O's select Oklahoma State pitcher as draft resumes with round three (updated)

The Orioles began the second day of the draft and selected Oklahoma State pitcher Nolan McLean. He becomes the highest pitcher selected by the club under Mike Elias. The previous highest had been in the fifth rounds in 2020 with Carter Baumler and 2021 with Carlos Tavera.

McLean, who also was a position player as an infielder for Oklahoma State, went 2-1 with a 4.97 ERA and five saves out of the bullpen. In 25 1/3 innings he allowed 20 hits with 13 walks, 39 strikeouts and a .206 batting average against. In 64 games as a hitter he batted .285/.397/.595 with 16 doubles, 19 homers and 47 RBIs. 

He is a right-handed hitter and thrower and was a draft-eligible sophomore. MLB.com rated him No. 115 in this draft class.

The Orioles are making selections today through round 10, and they have eight picks over the eight rounds through the 10th. The slot amount for the third-rounder at No. 81 is $793,600 of a total O’s draft pool of $16.924 million. The slot amount for their No. 1 pick is $8,842,200, and it is $2,313,900 for their second selection, No. 33 overall.

In Round 4: The O’s drafted University of Texas catcher Silas Ardoin, a redshirt sophomore. In 69 games for the Longhorns he batted .271/.391/.513 with 20 doubles, a triple, 12 homers and 50 RBIs. He walked 39 times and fanned 54.

A righty hitter and thrower, he was drafted out of high school in round 36 by Colorado in the 2019 draft. His father, Danny, played 15 years or pro ball, including five in the majors, after Oakland selected him in round five of the 1995 draft. He played five games with the 2006 Orioles. 

In Round 5: The O's added Auburn right-handed pitcher Trace Bright, taking their second pitcher of the day.

In 18 games, 17 starts, he went 5-4 with a 5.13 ERA for the Tigers. Over 80 2/3 innings, he allowed 78 hits with 38 walks, 94 strikeouts and a .252 batting average against as a junior.

On the MLB.com stream, analyst Jim Callis said of Bright: "Auburn had a lot of talented pitchers on a College World Series team. He led them with 94 strikeouts. He's got the makings of four pitches to be average or better. He's 92 to 94 (mph) with a fastball up to 97. Mid-80s slider."

Bright was the only Auburn pitcher to start all 17 weekends of the season and had career bests in ERA, starts, innings and strikeouts. His 94 strikeouts were the fourth-most by an Auburn pitcher since 2000.

In Round 6: The O's added University of Texas outfielder Douglas Hodo III. As a redshirt sophomore this season he batted .319/.418/.532/.950 with 26 doubles, which led the nation, two triples, 10 homers and 47 RBIs. He walked 42 times and fanned 74 with 73 runs and nine steals in 13 tries. The Boerne, Texas, native has above average speed. 

His father, Doug, was a starting outfielder on the 1983 Longhorns College World Series team before going on to play minor league baseball in the Phillies and Braves organizations.

In Round 7: The O's added another hurler, taking Mississippi State junior right-hander Preston Johnson. This year over 14 games and 13 starts, he went 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA. Over 79 innings he allowed 73 hits, including 18 home runs, with 38 walks to 117 strikeouts and .241 batting average against.

In the 2021 season, Johnson went 4-0 with a 3.82 ERA as reliever for a College World Series championship team. 

Callis said: "He's got a good approach angle on the fastball. It's 90 to 95. He can show you a solid curveball at times. Tough to pick up his pitches and the way his fastball moves at the top of the strike zone. He was ninth in NCAA Division I in strikeout rate this year, 13.3."

In Round 8: The O's drafted another pitcher, taking University of Michigan right-hander Cameron Weston. As a junior he went 5-4 with a 4.74 ERA over 20 games and 11 starts. In 81 2/3 innings he allowed 92 hits with 38 walks and 92 strikeouts along with a .281 batting average against.

Callis said: "He's more of a pitchability right-hander. Low-90s fastball that will top out at 94. Show you an average slider at times. I think his pitch with the most potential, he's got like a forkball/splitter that dives at the plate. That is probably his most interesting pitch."

In Round 9: The O's pick was Stanford shortstop Adam Crampton, the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. He batted .316/.395./.392 with nine doubles, two triples, one homer and 40 RBIs in 65 games for Stanford. He scored 34 runs and stole 11-of-11 bases.

Crampton became the second Stanford player to win the conference Defensive Player of the Year and the first to win it outright after Maverick Handley was a co-winner in 2019. Handley was the O's sixth-round pick in 2019 out of Stanford and is currently with Double-A Bowie. 

In Round 10: The O's added yet another pitcher, selecting right-hander Wyatt Cheney from McLennan junior college in Waco, Texas. I believe his stats last year showed a record of 10-3 with an ERA of 3.20 and 122 strikeouts over 81 2/3 innings. 

Through 10 rounds and 12 selections, the O's have taken college players with every pick since their first one. They have taken five pitchers and seven position players so far.

Recapping first night: On the first night of the draft the Orioles selected Oklahoma high school shortstop Jackson Holliday, son of former big leaguer Matt Holliday, with the overall No. 1 pick. MLB.com ranked Holliday as the No. 2 prospect for this draft, while Baseball America put him at No. 3.

Orioles director of draft operations Brad Ciolek discussed the process for the Orioles of scouting and selecting Holliday 1/1.

“Going back to last summer, we saw Jackson quite a bit," Ciolek said. "We saw him at East Coast pro, Team USA, Area Codes, and we all kind of noticed just how fundamentally sound he was. The one thing that we thought he needed to work on was getting stronger. And lo and behold, fast forward to this spring and he had added a lot of strength, and he was actually a little bit faster than he was the year prior. And we were just blown away by the total complete player he had turned into.

“He had always had the plate-discipline skills we were looking for, but he was significantly stronger. Not to draw a direct comparison, but it’s very similar to Gunnar Henderson’s maturation as a player when we saw him going from summer into his high school senior year and into that spring. So, there are a lot of parallels there, and really exciting about his future. Ecstatic to get him at one.”

With pick No. 33 overall, the Orioles added Cal outfielder Dylan Beavers, a lefty batter who hit 17 homers and was rated the No. 22 player for this draft by MLB.com. At No. 42 the Orioles added Clemson third baseman Max Wagner, who belted 27 homers for the Tigers. They picked University of Florida center fielder Jud Fabian with selection No. 67.

Here are a few quotes from Ciolek today from an O's Zoom after day two of the draft.

Will McLean be only a pitcher: “Nolan’s primary focus with us will be pitching. We think there is immense upside with him as far as his arsenal is concerned and the ability to stretch him out, once he gets acclimated to pro ball. With that said, we are going to give him the opportunity to DH. He does have prodigious raw power, plus raw power to all fields. So we will give him the opportunity to continue hitting, but primary focus will be developing him as a pitcher.”

Ciolek with more on drafting five pitchers, and he said they all will be developed as starting pitchers: “As I said yesterday, we were looking for the best player on the board regardless of position, and that just so happened to be a lot of pitchers today. We ended up taking five. And really excited about all five of them. As I said yesterday, we did have pitchers up and down our board last night, and obviously today. So the ball bounced our direction today as far as taking pitching.

“We are going to ultimately look to build them up as starting pitchers. We’ll see what happens as they progress through the minors. But all these guys have weapons they can utilize to both sides, both against right-handed and left-handed hitters, and we’ll look to fully maximize that arsenal.”

Ciolek on taking so many college players: “It all depends on the makings of the draft board. Every draft is unique in terms of the demographics and the strength of the board. In this instance, we felt really comfortable with the college players that were available after selecting Jackson.”



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