Biggest Draft Steals for the Baltimore Orioles from the Past 10 Years
One of the most interesting aspects of MLB, or any professional sport for that matter, is when draft time rolls around.
A draft provides hope for a struggling team and its fans: a way to attract and acquire young talent at a reasonable rate. And for teams that are on the opposite side of struggling, it helps keep them well-stocked in order for them to swing trades for needs later on down the road or simply take their time to develop a player into a superstar.
Whatever it may be, a draft is never a sure thing. There have been many a player taken early in the first round who flop once they make it to the big leagues and even more who are taken later in the draft and make something of themselves at the sport's highest level.
Over the last 10 years, the Baltimore Orioles have had a hard time making anything of their drafts even though they've had high slots due to poor on-field performance.
But they have had a few names help them out down the road. Big names like catcher Matt Wieters (pictured), third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado and right fielder Nick Markakis are making an impact in the bigs.
However, there have been some who many may not have heard of until their time came to make a difference with the parent club. We're going to highlight some of those guys, some of the Orioles' draft steals of the last decade.
Jim Hoey, RHP; 13th Round of 2003 Draft
I'm not including Jim Hoey for what he did on the field for the Orioles. He didn't appear at the major league level much for the team during his time in the organization.
Instead, I'm including Hoey for what he helped get his former team.
Hoey was one of two minor league arms dealt from the Orioles to the Minnesota Twins for shortstop J.J. Hardy and utility infielder Brenden Harris.
Obviously, the main name in that deal was Hardy, who has solidified what was a shaky position for the team prior to his arrival, providing Gold Glove defense and some of the best pop at his position in the league.
Hoey always had good stuff but never translated in the majors like the O's wanted him to. But they're lucky they had him because he helped them solidify the left side of their infield.
David Hernandez, RHP; 16th Round of 2005 Draft
Many people in the O's organization, as well as the team's fans, liked David Hernandez's stuff. And during his time with the team, he had a bit of success, especially as a reliever, and showed great promise.
Though like Hoey, Hernandez was destined to be used as trade bait, helping to net the team all-or-nothing power hitter Mark Reynolds from the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the 2011 season.
Since then, Hernandez has become a dominate reliever for the D-Backs, pitching to a 3.38 ERA over 69.1 innings in 2011 and a 2.50 ERA over 68.1 innings in 2012.
Maybe the O's should have held on to Hernandez, but at the time they appeared to have a surplus of quality young arms and a definite need for power in their lineup, so the trade made sense.
Bobby Bundy, RHP; 8th Round of 2008 Draft
Bobby Bundy, the brother of top prospect Dylan Bundy (pictured), showed some real promise and potential early in his minor league career.
In 2011 at Single-A ball, Bundy impressed with an 11-5 record and 2.75 ERA over 20 starts. Things seemed to be lining up for him to advance through the team's system and eventually become a member of the O's starting rotation.
His health had other ideas, though, as he needed surgery in 2012 to remove bone spurs after he had a rough start to the year at Double-A.
Bundy is still resting that arm in hopes that he can quickly regain his dominant form from 2011. The organization still likes him, and should he return from his injury without a problem, he could eventually become a solid major league arm.
Caleb Joseph, Catcher; 7th Round of 2008 Draft
This one is a bit of a stretch, but cut me a break. The O's haven't drafted well for much of the last decade.
Caleb Joseph was drafted as a catcher with some promising potential. His bat was good in college, and it has remained solid during his minor league career. His defensive abilities are also an attribute for the catcher.
Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to make it up to the bigs yet. His minor league numbers are nice but nothing overwhelming. If anything, he projects to eventually be a backup in the majors.
Whether it be for the Orioles or another team, I'd be surprised if he never made it to the majors at some point. Maybe the Orioles could package him in a deal for an impact player down the road.
Dylan Bundy, RHP; 1st Round of 2011 Draft
In being described as a talent with potential that has no ceiling, it's almost a little surprising that the O's were able to draft him with the number four overall pick in 2011.
Bundy has breezed through the minors and even appeared in a couple of games in the majors last season.
The O's are hoping that he can make his way back into the majors for good this season and eventually become the ace at the front of the rotation that the team so desperately needs. He's got that kind of potential, so it certainly isn't out of the question.
Expect big things from Dylan Bundy.
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