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May 14, 2010

Jordan makes final push for June 7 draft

With the June 7 draft less than four weeks away, Orioles director of scouting Joe Jordan has whittled down his targets for the third overall pick, and he’ll visit each of them over the next couple of weeks.

“I’ve got it down to four or five guys where our pick is going to come from,” Jordan said while on a scouting trip Thursday afternoon. “I’m really going to stay on the guys that we’ve been on the whole time, visit with them and try to get to know them even more. I’m trying to get real good looks for the next 2 and 2 ½ weeks. There are no days off right now. We’ll leave no stone unturned.”

Jordan will preside over West Coast regional scouting meetings, which start on Sunday, and then similar meetings with Midwest scouts after that. Then, he’s hoping to see about 10 or 12 more games before lining up the names on the Orioles’ wish list.

“Right now, we’re just really circling back on the guys we like,” he said. “It’s all coming together.”

Jordan, of course, wasn’t going to tip his hand on the four or five players the club is considering with the top pick, though most draft pundits think that the Orioles first selection will come from a group that includes University of Mississippi left-hander Drew Pomeranz, Woodlands (Tex.) High right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon, Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon, or Brito (Fla) High shortstop Manny Machado.

Jordan said several weeks ago that if all things were equal, he’d like to take an impact bat at No.3, but beyond junior college catcher Bryce Harper, who is expected to go first overall to the Washington Nationals, there are only a few hitters who project as early first-round picks. Zack Cox, a third baseman from the University of Arkansas, is one of them.

“We’re going to have position guys that we like and they’ll be plenty of pitching available,” Jordan said. “We’re going to have our options, and we’re going to get a player we really like. To be honest, some of the guys that I felt like we’re maybe on the [fringe] and had a chance to get in the mix, they haven’t performed as well as I would have liked them to.”

Jordan didn’t mention any names, but LSU pitcher Antony Ranaudo is one player who was expected to go in the top few picks, but has had a disappointing season, and may have dropped out of Orioles’ consideration.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 10:45 AM | | Comments (37)


I know you can never have enough pitching. I get it. But if they take another high school pitcher when there is a potential quality bat available, I am going to lose my mother lovin' mind. We have a stockpile of pitching, but no real position prospects beyond Josh Bell. They need to go grab a shortstop or a corner infielder. And if Bryce Harper is available (and he won't be) and they pass him by, there will be hell to pay.

SHORTSTOP-----SHORTSTOP-----SHORTSTOP----catch the drift?

Yeah go with Colon from CSF- I watched him play last year during the College World Series, he was pretty decent. He is a slick fielding shortstop, decent hitter, could develop into something nice down the road. Zach Cox from Arkansas wouldn't be a bad selection but with Josh Bell there.....why draft him. I think Colon is the most logical. No pitcher, take a pitcher in the 2nd round, We need some bats!!!

No dominating pitcher available.

DC will take Harper. Pgh probably Cox or possibly Colon.

Balto. should take SS Colon if available. He will be outstanding in the majors.

The O's really need to stay away from HS picks and concentrate on maturity where college competition is a better measuring tool.

With no second round pick, the need is great to pick right in the first round and get him signed, whoever it is.

Really guys?? Come on. You have the 3rd over all pick in the draft. You don't reach on a hitter when you can get a top of the line starter like Taillon who is flat out awesome. Having too much great pitching is a fantastic problem. You can find good hitters every day but top of the line pitching is hard to come by. Do you all not remember what kind of trades you can get when you trade away a top pitcher?? Please don't draft a SS who will probably never play in the majors as a SS. Get Taillon and secure our future. Plus alot of you all forget we drafted a promising SS last year in Mychal Givens

1. Brian Matusz
2. Jake Aerrita
3. Chris Tillman
4. Matt Hobgood
5. James Taillon

I want to see that rotation in 2014

In baseball, you always draft the best player available; they take awhile to develop anyway, and the Orioles' situation may well have changed by the time this pick gets to the big leagues. None of the shortstops in this draft will be much above an average big-leaguer - as Zrebiec says, only Bryce Harper in this draft is an impact bat. Draft the best player available, and that would be a pitcher, Taillon if we can get him. Don't take the shortstop!!!

Not to sound dense. But what exactly is the advantage to not tipping his hand?

Also. There is no bat available. Y'all are silly. Take a

Jeff Z's reply: Draft is four weeks away. You don't want the Pirates at No.2 to know who is the top player on your draft board. You also don't want the agents of some of these top players know where you are leaning at this point.

