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August 4, 2010

Narron, Bridwell to take physicals, finalize deals to join Orioles

The Orioles are nearing agreements with two more of their top 10 picks, both high upside high school players that will get above slot deals to join the organization.

Fifth-round pick, shortstop/third baseman Connor Narron and ninth-rounder, right-handed pitcher Parker Bridwell, are expected in Baltimore later this week to take physicals. That is pretty much all that is left before they finalize their deals.

Narron, the son of former major league player and manager Jerry Narron, is a switch-hitter who was thought to be a solid commitment to play at the University of North Carolina. He hit .317 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 27 games in his senior season at C.B. Aycock High (N.C.).

Bridwell, a three-sport star at Hereford High (Tex.), had committed to Texas Tech University. The 6-foot-4, 187-pound pitcher went 7-2 with a 2.26 ERA and struck out 116 batters in 65 innings during his season season at Hereford.

When the two deals are completed, the Orioles will have agreed to terms with 33 of their 49 selections from the June draft, including five of their top 10 and nine of their top 15.

Their top two picks – Florida high school shortstop Manny Machado (1st round, 3rd overall) and UCLA right-handed pitcher Dan Klein (3rd round) remain unsigned. The Orioles will have until midnight on Aug. 16 to come to an agreement or they’ll lose their draft rights.

Orioles Director of Scouting Joe Jordan will be in California this week to scout the Area Code games, and could meet directly with Klein and his representative, John Boggs, along with a couple of other draft picks. Two other unsigned top 10 picks – sixth rounder Dixon Anderson, a right-handed pitcher from U.C. Berkeley, and seventh rounder Matthew Bywater, a left-handed pitcher out of Pepperdine – also hail from California.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 9:57 AM | | Comments (13)


thanks for the update on these draft picks, Jeff. Do you think that Buck's hiring will make a difference as to whether Klein and Machado (as well as the other unsigned picks) sign with us.

Jeff Z's reply: Nah, I don't think that matters really. I think O's still confident that both will sign regardless of the manager.

Signing Narron is huge. Joe Jordan should be breathing a sigh of relief today on the plane. Now let's get those top two locked up and it will be a productive summer for O's draft picks.

That's great news. Really makes this draft look very solid. Narron was considered the toughest get, and Bridwell was probably 2nd on that list. I know in Narron's case it caused him to drop a couple rounds.

And I have no worries about the other two. Machado was never going to sign on any day other than August 16, so we'll just have to wait that one out. This really makes this a solid draft.

Now, about last year's class....


Do you think that the recent financial reports about the O's scouting and farm system are contributing to some of these guys holding out? I heard during the CWS that Klein should have been an somewhat easy sign and could possibly be a Sept call up. I would assume the agents are aware that the O's are willing to pay overslot, whereas we may get better players are the agents waiting for there money knowing the O's are, for lack of better terms, desperate?

Jeff Z's reply: No, Jordan has all the money he needs to sign these guys. People are playing the game right now. This is how it goes for the most part. On a couple of guys, the Orioles thought they knew what it was going to take to sign him and they were willing to do it. But the price supposedly went up after they drafted him. That happens often.

My question too Bill. I disagree with the Z. I think it will definitely impact the draft signings, as well as giving us a better chance of signing 1 or 2 quality free agents in the off season. The Orioles have now made a strong statement that they are no longer going to be bottom- feeders in the AL east. Anyone who wants to play consistently against the best in baseball will need to be in the East.

Jeff Z's reply: While I certainly don't disagree that Showalter hiring sends the right message to everyone around baseball that O's are serious about turning this thing around, these two draft agreements were in the works and pretty much completed for a while now, certainly before Buck was announced. You just have to wait a little while because of they are overslots and do other things, including physicals for them to be finalized. I'm glad people are really excited about Showalter and it was nice to cover a game at Camden Yards where there was some buzz. But I think it's a little much to credit Buck for things that he clearly has no involvement in.

i agree with dave johnson. the signing date to sign the players that are drafted should be chasnged from august 15 to a date in july.there is no need for all of these schananagans in getting the draftees under contract.

