It’s not exactly drama like the 1971 or 1979 World Series, but the Orioles are linked again with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates have the second pick in the first round of next Monday’s First-Year Player Draft. Most figure they will select between high school shortstop Manny Machado and prep pitcher Jameson Taillon, with the remaining player left for the O’s to take. (That’s after Bryce Harper goes first to the Nats).
So what will Pittsburgh do with that second pick?
I spoke via e-mail today with writer Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He said the Pirates have not tipped their hand yet to anyone in their media on their draft plans.
“Wish the Pirates would tell me, let alone their second-overall pick, which way they’re leaning. But right now they’re holding their cards close to their chest. And those cards seem to be: Jameson Taillon, Manny Machado and Drew Pomeranz.
“Granted, they could well go in the proverbial ‘another direction’ -- certainly, Tony Sanchez was a surprise pick at No. 4 last year, though you’d be hard-pressed to find a scout who doesn’t wish his club had Sanchez now. But this draft, after some kid named Harper, seems to find a sea level around Taillon, Machado and Pomeranz, then drop.
“These Pirates, as Sanchez attests, dance to their own beat, though. And when you have to pay $6 million for the second time in three years and you’re convinced this year’s second-overall selection won’t be as polished as was Pedro Alvarez in 2008, then maybe you do look for value in ‘another direction.’ “
The draft experts see a dropoff after those top three or four players in this draft and the next group. It’s a good year to have one of the top three picks.
As of today, it’s still looking like Jameson Taillon, the prep pitcher with the mid 90’s fastball and excellent curve, could be the likely O’s selection with that pick.
Coming tomorrow: Comments from Jim Callis of Baseball America on the draft and what the Orioles should do with the third overall pick.