photo courtesy of mlbdraftinsider.com
After Appel, Buxton and Correa, it's pretty much a toss-up, leaving the Orioles in a tough situation. Several appealing names are still on the board. Do they go after their stated preference and pursue one of the top remaining college pitchers (Kyle Zimmer, Kevin Gausman or Michael Wacha) or do they forge a new path, testing the waters of the high school crop (Albert Almora, Max Fried or Lucas Giolito)?
Both directions have paid off for the O's of late (see prep phenom Dylan Bundy and college pitchers Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta), but the past has also presented the organization with some haunting memories. Fans in Baltimore remember vividly the failed draft of 1999, in which the team had seven of the top 50 picks and committed to building with college pitching only to see all of their picks bomb out of pro ball within a few years.
Also, keep in mind that before hitting on Bundy, the O's got straight Fs with high-schoolers Billy Rowell, Brandon Snyder and Matt Hobgood.
The bottom line is that the O's are lucky new management is in place to make this decision. In the end, it seems pretty likely that the team will go the safe route and take the best available pitcher, Zimmer. The San Francisco ace dealt with a few minor ailments this season, but performed incredibly well when you consider he got some of the worst run support in college baseball and still managed to put together the line (5-3, 2.85, 104:17 K:BB) that he did.
He also gets a leg up on Gausman and Wacha because of his feel for his breaking ball, which should be an above-average offering. At best, Zimmer could challenge Bundy for the top spot in the rotation, but more realistically he could slot in right behind him at No. 2.