Drake Turning Heads For Orioles





BALTIMORE—Righthander Oliver Drake is setting out to prove that he's a 43rd-round pick in number only.

Drake, who was drafted out of Navy in 2008, tossed 27 consecutive scoreless innings for high Class A Frederick from June 14-July 8 before Potomac scored against him in the ninth inning on July 8. He still picked up another victory that night, improving to 8-3, 2.14 in 97 innings.

Drake, 24, had two complete games, including a shutout with the Keys. He allowed 78 hits, walked 18 and struck out 80, with an opponent average of .224. In addition to his scoreless streak for Frederick, Drake also threw two shutout innings on June 23 for Triple-A Norfolk, where he moved up and pitched once out of the bullpen. The Orioles selected him as the organization's minor league player of the month for June after he went 3-1, 1.13 in 32 innings.

Drake has worked at three levels this year, including two April starts at Double-A Bowie. He was 9-4, 2.90 combined between his three stops. The 6-foot-4, 210 pound Drake allowed 11 runs and 10 hits in four innings with the Baysox. He'll likely get another chance in the Eastern League this summer as he continues to dominate one level below.

A year ago, Drake went 6-6, 4.36 at Frederick, giving up 19 home runs in 128 innings. He had allowed just three homers in his first 112 innings this season.

So how did Drake last until the 43rd round of the 2008 draft? As the story goes, most teams didn't realize that Drake was a draft-eligible sophomore who could get out of his Naval Academy service commitment and pitch professionally. The Cardinals reportedly were on the verge of selecting him, but the Orioles got to him first.

It looks like a wise choice.

Bird Seed

• Shortstop Manny Machado went 0-for-2 for the U.S. team in the Futures Game. Machado flied out twice to shallow right field. Machado's teammate with Frederick, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, singled in his only at-bat for the World team, then was picked off first base.

• Righthander Matt Hobgood moved up from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League to short-season Aberdeen. Hobgood, recovering from a strained right rotator cuff, allowed five earned runs (six total) and 10 hits in 10 innings with the GCL Orioles. He walked three and struck out nine.