« Inside the Orioles' heads, part 3 | Main | Draft day 2 recap »

Draft day 1 recap

The Orioles made seventeen picks in the first eighteen rounds on the first day of the amateur draft. (Their second-round pick went to Oakland as compensation for Miguel Tejada.) Their first day's haul was a relatively even mix of eight pitchers and nine position players. There are no runts in this litter: every one of the picks is over six feet tall, and only one is listed at under 180 pounds.

For the third straight year, the Birds went with a heavy concentration of college players in the initial part of the draft. This year is their most college-loaded yet: so far they have selected fourteen university products and just three high-schoolers. All fourteen of their college draftees are from four-year institutions. The league has been trending towards college players in the last few drafts, but Baltimore has gone farther than most of their peers in that direction.

Baltimore's top pick, eighth overall, was right-hander Wade Townsend, one of the vaunted triumvirate who pitched Rice University to the NCAA championship last year. The other two, Philip Humber and Jeff Niemann, were selected third and fourth overall. Townsend is a stud both physically (6'4", 225 lbs.) and statistically (12-0, 1.80 ERA, 11.1 K/9 IP, 3.29 K/BB in 2004, his junior season). Because of his burdensome workload during the college season, which ended on Sunday, I would expect the Orioles to rest his arm for most of the remainder of this summer. But it's hard not to get excited about a talent like Townsend, and it will be interesting to see which pitcher of the Rice trio ends up with the best major-league career. This longitudinal study suggests that only one of every three first-round picks becomes a significant contributor in the majors, although the draft data used in the study are from fifteen years ago, so its conclusions may not be quite the same in today's draft.

A rundown of Oriole-related draft articles (in order of decreasing informativeness):

The Orioles' second pick, which came in the third round, was Jeff Fiorentino, a power-hitting outfielder from Florida Atlantic University. Baltimore selected him as a catcher, but he only recently started playing the position, so it may be a stretch to expect him to handle it at the professional level.

An updated list of the Orioles' picks, with scouting reports on several of them, is on the 2004 Baltimore draft page on MLB.com.

On the second day of the draft in recent years, the Orioles have veered toward a mix of mature college seniors to fill out the farm system and high-school and junior-college "reach" picks with draft-and-follow potential. Given that the quality of talent decreases rapidly after the first ten rounds or so, it's as good a strategy as any, and I would expect the Orioles to continue that tactic today.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 8, 2004 7:41 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Inside the Orioles' heads, part 3.

The next post in this blog is Draft day 2 recap.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33