Orioles 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Baltimore Looking For Boost
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 MLB RECORD: 54-108
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: The system bounced back in a big way with the addition of No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman as well as the breakout of righthander Grayson Rodriguez. Though his command was spotty, lefthander D.L. Hall showed excellent stuff in 2019 as well—including a standout appearance at the Futures Game—at high Class A. The system will get an even bigger boost when they add the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, likely to be either Vanderbilt center fielder Austin Martin or Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: The Orioles chose wisely in 2010 when they used the third overall pick on Manny Machado, who reached the major leagues as a 19-year-old. Since then, Machado has been a five-time all-star, won two Gold Gloves and commanded a $300 million contract from the Padres once he reached free agency. Over seven seasons with the Orioles before he was dealt to the Dodgers, Machado accrued 31.6 wins above replacement.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: With the caveat that the Orioles have done generally pretty well with their picks over the last decade, their top two choices in 2014 have certainly not gone as planned. After surrendering their first two picks as free-agent compensation, Baltimore popped lefthander Brian Gonzalez and righty Pat Connaughton in the third and fourth rounds. Gonzalez has moved into the bullpen at Double-A and Connaughton pitched one season as a pro before moving to the NBA.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): The Orioles are pretty well-stocked at shortstop, where they are topped by 2019 second-rounder Gunnar Henderson. He’s followed by breakout candidate Adam Hall, as well as Cadyn Grenier, Darell Hernaiz and Mason McCoy. Baltimore also has plenty of arm talent behind Rodriguez, including Mike Baumann, 2018 MiLB strikeout king Dean Kremer and Cody Sedlock.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Though this will probably be solved by some of their shortstops moving over, the Orioles have just one player on their depth chart—Chris Clare—who projects as a true second baseman.
DRAFT TRENDS: The Orioles have signed nine shortstops to bonuses of $100,000 or more over the last four seasons, including three of their first five picks in 2019. If the Tigers take Torkelson at the top of this year’s draft, the Orioles could attempt to add another to their haul by selecting Martin to play shortstop.