Has MLB ever giving a reason as to why MLB draft picks cannot be traded like every other sport?

Agree with Paul. The list of high school players with "Potential" that never pan out is quite lenghty, especially with the O's (Billy Rowell, Adam Loewen). I don't understand why this organization wouldn't want to take a top flight college player with at least a little more certainty to what they'll become as well as a shorter path to the Majors (see Roberts and Wieters/Matusz in recent years). Take the best hitting college SS you can and get him to Baltimore by 2012. Out of 8 top 10 picks this decade, we have Markakis, Wieters and Matusz to show for it. Furthermore we have no organizational depth at ANY field position. Clearly the O's talent evaluation has been subpar to say the least!

Draft pitchers with your first 15 picks. Pitching wins championships


What if there isn't a bat of equal value to that of an arm? If, as many pundits show, Jameson Taillion is still on the board at three and Manny Machado went to the Pirates, you're saying you'd rather have Zach Cox than arguably the best HS pitching prospect since Porcello?

The MLB Draft is frankly a crapshoot, so it's best to take the best player available and not draft for need. You should take the player most likely to make a major impact on your ML roster in the first round and if that's a HS pitcher, that should be the pick.

Pitching, pitching and more pitching! Get my drift.


Assuming Harper does go #1, then the O's are almost surely going to choose between Taillon and Machado, and they are exactly who they should be choosing from.

And please everyone, save the hyperbole. There are no mantras when it comes to drafting other than to take the player that you believe will turn into the best pro. We don't NEED to take a college player instead of a HS player, a hitter vs a pitcher, or visa versa for either. When you're a floundering organization such as the O's, the best way to turn it around is by adding the best players you possibly can, regardless of position or experience. Taillon and Machado (maybe Whitson, but I doubt it) are the two highest upside guys who will be there at 3, so that's who they should look at. Whichever they like more and is more projectable should and likely will be the pick.

Best player available, please. If that's Taillion, and it looks like it may be, then you take, even if he is a HS pitcher. These top picks are too valuable to be drafting for need on the major league level. There are other rounds in which addressing those needs makes more sense.

The problem I have is that I question the talent of Orioles' scouting.

Use the Raven's philosophy, "Best Player Avaialble". Can we hire Ozzie to consult?

Hobgood has not been what you'd expect for a #5 overall. I wasn't impressed at all when I saw throw a 2-hitter for seven innings. No velocity. If you can't get a dominent player with this pick they should spend part of their bonus money on someone else's scouts.

Hobgood has not been what you'd expect for a #5 overall. I wasn't impressed at all when I saw throw a 2-hitter for seven innings. No velocity. If you can't get a dominent player with this pick they should spend part of their bonus money on someone else's scouts.

It depends on what the overall strategy is of the organization. If the goal is to draft younger HS players with higher upside, figuring it takes a few years to feed through the system, then that's what they'll do.

My own approach would be to find the best college player that seems closest to a quality majors player. I'm not as concerned about picking some HS phenom that may bust. Rather pick a more mature player that's got a few more years of track record.

But really there are no guarantees either way. I still believe BPA is better than going for need. If you pick a SS now, when he comes up (if he comes up) in three years, we might have a glut of SS prospects by that time. So you never know.

Bryce Harper ain't gonna be available. But thanks for playing! BWAAAHHHAAA HAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Hey - it's got nothing to do with the fact that Angelos helped keep baseball out of DC forever. Nothing personal, right? natswin natswin natswinnnnnnnn

Forget this year. we're draftin first next year Baby....

Billy Rowell is still only like 21. The book is not at all finished on him.

I posted this over at Steve Melewski's blog as well -

I like Cox. (pause for snickering) My reasoning is this...

Look at this list:

2009 Donovan Tate – CF Cartersville HS– Padres
2008 Eric Hosmer – 1B American Heritage HS– Royals
2007 Josh Vitters – 3B Cypress HS– Cubs
2006 Evan Longoria – 3B Long Beach State– Rays
2005 Jeff Clement – C USC – Mariners
2004 Philip Humber – RHP Rice – Mets
2003 Kyle Sleeth – RHP Wake Forest – Tigers
2002 Christopher Grueler – P Liberty HS – Reds
2001 Dewon Brazelton – P Middle Tennessee State – Rays
2000 Luis Montanez – SS Miami Coral Park HS – Cubs
1999 Eric Munson – C USC – Tigers
1998 Corey Patterson – OF Harrison HS – Cubs
1997 Troy Glaus – 3B/P UCLA – Angels
1996 Braden Looper – P Wichita State – Cardinals
1995 Jose Cruz – OF Rice – Mariners
1994 Dustin Hermanson – P Kent State – Padres
1993 Brian Anderson – P Wright State – Angels
1992 B.J. Wallace – P Mississippi State – Expos
1991 David McCarty – 1B Stanford – Twins
1990 Mike Lieberthal – C Westlake HS – Phillies
1989 Roger Salkeld – P Saugus HS – Mariners
1988 Steve Avery – P Kennedy HS – Braves
1987 Willie Banks – P St. Anthony’s HS – Twins
1986 Matt Willliams – 3B UNLV – Giants
1985 Bobby Witt – P University of Oklahoma - Rangers

