Projecting baseball’s annual amateur draft is often tougher than the other major sports. And it’s certainly a more daunting task to predict whom the Orioles will select with their top pick now that they’re in the unfamiliarly late territory of No. 22.
But that won’t stop the experts from trying. Here’s a look at what some of the national mock drafts are predicting for the Orioles’ first-round selection Thursday night:
** ESPN’s Keith Law has the Orioles taking Jacksonville right-hander Chris Anderson in version 3.0 of his popular mock. (Note: Insider account needed for full story.)
“I had them taking [Georgia High School outfielder] Josh Hart last time around, and that interest is still there, as is the potential to take [San Francisco right-hander] Alex Balog or [Marshall right-hander Aaron] Blair at 37,” Law writes.
** Dave Perkin’s mock draft for SI.com has the Orioles using their No. 22 pick on Cal State Fullerton outfielder Michael Lorenzen.
Blessed with speed and a tremendous arm, Lorenzen has nearly all the tools to one day flank Adam Jones in the Baltimore outfield,” Perkin writes. “His bat has always been a question mark but this season Lorenzen has shown improvement in that area. He's also a versatile defender and has good speed.”
** MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has the O’s looking at another position and targeting Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo.
“College hitters who perform always move up. Jagielo has the potential to hit for average and power while staying at third,” Mayo writes.
** Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com also projects the Orioles to take Anderson, with Hart, Balog and Jagielo among their other top options.
** Baseball America’s Jim Callis – who spoke to Dan Connolly this week about the catching depth in this draft – links the Orioles with Nick Ciuffo, a high school backstop from South Carolina.
“Baltimore doesn’t appear to have a preferred demographic, getting mentioned with college bats (Jagielo) and arms (San Francisco righthander Alex Balog) as well as with high school position players (Ciuffo) and pitchers (Hunter Harvey),” Callis writes. “Speedy Georgia prep outfielder Josh Hart has helium and could be a factor here.”
If you’re craving more mock drafts, check out this handy site that collects and links out to a number of mocks from these major sites and other lesser-known blogs.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun