When it comes to drafting high school or college, do O’s have a preference?

When it comes to the June draft, do the Orioles have a preference when it comes to drafting a high school or a college player?

Some teams have been said to have preferences, but O’s scouting director Joe Jordan said the Orioles do not.

“For me, I don’t care. It’s the best player, what fits the best for that round. That’s really how we look at it. If there’s a 21-year-old player that we have a lot of looks at and they’re available and that’s a good solid pick, that’s a good decision to take a college player there. But, if we feel the high school player has more top end, sometimes it’s best to wait. Like with Zach Britton,” Jordan said.

This question comes to mind with the fact that of the top 100 prospects this year on Baseball America’s list, 50 were drafted out of high school and just 27 from a college.

That was perhaps somewhat a one-year anomoly and most in the scouting game say over many years the numbers and odds don’t weigh in favor of high school over college or vice versa.

As for the Orioles, I looked at their draft selections over the last several years. In 2008, they drafted 16 from high school and 34 out of college. In 2009, they took 19 from a high school and 31 out of college, and last year they drafted 14 from high school and 35 from a college. They did not have a second-round pick then and made 49 selections.

When it comes to the top 10 rounds the last three years, they have drafted 10 from high school and 19 from college.

Their high school picks have included Xavier Avery, LJ Hoes, Bobby Bundy, Matt Hobgood, Mychal Givens, Manny Machado, Connor Narron and Parker Bridwell.

College picks from those three drafts have included Brian Matusz, Caleb Joseph, Tyler Townsend, Randy Henry, Ryan Berry, Trent Mummey and Dan Klein.

Jordan said he does not have a preference in sizing up players for the upcoming 2011 draft.

“No. I’ve got my hooks into some college guys in this draft because one, we’ve seen some of these guys for three or four years, since they were a junior in high school. We’ve got a lot of history with some of them and that’s comforting,” he said.

Jordan also knows that having his draft picks traded for other players is another way that scouting can help the big league team. This winter, David Hernandez, a player he drafted in Round 16 in 2005, was traded to Arizona for third baseman Mark Reynolds

“This is professional baseball. Trading players to help your club is part of that. I’ve been doing this awhile now and my thought is we just have to make good decisions and put talent in your system,” Jordan said. “I didn’t like losing David Hernandez, but I’m excited to see Reynolds play and see if he can make us a better club. That’s part of it, it’s pro baseball.”

The argument for drafting college players: They are closer to the big leagues and have more high-level experience. They are more physically and emotionally mature. They have played vs. a higher level of competition that a high school kid.

The argument for drafting high school players: They will be younger when they do arrive in the majors. You can get them into your system and better control their development. Some feel the high school ranks produce more star players.

Should the O’s lean more toward high school or college players. or have no real preference in the draft?

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