The final selection of the 40th round of the 2013 MLB draft was called just a few hours ago, and somehow the Orioles have already come to an agreement of terms with their sixth-round pick, hometown catcher Alex Murphy.
Talk about working fast.
In all, the Orioles drafted 41 players, including 13 high schoolers, 28 collegians, 23 pitchers, five outfielders, nine infielders and four catchers.
It's too soon to start penciling these prospects into next year's Opening Day lineup, so for the time being, let's simply satiate ourselves with some answers to the most pressing questions regarding their selections.
1. How many of Baltimore's top 11 picks will sign, how soon and for how much?
Well, clearly we can take the soon-to-be-signed Alex Murphy out of the equation.
Here's a quick breakdown of what the Orioles are working with in terms of bonus money for the top 10 rounds. The organization has exactly $6,387,900 to spend on its top 11 selections. It helps that for the first time in more than a decade the Orioles didn't have a top 10 pick. Here is the assigned slot value for each of their 11 selections.
|#||Player||Position||Assigned Slot||College Commitment|
|22||Hunter Harvey (HS)||RHP||$1,947,600||None|
|37||Josh Hart (HS)||OF||$1,508,600||Georgia Tech|
|61||Chance Sisco (HS)||C||$913,000||Oregon|
|98||Stephen Tarpley (COL)||LHP||$525,500||N/A|
|129||Jonah Heim (HS)||C||$389,700||Michigan State|
|159||Travis Seabrooke (HS)||LHP||$291,800||Boston College|
|189||Alex Murphy (HS)||C||$218,500||Wake Forest|
|219||Drew Dosch (COL)||3B||$163,800||N/A|
|249||Trey Mancini (COL)||1B||$151,900||N/A|
|279||Mitch Horacek (COL)||LHP||$141,900||N/A|
|309||Austin Wynns (COL)||C||$135,300||N/A|
Harvey should sign relatively quickly, seeing as how he has no college commitment and has expressed intent to start his pro career as soon as possible. Tarpley is a JUCO product and should sign quickly as well.
Heim and Seabrooke don't exactly have commitments to baseball powerhouses, so they shouldn't take too long to sign either. Murphy has already agreed to terms, and Dosch, Mancini and Horacek are all college picks, meaning they're pretty much shoe-ins to sign. Wynns is a senior and has no leverage, so expect him to sign as well.
That leaves Hart, the team's competitive balance round selection, and Sisco, Baltimore's second-round pick. Hart has a commitment to Georgia Tech and is the kind of talent that will likely require the Orioles to go over-slot to get him signed.
Same with Sisco, although the talent level isn't quite as high. Taking into account that the O's have only signed all of their top-10 round selections in two of the last seven years, it stands to reason that they'll only be able to sign Hart or Sisco. My guess is that Hart is the last of the O's top 11 picks to sign and Sisco heads to Eugene.
2. How soon will we see Hunter Harvey in the majors?
Harvey comes from good genes, being the son of former big-leaguer Bryan Harvey.
As noted above, he didn't even bother committing to a college, and he didn't pitch too much last summer. Both tactics were planned in advance in an effort to prepare Harvey for the professional ranks as soon as possible.
Like the Orioles' most recent high school first-round selection, Dylan Bundy, Harvey is incredibly polished for a prep pitcher. Once he signs, the O's will send Harvey to their Gulf Coast League affiliate, although he likely won't be there for too long.
I figure he'll earn a promotion to Aberdeen before the end of the season, and maybe even one or two starts at Low-A Delmarva. He'll likely start back with the Shorebirds in 2014. Advancing a level each season should put him on track for an arrival at Camden Yards in either 2017 or 2018.
3. Is Josh Hart the next Xavier Avery?
The last time the Orioles spent an early-round pick on a toolsy Georgia outfielder, the year was 2008 and the player was Xavier Avery.
On paper, Avery and Hart compare favorably. Great speed, excellent range in the outfield and raw hitting ability at the plate. There's a reason the O's pulled the trigger on Hart earlier than they did Avery, however, and that's because they see him as a legitimate top-of-the-order threat. Avery, on the other hand, appears to be destined for a career as a fourth outfielder.
4. What's with all the catchers?
Three of the Orioles top seven picks were spent on catchers, and four of their top 11 overall. So what gives? After all, the O's have All-Star Matt Wieters behind the plate at the big-league level, right?
Right, but unfortunately the organization doesn't have much depth (talented depth anyways) at the position. Brian Ward is an exceptional defender, but his bat is subpar. Caleb Joseph's bat is good, but he's been moved around the diamond more than Craig Biggio.
Recent selections Michael Ohlman and Wynston Sawyer have failed to develop and...well, there's your reason as to why the Orioles need to spend 36 percent of their draft picks on backstops.
5. Assuming the O's can sign him, does Chance Sisco have the potential to be an everyday player behind the plate?
First things first. Sisco has a commitment to Oregon and will likely require more than the $913,000 allotted to his draft slot to turn professional.
If the O's can get him signed, Sisco has a chance to become the organization's top catcher since, yes...Matt Wieters. Defensively, Sisco is actually new to the position. He just recently made the switch, but he's already shown great ability, including the quickness, hand-eye coordination and a strong arm.
At the plate he's polished for a high schooler. He makes consistent contact and has shown some decent pop.
If he reaches his ceiling, in a world where Wieters doesn't exist of course, Sisco can be an everyday catcher, one who hits .270-.280 with 15-20 home runs per season while offering solid defense.