Jeff, I hope you can have a internet chat soon, so many questions out there and you are just about the only one that can answer them.

I would like to ask here, why all the posturing? Doesn't it make sense for both player and team to get these things done early? If the guy's going to sign, why not sign him in June or July, rather than August? What are the benefits of waiting until the last minute, there have to be some or they wouldn't do it, right? Do both parties just figure that because of the deadline, there's no rush? Just seems like they wait until August just for the sake of waiting til August, I don't understand.


Jeff Z's reply: Good question Ken, and I hope you don't mind, I'm going to answer it as briefly as I can. But I think in general, these kids hire agents, who are paid to get them good deals so they're not going to jump on the first deal they see. Plus, nobody wants to agree to a below-market deal and lower the bar for the rest of the picks. Some of these guys are just graduating high school and they know whether they sign immediately in June or mid-August, it's really not going to affect their big league arrival date for the most part. So they take some time off, try to get the most money possible and then get it done near the deadline. I do know there are some scouting directors clamoring for some of the signing rules to change and it wouldn't surprise me if they do in the near future.

I have to give them credit, adding Narron was unexpected. I really like his potential....great job

Quick question Jeff:

Is it possible that a mistake was made in displaying Narron's high school stats. With the talk of his talent and potential an average of .317 is not that impressive at all for a highschooler, even in the most competitive of leagues.

If you could clear that up for me it would be appreciated, thanks.

Jeff Z's reply: It's a real good question because I had a real hard time finding his stats from his senior year. I wound up seeing them on one of his scouting profiles so I guess it's possible they are not comprehensive. But to your point, yes, a lot of people who follow this stuff a lot closer than I do said that Narron had a disappointing season and didn't help his draft status. I even read one report that questioned his work ethic a little, slightly surprising for such a well-respected coach's son.

Jeff, thanks for the answer. Still doesn't make sense to me, but then again, what do I know? But you did clear up a couple of points.

As for Narron, if he did have a senior year slump, maybe that's why he was relatively easy to sign. We all know that some kids let their success go to their heads(Adam Jones?) and maybe a sub-par senior year will serve as a wake up call. He probably went pro because he thinks he doesn't need college. My only concern is that when you mention "work ethic", people will be reminded of a couple of other highly touted Orioles high school picks, Rowell and Hobgood, who aren't exactly setting the world on fire. Indeed, many are ready to call both washouts, at the ripe old ages of 22 and 19.

I know the big difference is that Rowell and Hobgood were number ones, but if Narron has similar difficulties in the pros, will there be similar comments? High schoolers are big gambles, it might take them many years to show anything, so patience is indeed a virtue.

Now let's get Machado and Klein signed.

This is good news on these two and I believe Klein and Machado will come in their time but I also really look forward to the lefty #7 pick.. Our lefty stock is pretty slim in the upper levels after Britton..

I have read a lot of local articles about Connor and know people who have attended his games. My understanding is that his senior year was not all he wanted it to be for a couple reasons. First of all, pitchers would not pitch to him. It is my understanding that he did not see a ball in the strike zone, very often. He was walked a lot. Many times intentionally. In fact, I believe I heard that he got the state record for the most walks, this year. I am sure his obp is pretty terrific. After his high school season was over, he started playing for his American Legion team. I heard about one of his first games in which, the pitcher pitched him balls in the strike zone. He hit two huge homeruns, two doubles and was walked twice. One time being intentional. So, I really believe the other high school teams unwillingness to pitch to him hurt him, this year.
I also read an article in which his high school coach stated that he has had two injuries, this past year, that have held him back, at times but he is now fully recovered from them.
I think for these two reasons, his senior year was not all it should have been.

I do not believe this poor work ethic stuff, AT ALL. He is out on the field, hitting and fielding, even on days he does not have games or practice. I heard he has spent the past month or so, working with a trainer every day, to build up his upper body strength. This kid eats, sleeps and breaths baseball. He loves the game and wants to be the best he can be. He will work hard to acheive his best, trust me.

It will snow before #1 signs.

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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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