in the days before Shohei Ohtani, there were almost no two-way prospects. But it’s too hard to do both full-time. Shohei Ohtani makes this look so much easier than it is. Eldrige, I do think he’s in the Orioles mix, one of the better high school bats around, but you can’t do both in the pros. He’ll be drafted as a hitter and is a name I do hear connected with the Orioles.”

Another is Stanford shortstop Tommy Troy, who hit .394 this season with an OPS of 1.177.

“There is a group of college hitters that are bunched together. (Matt) Shaw from Maryland and Troy from Stanford are rising. They could both go before the Orioles. Or both could be there and if they got past the Orioles, they should go right after them.

“Troy is an offensive shortstop. Probably moves to second base as a pro. Shaw probably moves to second as a pro. Shaw was MVP of the Cape Cod League last summer, Troy had a good Cape League. They are both good players that could move quickly because they can hit. I have heard both those names."

The Terp Shaw batted .341/.445/.697/.1.142 with 24 homers for Maryland this season.

Callis also likes Florida Atlantic first baseman/outfielder Nolan Schanuel, who put up huge stats including a 1.483 OPS. He walked 71 times with just 14 strikeouts. 

“Schanuel probably has the best numbers of anybody in college baseball this year. The guy hit .447/.615/.868. He walked more than five times as much as he struck out and I think he got hit by more pitches than he struck out. He had an unbelievable year. Teams looking at performance love him. It’s good data. First base and maybe a chance to play left field. I have heard his name also at 17.

“You also hear names like (prep players) Arjun Nimmala is a Florida shortstop. Aidan Miller is a Florida third baseman as potential guys that could be in the Orioles mix. Chase Davis is an outfielder from the University of Arizona. A college guy. All kinds of names bouncing around there at 17," said Callis.

In its mock draft posted yesterday here, has Waldrep, Schanuel and Eldridge all going before the O's pick at 17. But Troy would be there and so would Shaw. But FanGraphs also sees the O's possibly on the high school shortstops and projected by would select Colin Houck from Georgia.

No shortage on names and possibilities for the Orioles right now, is there?

What a night in New York: The Orioles blasted the Yankees 14-1 last night. After losing the first two games of this series, they wound up splitting it over four games. They end the series four games behind Tampa Bay for first and four games ahead of New York for second.

Gunnar Henderson had four hits in the first four innings and went 4-for-7 with his first career two-homer game. He became the first player in MLB to have four hits and two homers by the fourth inning since Matt Carpenter of St. Louis on July 20, 2018.

The Orioles had eight hits in the third inning, their most in an inning since eight in the first frame on Aug. 12, 2017 at Oakland.

New York allowed its most runs to the Orioles since a 14-5 loss on April 8, 2014.

The Orioles recently scored 10 runs over a five-game stretch and then scored 20 on 30 hits with 13 extra-base hits the past two nights.

At the same time the last two O's starting pitchers - Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish - allowed one earned run in 13 innings. Over the past six games, O's starting pitchers have a 2.25 ERA.

The Orioles are 14-7 in their last 21 AL East games. They are 5-5 this year against New York and 6-4 in their past 10 games at Yankee Stadium. 





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