Cautionary Tale of Recent Drafts by the Baltimore Orioles


Mar 16, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy (49) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, as detailed here, I looked at how difficult it has been for the Baltimore Orioles to develop starting pitchers.

Now, I want to look at the last seven years of draft picks and evaluate where they are at this point. I will pay close attention to one certain pitcher who has to be on the Orioles’ roster next spring.

2009 – Of the Baltimore Orioles’ 2009 draft picks, only one has played in the major leagues. And that person was drafted as an infielder, not a relief pitcher. Mychal Givens was drafted in the second round, and the O’s deserve credit for sticking with him and developing him into a solid relief pitcher.

First round and fifth overall pick Matt Hobgood never panned out. He dealt with weight issues, injuries and was not successful in the minor leagues. He is now a minor league free agent and will likely be in another farm system in 2016.

Of all of the other draft picks, 50 rounds worth, only one name sticks out of a player who has a chance of making an impact for the Orioles in 2016. That is Tim Berry, the left-hander who could see time in the majors. Berry was the very last person drafted. Talk about a dismal draft.

2010 – The O’s hit a home run with their first pick, third overall of Manny Machado. I don’t need to say much more. The only two other draftees to play in the majors never did so for the Orioles.

Chi-Chi Gonzalez never signed with the O’s, but became a spot starter in 2015 for the Texas Rangers. He went 4-6 in 10 starts with a 3.90 ERA. Scott Copeland made three spot starts for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, and it did not go well. Copeland was a 21st round pick in 2010.

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The O’s have a few other players who could make noise in the O’s farm system. Those players are right-handed pitchers Dan Klein (who has dealt with a lot of injury issues), Parker Bridwell, Sebastian Vader, and center fielder Trent Mummey.

2011 – 2011 features four pitchers who have appeared in the major leagues. Dylan Bundy was the first round, fourth overall pick. If you look at yesterday’s post, the O’s might be cursed with fourth overall picks. Bundy was signed to a contract that stipulates that he has to be in the major leagues in 2016. However, Bundy has not found it possible to stay healthy. He has struggled immensely with elbow issues, just like his brother Bobby. He was pitching in the Arizona Fall League, but was recently sidelined due to tightness.

The other three are Mike Wright (third round), Tyler Wilson (10th round), and Zach Davies (26th round). Davies, of course, never pitched for the O’s. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Gerardo Parra and did quite well for Milwaukee in a few starts at the end of the season. Wright and Wilson both saw some spot starts in 2015, and both showed signs of what they can do. Wright displayed how good he can be in his very first start but was inconsistent the rest of the way. Wilson showed that he is a bulldog and although not the strongest arm, is a true pitcher.

Not a lot of other strength in this 2011 draft, as there are no other names that are moving their way through the farm system for the O’s.

2012 – Somehow I skipped 2012 originally. Which should have been noticeable, since there was no Kevin Gausman. Gausman was drafted, you guessed it, fourth overall in 2012 and has, like many others, shown promise in the major leagues.

However, he continues to be inconsistent as well. I think it is a lack of focus, but it may just be the way he has been moved back and forth.  Also appearing in the majors is Christian Walker.

Walker continues to show he may be able to be a major league performer for the O’s. He is a solid defender, and has always hit well in the minors. Other minor leagues who could soon have the potential to be in Baltimore include Adrian Marin, a short stop.

Also worth mentioning is Josh Hader, who was drafted in the 19th round and is now a top pitching prospect for the Houston Astros after being traded for Bud Norris.

2013 – The Dan Duquette and Brian Graham drafting influence really starts to show through here. While none of these players have made the majors yet, they includes players who are regarded as top prospects. Guys like Hunter Harvey, who has dealt with his own injury issues, Chance Sisco, Drew Dosch, Trey Mancini, Mike Yastrzemski.

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Several of these guys were listed on the O’s top 10 prospect list in 2015, and play positions (C, 1B and OF) that could help the Orioles in the future.

2014 – The O’s again took several pitchers at the top of the draft in 2014. LHP Brian Gonzalez was taken in the first round, followed by Pat Connaughton of Notre Dame, who is currently playing for the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. Other picks who have shown promise in 2014 so far include third round pick David Hess, fourth round pick Tanner Scott, and 19th round pick Connor Seabold. However, it is a bit early for a lot of the class to show how good they are.

Illustrative of the O’s commitment to pitching, they took five pitchers to start their draft, and seven of their first ten picks were pitchers.

2015 – Baltimore’s most recent draft class featured two position players at the top in Florida State OF DJ Stewart and SS Ryan Mountcastle, which could soon be a position of need for the O’s.

But, when you look at seven years of draft picks, only five of them have made it in the majors for the Baltimore Orioles. Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, and Mychal Givens, in order of appearance. Three others all appeared for other teams in 2015, in Copeland, Gonzalez and Davies.

Next: Why starting pitching is so critical

For years, the motto thrown about in Baltimore is to grow the arms and buy the bats. From looking at the drafts, that appears to be the case, but it isn’t exactly working, as so many draft picks have not panned out.