O's select University of Washington pitcher in round three (updated with quotes)

As the MLB Draft resumed today the Orioles selected University of Washington right-handed pitcher Kiefer Lord in the third round at No. 86 overall. He is the second pitcher the Orioles have taken among their first four picks to start this draft. 

The O’s have nine picks today in rounds three through 10. Their No. 100 overall pick is a compensation pick for not signing a third-round pick last year in pitcher Nolan McLean from Oklahoma State. He was today selected No. 91 overall by the Mets. 

Last night the Orioles selected Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. with their No. 17 overall pick. They added North Carolina third baseman/outfielder Mac Horvath in round two with pick No. 53. They drafted Florida State pitcher Jackson Baumeister with a competitive balance pick that was No. 63 overall. He becomes the highest-drafted pitcher by overall selection in the now five drafts under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias.

Click here for more on the Day One picks.

Here are the O’s picks for today with listed slot amount for each.

* Round 3 (No. 86) - $808,200: RHP Kiefer Lord, University of Washington.

Lord made 15 starts this year, going 6-5 with a 6.19 ERA. Over 75 2/3 innings he walked 17 and fanned 78. Lord, age 21, is ranked as the No. 127 prospect by MLB.com. and No. 97 by Baseball America. His fastball, per MLB.com, has touched 97 mph.

Lord earned All-Pac 12 honorable mention honors and was twice named Pac 12 Pitcher of the Week. His 4.59 strikeout-to-walks ratio led the conference and he also led the conference averaging 2.02 walks allowed per nine innings. His career began with two seasons at Div. 3 Carleton College in Minnesota.

* Round 3 (No. 100) compensation pick - $671,800: University of Arkansas outfielder Tavian Josenberger.

He is ranked as the No. 156 prospect by MLB.com. A 2023 all SEC defensive team selection, he batted .286 with a .414 OBP along with 10 homers and 13 steals in 192 at-bats. He is a 21-year-old switch-hitter who throws right-handed. For his college career between Kansas and Arkansas, Josenberger batted .293/.388/.428/.816.

* Round 4 (No. 118) - $563,600: Right-handed pitcher Levi Wells from Texas State.

Wells, 21, is the No. 96 prospect via MLB.com. This season he went 8-4 with a 5.02 ERA. Over 80 2/3 innings he walked 30 and fanned 98. He was a 2023 all Sun Belt conference second team selection.  

* Round 5 (No. 154) - $396,700: UNC-Charlotte outfielder Jake Cunningham. 

Ranked as MLB.com's No. 147 prospect, Cunningham, 21, missed the first two weeks of the 2023 season with an ankle injury. Then in his junior season, he hit .267/.359/.519 with 14 doubles, 11 homers, 40 runs and 41 RBIs in 49 games. He hit 16 homers with 52 RBIs as a sophomore. A righty hitter and thrower, for 146 career games he batted .274/.367/.517 with 29 homers and 107 RBIs.

To this point of the draft, all seven O's picks have come from the college ranks. They have taken four position players and three pitchers. 

* Round 6 (No. 181) - $312,300: Samford right-handed pitcher Jake Cravey.

As a junior Cravey went 9-2 with a 3.10 ERA and was named the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year and was a first-team all conference pick. With a fastball that sits 91-93 and touched 97, he walked 40 and fanned 126 in 104 2/3 innings. He allowed 83 hits with a 1.18 WHIP and .219 average against. He was second in the conference in ERA and first in strikeouts and also was eighth in the nation in strikeouts. 

* Round 7 (No. 211) - $244,400: Coastal Carolina right-handed pitcher Teddy Sharkey.

He made 27 appearances this year, all in relief, going 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA and 11 saves. In 49 2/3 he walked 18 and fanned 74, allowing 39 hits and a .215 batting average. Over a three-year career, Sharkey, 21, went 11-5 with a 3.23 ERA. In 97 2/3 he walked 45 and fanned 119. His fastball sat 94, 95 mph and touches 98 mph. He was all Sun Belt first team. 

* Round 8 (No. 241) - $197,800: Dallas Baptist right-handed pitcher Braxton Bragg.

Bragg, 22, spent his first three seasons from 2020-2022 at the University of Nebraska and last year had five saves and a 3.28 ERA there. But for Dallas Baptist in 2023, he went 9-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 16 starts. Over 86 innings he allowed 94 hits with 17 walks, 92 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP. He was second-team all Conference-USA. 

* Round 9 (No. 271) - $177,100: Troy right-handed pitcher Zach Fruit.

He becomes the seventh pitcher the O's have taken thus far among 11 players in this draft. That is the most in the first 10 rounds under Mike Elias, topping the five of last year. Fruit pitched in 2019-2020 at Lansing (Mich) CC and in 2021-2022 at Eastern Michigan. This year at Troy, playing as a grad student, he went 6-1 with a 6.46 ERA and five saves. He showed a mid 90s fastball that touched 98 mph. In 69 2/3 innings he walked 45 and fanned 92. He made eight starts among his 22 outings. 

* Round 10 (No. 301) - $167,000: Southern Mississippi outfielder Matthew Etzel.

Etzel is the No. 229 prospect via MLB.com. The lefty batter hit .317 with an OBP of .381 with seven homers and 23 stolen bases. He has 65 grade speed.

The final tally through 10 rounds: O's have selected 12 players, all from the college ranks. They have drafted seven pitchers and five position players, all outfielders. 

Farm note: Double-A Bowie announced today that infielder TT Bowens is going on the injured list and outfielder Zach Watson was released.

Bowens in 42 Baysox games has produced a .732 OPS. Watson, the Orioles third-round pick in 2019 out of Louisiana State University, was batting .209 in 52 games this seaason with Bowie. Over his O's minor league career he produced an OPS of .680 in 288 games.

O's director of draft operations Brad Ciolek on 12 of 12 from the college ranks: “I think the one thing I can hang my hat on is the data that is available that kind of adds to our conviction that the scouts see in the field. It just so happened as far as how the board was constructed that we ended up with a lot of college players thus far. But we do keep an open mind on high school players as well. But we do have a lot more data to go off of, whether it is historical data as far as their performance each year and we also have a lot of data that we get from third-party vendors that we look at to key in and hone in on in addition to what our scouts see in the field."

Ciolek on the five outfielders selected: “If there is one theme here, it’s the fact that these guys are all very skilled defenders in center field. They have plus speed. They can run extremely well and have the instincts to play center field. I think every guy we selected we have plus run times on. They are skilled defenders and that’s a big thing for us. We want guys to track down the ball quicky in gaps. Very excited on the upside of these guys in the outfield."

Ciolek with more on third-round pick Lord: “A lot of these guys – I want to say four of the guys we drafted today – we met with at the draft combine. And it allowed us to talk with them and see the work they’ve put in on their own and also things that they need to continue to work on. He is one of them. The fact he was able to build velocity the way that he did. He threw his fastball over 70 percent at the University of Washington, so a big focal point will be continuing to work on implementing his slider more often but also let him use his curveball and changeup increasingly with each outing he will get with us."

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