Those are the number three picks for the past 25 years. Arguably, the best three picks in that time period were Evan Longoria, Troy Glaus and Matt Williams... all college 3B. As we all know, from Schoolhouse Rocks, three is the magic number. SS is not the magic number. P is not the magic number. 3B is the magic number, especially picking at #3!!!

We need Cox!

The O's are not going to give away a huge signing bonus to an unproven HS pitcher. Taillon will go to Rice. Period.

In Colon you can draft a SS who is 90% certain (according to all true baseball pundits I have researched) to make the major leagues soon.

I don't care if he replaces Izturis when he hangs it up or Roberts. 2-3 years from now you'll be glad we have him.

The best you're going to get with drafting Taillon is a supplemental pick when he tells the O's to pound it.

Colon is the closest to a sure major league prospect that you will find in this draft. And probably the quickest to make it, too.

Look for Andy to take the Cheap Cheap Cheap option! Hey, cheer up guys. After taking Hobgood over Leake last year, we should be used to draft busts under Dandy Andy!!!!!

it's really that not hard. draft jameson taillon. this guy is gonna be a stud pitcher. he's got the complete package. there are only 2 bats worth drafting this high in the draft, harper and machado, and harper will almost definitely be gone. if the bucs take taillon, then you draft machado. but if taillon is there, then for god's sake take him! please orioles, DO NOT screw up this pick.

OK! The first mgr. has been fired. Can Trembley please be next?

Justin, if it's so easy to find bats, how come the O's don't have any. This farm system needs a power hitter, not another arm

Really Justin? You can find good hitters every day? Then why is it the O's don't have any good hitters on the big league club, and none in the minors? The farm system needs a power hitter, not another arm.

I agree with a previous entry, if Jamison Tallion is available when the Orioles pick they would be crazy not to take him. This guys got Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens stuff who also comes out of a Texas program where high 90's fastball is king.

I love RHP Taillon and LHP Pomeranz looks to be a winner too but if they are serious about a position player and Harper will be gone then go with the HS SS Machado, more projected to stay at SS than colon, a very smooth fielder who also out slugged most of the college players on team USA including harper.. A possible very special SS.. Otherwise the best bats are a CF and 3B..

I have always liked Justin Smoak 1B who the orioles chose Matusz ovr but with texas having Davis at 1B I would approach them about a possible trade for Smoak or Davis..

Have any of you seen any of these guys play?? In person? On TV? Do any of you have any professional scouting experience?

Just like with the Ravens, I'll let the scouts do their job. I've only seen one of these guys actually play, Manny Machado. If Pittsburgh takes Taillon wtih #2, I'd be very much in favor of taking Machado. If the Pirates take Pomeranz, then it's a toss up between Machado and Taillon.

Machado just might be a "very special" player (A-Rod lite, as they say...). Cannon for an arm, great range, very good hitting mechanics and swing, plus, plus, power potential as his frame starts to fill out.

The Pick should be Taillon, he is according to most scouting services head and shoulders above the remaining players available, but when dealing with the Orioles, that doesn't really matter. Last yr with the their 1st pick they passed on players like Turner, Gibson,Trout, Sweppers Leake and others, all rated higher then Matt "Sidney Ponson pat Deux" Hobgood, and all expected to be in the majors by 2012, Leake is there already, but they took the cheap way out, again..and I won't be shocked if they do it again this year!

Taillon for sure.

You buy hitters and you develop pitchers. That has been Andy motto. Were in the top 10 in farm system because of this. Before he got here we had one of the worst systems thanks to Syd Thrift. You all are wrong though. The Orioles do have some quality hitters its just they are all at the lower level teams. Guys like Avery, Givens, Bell, Rowell(still only 21yrs old) along with Bell, Reimold and Snyder. The Orioles have a good core of offensive players in Roberts, Markakis, Wieters, and Jones already in the majors.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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