Orioles Go In Unexpected Direction Taking Flaherty
BALTIMORE—After much anticipation that the Orioles would select a pitcher in the Rule 5 draft, they threw the industry a curveball and took an infielder.
The Orioles used the fourth pick on 25-year-old Ryan Flaherty from the Cubs, giving them another multi-positional player to head into spring training.
A lefthanded hitter, Flaherty was a supplemental first-round pick in 2008 out of Vanderbilt. Last season, he batted .305/.384/.523 with 20 doubles, 14 home runs and 66 RBIs in 83 games at Double-A Tennessee, and .237/.277/.399 with 11 doubles, five homers and 22 RBIs in 49 games at Triple-A Iowa.
"He's got a good bat," executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "He can play third base and second base. He's a lefthanded hitter and he has some power."
Flaherty, who stands 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, is a career .278/.346/.462 hitter in four seasons in the Cubs organization.
"He was a high draft pick (41st overall in 2008) which identifies his value and skills," Duquette said. "He comes from a really top quality program, Vanderbilt. We like all those things about him and we think he's got an opportunity to contribute to the major league team either at third or to support our efforts at second. He is very similar to (Matt) Antonelli, except he is a lefthanded hitter."
"We like him. We think he can be a contributing member of the team and, if you look at his track record, he's been a productive player along the way and he's a left-handed hitter with some power."
The Orioles also will bring middle infielder Steve Tolleson to spring training, giving them numerous options for the bench. They're also seeking protection at second base in case Brian Roberts isn't ready for Opening Day.
The Orioles didn't lose any players in the Rule 5 draft. Among the farmhands left exposed were righthanders Steve Johnson, taken by the Giants in 2009 before returning to the organization, and Tim Bascom, named the Orioles' minor league pitcher of the year in 2011.
• The Orioles sent second baseman Greg Miclat to the Rangers as the player to be named in the Taylor Teagarden trade. The 24-year-old stole 50 bases and batted .280/.371/.347 in 120 games with Double-A Bowie in 2011.
• The Orioles selected lefthander Andy Loomis from the Phillies organization in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft, and first baseman Matt Sweeney of the Rays organization in the Double-A portion. Loomis, 26, is 10-10, 3.34 in 133 career games in four minor league seasons. Sweeney, 23, is a career .247/.329/.423 hitter in five minor league seasons in the Angels and Rays systems.