Orioles Draft Report
On a Rowell
BALTIMORE--It took 28 years, but the Orioles have drafted another high school infielder with a first-round pick.
Going after the best player available, the Orioles selected Bill Rowell
of Bishop Eustace Prep in New Jersey with the ninth overall pick.
Rowell, the first high school position player taken this year, played shortstop in high school, but he will move to third base
as a professional.
"We just feel like that's where he's going to
end up," scouting director Joe Jordan said. "We could send him out as a
shortstop, but we just feel like he's going to end up long-term at
third base and we might as well get him going there. We're very excited
about the bat. His power is easy power and it's to all fields. We're
really excited to get him."
Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo watched Rowell work out for the club and came away impressed.
"He's a big kid, a left-handed hitter with good power," Perlozzo said.
"He's 17-years old and can reach the seats easily. He looks like a
pretty good player."
He was prolific with the bat as a junior, batting .529-14-62. His home run and RBI totals led all South Jersey hitters.
Rowell's home run total dipped to six this year, but the decline has
been blamed on pitchers refusing to challenge him and his attempts to
hit the ball to all fields.
The Orioles didn't regard Rowell as a
need pick, though he instantly becomes their top third base prospect.
The first nine players on their draft board were gone after nine
"We feel like he's a hitter first," Jordan said. "We
just don't draft in need at the top of the draft. "And we feel like
it's a middle-of-the-order bat that's going to play a position where we
don't have a lot of depth."
Rowell is expected to begin his professional career at Rookie-level Bluefield.
The Orioles, who hadn't selected a high school infielder in the first
round since Robert Bruce in 1978, began scouting Rowell last June and
stayed on him.
"We had a lot of interest," Jordan said, "and he has a lot of interest in the Orioles."
The Orioles also had a supplemental pick from the Blue Jays after
losing closer B.J. Ryan to free agency. They used it to select
righthander Pedro Beato from St. Petersburg Junior College.
New York Mets drafted Beato in the 17th round in 2005 draft, but they
couldn't sign him. He underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his
right elbow the previous year.
"That was 24 months ago, so we've got that behind him," Jordan said.
Beato was 6-3, 2.75 with 23 walks and 80 strikeouts in 79 innings.
"He's very strong, a 6-5, 6-6 kid who's going to be an innings eater,"
Jordan said. "We had seen him at 95, 96 (mph) this year with a plus
breaking ball and changeup."