6. What can we expect from Stephen Tarpley and Travis Seabrooke?
The Orioles' third- and fifth-round selections, Tarpley and Seabrooke both throw left-handed and both could be nice additions to the system.
Tarpley was drafted two years ago by Cleveland, but he chose to go the community college route. While at Scottsdale CC, Tarpley flashed low-to-mid-90s velocity and a feel for both a curve and changeup. He has an easy delivery, pounds the strike zone and is a heck of a competitor. He'll definitely get the chance to start.
Seabrooke, a product of Canada's Crestwood Secondary School, has great size (6'5'', 197 lbs) and a fastball that rarely cracks 92 mph. He should gain some velocity on the pitch as he adds some weight. His curveball is an above-average offering, and he's shown great feel for a changeup. He too should start his pro career as a starter.
7. Are any of the college players drafted in rounds 7-10 any good?
Let's start with the most well-known, Notre Dame's Trey Mancini.
A hulking presence (6'5'', 205 lbs) on and off the field, Mancini was a terror for the Irish this season, pacing the squad with a .389 average, one point ahead of first-rounder Eric Jagielo. Mancini also led the Irish with 54 RBI.
He has more power in his bat than his seven home runs would lead one to believe. Defensively, Mancini held his own at first base. He committed just six errors all season, good for a .990 fielding percentage.
Assuming he reaches his ceiling, a good comparison for Mancini would be Mark Trumbo.
Moving on to Youngstown State's Drew Dosch.
Dosch had a fantastic sophomore campaign for the Penguins and capped his year with an impressive turn in the Cape Cod League. He was named to the league's All-Star team and even earned player of the week honors once.
His performance this season was less impressive, but take into account that he was pretty much the entire offense for a team that went 14-43. All of a sudden, hitting .338 with 15 doubles and 30 RBI doesn't sound too bad. Like Mancini, most of his value lies in his bat, and some scouts feel that he might have to move to first base down the road.
Dosch's comparison, assuming he too reaches his ceiling, is Mark DeRosa.
On to the lesser-known guys.
Mitch Horacek is a massive, projectable lefty from Dartmouth who burst onto the scene putting up some seriously gaudy numbers in the Ivy League. His 2.20 ERA was good for seventh in the league, while his six wins were good for third. He tossed three complete games (in just seven starts) and struck out 42 batters in 45 innings.
At 6'5'' and 210 pounds, he has great size, but he doesn't feature great velocity, and his secondary pitches are currently below-average offerings.
Finally, Fresno State catcher Austin Wynns.
Wynns broke out as a sophomore, earning a spot on the All-WAC first-team and hitting .326. He followed that up with a steady performance as a junior, earning a spot on the WAC All-Tournament team.
He struggled at the plate this season, hitting .279 with just three home runs, but his performance behind the plate was solid. In the three season that he saw significant time behind the plate, Wynns posted fielding percentages of .993, .996 and .992 and threw out 44 percent of runners.
Clearly, Wynns' value is on defense.
8. What can we expect from the grandson of Carl Yastrzemski?
The Orioles went the nostalgic route and selected Vanderbilt outfielder Mike Yastrzemski in the 14th round, and while he's a moderately talented player, fans shouldn't expect too much from him.
"Little Yaz" had a tremendous career for the Commodores, appearing in 252 games over the course of four years. This season was easily the finest of his career and coincided with one of Vanderbilt's best campaigns in school history. Yastrzemski hit .318, rapped 19 doubles, scored 52 runs and drove in a career-high 43.
He continued to be a terror on the basepaths, stealing 20 bases in 27 attempts, giving him 62 steals for his career.
With only 15 career home runs, Yastrzemski isn't going to offer the same skill set as his granddad. Instead, he offers average hitting ability, good speed and solid defense. Unless he grows into some power, he's likely destined for a ceiling as a fourth outfielder.
9. Are any of the Orioles' picks from the later rounds worth keeping an eye on?
Twelfth-round right-hander Jacob Bray is intriguing, offering a mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider. If he can add a third pitch, he could find his way as a starter.
Eighteenth-round right-hander Reed Reilly could be the steal of the draft for the O's. Hailing from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Reilly was eligible as a sophomore and parlayed two incredible seasons in the bullpen into a selection.
Utilizing a mid-90s fastball and a low-80s slider, Reilly struck out 114 batters the past two seasons, in 113.2 innings. This season he whiffed 69 in just 59 innings while racking up 14 saves.
The O's could try him as a starter, with the fall-back of moving him to the bullpen, where they know he can find success.
Right-hander Dylan Rheault, the team's 19th-round selection, checks in at 6'9'' and 245 pounds and is worth keeping an eye on, while 28th-rounder Robert Tyler has been clocked as high as 95 mph and may have more to offer as he fills out. He'll take some serious convincing to forgo his commitment to Georgia.
10. How many productive big-leaguers will the Orioles get out of the 2013 draft class?
If I had to guess I'd say three of four of this year's draft prospects have a shot at cracking the big-league roster one day.
First-rounder Hunter Harvey is a shoe-in. If he can't hack it as a starter, he'll make a fine reliever.
Competitive balance selection Josh Hart should make an appearance at some point as well. If Xavier Avery can work his way up to the majors while still offering little production at the plate, Hart should have no trouble.
Mancini and Tarpley seem to be the next safest bets to reach Camden Yards, but I'll go off the board and say my man Reed Reilly will also get a shot.