Orioles reset: Why Baltimore hasn’t drafted pitching recently — and why that ‘maybe’ will change this year

There’s a bevy of speculation surrounding what the Orioles will do with the first pick of next month’s amateur draft, with various mocks linking them to as many as five prospects. But it’s near-certain whoever they take won’t be a pitcher.

In their first three drafts under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, the Orioles haven’t taken a pitcher earlier than the fifth round, grabbing Iowa high schooler Carter Baumler there in 2020 and Texas-Arlington right-hander Carlos Tavera a year later. The club has devoted each first-round pick to college position players — for whom there is more data available and generally less associated risk — though four of the players considered as the top five of this draft class are high school hitters.

Most public rankings don’t have a pitcher in the top 10, while many of the highest-ranked arms are high school right-handers, a category of player that has never gone first overall. Elias acknowledged Saturday that this likely won’t be the year that changes.

“There aren’t any pitchers that you would take with the No. 1 pick this year,” Elias said, “so I feel pretty safe ruling that out.”

But, he noted, the Orioles’ next turn comes 33rd overall, the second of five picks they have within the draft’s opening 81 selections, and they could go with a pitcher then and “maybe” throughout the draft’s early rounds.

Each of the past three years, Baltimore’s second pick has been an infielder, with Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and Connor Norby ranking as three of the organization’s top four infield prospects, according to Baseball America. Adding to that area of the farm system was a focus in his initial drafts, Elias said. The group of prospects he inherited generally lacked top-tier infielders, which he said was partially a byproduct of the organization’s lack …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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