Baltimore Orioles: Draft Review

General Manager: Andy MacPhail
Farm Director: David Stockstill
Scouting Director: Joe Jordan

2006-2009 Draft Results:
First three rounds included
x- over-draft signees ($200,000 or more)

2009 1st Round: Matt Hobgood, RHP, California HS [90-94 FB, CB, SL, CH]
2. Mychal Givens, SS, Florida HS
3. Tyler Townsend, 1B, Florida International
5x – Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Oklahoma City [88-93 FB, CH, SL]
7x – Aaron Wirsch, LHP, California HS [85-88 FB, CB, CH]
9x – Ryan Berry, RHP, Rice [87-92 FB, CB+ SL, CH]
11x – Michael Ohlman, C, Florida HS
18x – Jarret Martin, LHP, California JC
22x – Cameron Coffey, LHP, Texas HS [85-91 FB, CB, CH]
30x – Brenden Webb, OF, California JC

The club took an interesting strategy in the ’09 draft. It didn’t skimp on the money it dished out (signing 10 players to deals worth $200,00 or more) but the Orioles organization did pass up some higher-ranked, and more expensive, players to take Hobgood with the fifth overall choice. The right-hander signed quickly and made eight pro starts in ’09 at rookie ball. He allowed 32 hits in 26.2 innings, while showing good control (2.70 BB/9). Hobgood did not allow a home run and showed a heavy ball, as witnessed by his ground-ball rate, which was just shy of 53%.

The club almost gave up on coming to terms with Givens, but the two sides agreed to a deal before the deadline. Givens, though, did not sign in time to make his pro debut in ’09. Berry, Martin, and Coffey also did not come to terms in time to make their debuts.

College-signee Townsend had a rough debut by posting a strikeout rate of 32.8 K% in 119 at-bats, and he hit just .143/.226/.303. Wirsch posted a 2.84 FIP in 16.2 rookie ball innings. He allowed just 12 hits, but he walked 10 (5.40 BB/9). Tolliver made just three relief appearances, struck out seven batters in 8.0 innings and did not allow a run. Ohlman had just 12 plate appearances after signing and managed one hit – a double. Webb appeared in 13 rookie ball games and hit .186/.352/.233 with two steals.

2008 1st Round: Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego
2. Xavier Avery, OF, Georgia HS
3. L.J. Hoes, 2B, Washington HS
8x – Bobby Bundy, RHP, Oklahoma HS
14x – Jesse Beal, RHP, Virginia HS

Matusz is already making an impact at the MLB level for the club. The lefty made eight starts for the Orioles and allowed 52 hits in 44.2 innings of work. He showed solid control with a walk rate of 2.82 BB/9 but he struggled with the gopher ball to the tune of a home-run rate of 1.21 HR/9. Matusz’s curveball was his best pitch in his debut, but his fastball posted a negative pitch value.

Avery had a promising first full season by hitting .262/.306/.340 but the 23.5% strikeout rate is worrisome considering his lack of power (.078 ISO). He doesn’t do himself any favors in the on-base department, either, with a walk rate of 5.4%. Hoes had a similar season in ’09 in low-A. He hit .260/.299/.318 with a low ISO rate of .058 and a walk rate of just 5.1%. He kept his strikeouts down a little bit more (18.6%) than Avery.

The organization has been patient with Bundy, who has appeared in just 14 games (12 starts) over the past two seasons in rookie ball. In ’09, he allowed 47 hits in 54.2 innings while posting a 4.55 FIP. Beal posted a 2.98 FIP in 13 rookie ball starts in ’09 and showed impeccable control with a walk rate of 0.97 BB/9. However, his strikeout rate was just 4.99 K/9 and he was aided by a low BABIP of .270.

2007 1st Round: Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech
2. None
3. None
x- Tim Bascom, RHP, IND
x- Jake Arrieta, RHP, Texas Christian

The club did not have its second or third round picks, but it had its best draft in a number of years, thanks solely to the addition of Wieters, who made his MLB debut in ’09. The former Georgia Tech star hit a modest .288/.340/.412 in 354 at-bats, along with an ISO of .124, but he showed steady improvement during the season. A good fastball hitter, Wieters needs to improve against breaking balls and off-speed pitches. The organization owes the Pittsburgh Pirates a huge debt of gratitude for passing on the catcher in an effort to save some cash with the selection of left-hander Daniel Moskos.

Bascom and Arrieta were also nice signings. The latter pitcher appears on the club’s Top 10 list, due up tomorrow. Bascom split ’09 between high-A and double-A where he showed good control (3.20 BB/9 in double-A) but a low strikeout rate (6.50 K/9). He’ll likely top out as a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever.

2006 1st Round: Billy Rowell, 3B, New Jersey HS
1S. Pedro Beato, RHP, Florida JC
2. Ryan Adams, SS, Louisiana HS
3. Zach Britton, LHP, Texas HS

The first prep bat taken in the draft, ahead of Toronto’s Travis Snider, Rowell has been a huge disappointment and hit just .225/.284/.336 in 423 high-A at-bats. Beato has also fallen off the prospect cliff, although he did reach double-A in ’09. His strikeout rate fell below 6.00 K/9, as his fastball has lost some of its zip. The 1.69 HR/9 rate in double-A suggests he needs to get his pitches down in the zone. Adams had injury problems in ’09 at high-A, but if he can get his strikeouts under control (>24% in his career), then he should have a career as a MLB utility player.

Britton was the cream of the crop in this draft and you’ll read more about him tomorrow. Jason Berken was a serviceable MLB pitcher in ’09 for the Orioles and he made 24 starts, but his 6.54 ERA (5.31 FIP) was ugly.

Up Next: The Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Jeff V
12 years ago

Nice list, would just like to add that Townsend was battling a wrist injury this season.