LAS VEGAS - The Orioles made the decision last night on which player they would select in this morning’s Rule 5 draft, the name agreed upon in a second meeting among team officials and scouts.
They didn’t repeat last year’s tactic of loading up on pitching, choosing shortstop Richie Martin from the Athletics organization.
Martin, who turns 24 later this month, was the 20th overall pick in the 2015 out of the University of Florida. The Detroit native slashed .300/.368/.439 this year at Double-A Midland, with 29 doubles, eight triples, six home runs, 42 RBIs, 25 stolen bases in 35 attempts and 68 runs scored in 118 games.
The bat has lagged behind defensive skills that made him one of the most attractive players available today. He hasn’t played above the Double-A level.
Martin hasn’t shown much power, totaling 15 home runs in 369 games. He’s a career .257/.340/.366 hitter.
Though he’s primarily been a shortstop, Martin made 21 starts at second base this summer.
Martin ranked as Oakland’s No. 12 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, which rates his arm tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He’s a 60 defender.
Orioles executive vice president Mike Elias told the media this week that he regards Jonathan Villar as the regular shortstop, but those plans could be altered if Martin is deemed capable of holding down a spot in the lineup. Otherwise, Martin will try to stick as a reserve.
The Orioles made three selections last year: Pitchers Jose Mesa Jr. and Nestor Cortes Jr. from the Yankees and pitcher Pedro Araujo from the Cubs. Araujo remains in the organization and must stay on the 25-man roster for 17 days next season before he can be optioned.
Mesa was returned to the Yankees in spring training and the Orioles designated Cortes for assignment in April before he, too, returned to the Yankees organization.
Outfielder Anthony Santander retained his Rule 5 status for the first 44 days as part of a flawed roster dynamic.
The Orioles also selected outfielder Aneury Tavárez in December 2017 but returned him to the Red Sox while keeping Santander, who was making the jump from the Single-A Carolina League.
Former executive vice president Dan Duquette also took infielder Ryan Flaherty from the Cubs in 2011, left-hander T.J. McFarland from the Indians in 2012 and outfielder Joey Rickard from the Rays in 2016. Only Rickard remains with the Orioles.
This article will be updated, including information on whether the Orioles made a second pick and if they lost any of their players. Left-hander Luis Gonzalez and catcher Martin Cervenka are the most likely to be taken in the major league phase.
Update: The Orioles didn’t make a selection on the second round, leaving their 40-man roster at 39 players, and didn’t lose anyone in the major league phase.