The Orioles hit what they felt was a home run with the first overall pick in the MLB Draft on Sunday, but executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias looked to the concept of adding another “wave” to Baltimore, an already highly ranked farming system. focused. ,
To do so, he followed the selection of high school shortstop Jackson Holiday with the 33rd overall pick in a competitive Balance A round with Cal Jr. outfielder Dylan Beavers. Beavers, who Baseball America considered the 26th best prospect in the draft, figures to 6ft 4 and play a corner outfield position.
To open the second round on pick number 42, Baltimore chose Clemson sophomore third baseman Max Wagner, who preferred to stick with high-upside batsmen. And with their final selection on day one, the Orioles took on Florida’s junior outfielder Jude Fabian with the 67th pick of the competitive Balance B round, a selection that had been received as part of a trade from the Marlins, who had picked up reliever Tanner. Scott and Cole Sulcer were sent to Miami. ,
Brad Siolek, Orioles Director of Draft Operations, said: “We are really pleased with our return this evening, noting the unique combination of power and plate discipline for all four challenges. From the third to 10 rounds on Monday.” Will get back soon”.
In 56 games for the Golden Bears last season, Beavers, who hails from Paso Robles, Calif., hit .291 with 1.060 Ops, scoring 17 home runs and driving in 50. He made 51 walks in his 54 strikeouts, and like Holiday, Beavers is a left-handed hitter. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in each of the previous two seasons, and has displayed a tendency to reach base in 2022, doing so safely in 51 of Cal’s 56 games, including a total of 23. streak was involved.
Ciolek said the organization is “really concerned” with the Beaver’s power and speed combination, and believes “there’s more power in the tank.” His contact rate may still improve, Siolek thought.
Wagner, 20, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, showed just 99 plates as a freshman before breaking this past spring and earning the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year award. He hit 27 homers for the Tigers, tied for the third-most in college baseball, including 17 in his final 24 games.
The right-handed slugger kept a strong walk-to-strikeout ratio (45 to 51) and posted a 1.348 ops as a sophistication.
In a Zoom video call with Wagner, what stood out to the mind-boggling Ciolake and the rest of the Orioles was how Wagner navigated through the adversity of his new season. Wagner discovered the need for daily consistency with his training and approach at the plate.
“Obviously, it translated really well across the board, not only with home run numbers and performance at the plate, but also in the field,” Siolek said. “We always look for people who have finally gone through adversity or struggled a little, because we think that translates really well to the next level.”
Fabian was selected by the Boston Red Sox for 40th overall in the second round of last year’s draft, but opted not to sign this year due to being available to the Orioles – leaving Ciolek feeling “excited”.
Fabian returned to Florida for his junior year, where he improved on his power numbers, even as his batting average dropped to .239. The 21-year-old posted 1.013 OPS with 55 RBI along with 24 homers, and he can play in all three outfield positions, though his defensive ability lends itself to center field. He had more walks (62) than hits (56) this past spring with the Gators, and more than 60% of his hits went to extra bases.
“As far as batting average is not concerned,” Siolek said. “He cut his strike rate last year, so we’re really excited that he was able to do that, and he’s always been able to walk and get to base. On-base skills, drawing walks, power and center The unique combination of field playing ability is what really gets us excited about him.”
In the first round of the draft, 21 of the 30 players selected were position players, perhaps a side effect of injuries to several of the college’s top pitchers. In the making of the draft, Elias said “this is kind of a jerk year”. [for pitchers], roughly ‘his reason. But he didn’t rule out the possibility that Baltimore would select an injured pitcher, especially if it’s “a sort of garden-variety Tommy John rehab.”
But Elias has largely avoided drafting a pitcher, and he did so again on Sunday. Baltimore went with their first two picks for the third year in a row, with one infielder and one outfielder. In 2021, the Orioles first picked outfielder Colton Kauser with a fifth overall pick followed by infielder Conor Norby in 41st. In 2020, it was outfielder Heston Kjerstad who was selected with No. 2 overall, followed by infielder Jordan Vestberg, 30th overall.
With Baltimore’s first four pick all position players, Elias went on for a fourth straight year to ensure the Orioles didn’t take a pitcher before at least their fifth pick. In 2019, he waited until his ninth pick before taking on right-hander Griffin McLarty. The Orioles took on a pitcher in 2020 and 2021 with their fifth selections – Carter Bomler and Carlos Tavera, respectively.
“I know you guys are probably not going to believe me, but we did have some pitchers that were actually picked up right before dusk, and I’m telling the truth there,” Siolek said. “Unfortunately the way the ball bounces. … Bottom line, we are looking for the best player available, regardless of position. ,
Holiday, the son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holiday, was selected from a group that was limited to as many as five choices. The Orioles added Beaver, Wagner, and Fabian, the latter two considered by Baseball American as the 70- and 61-best prospects in the draft, respectively. And on Monday, the Orioles have eight more players to add to the talent pipeline being built by Elias.