Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich talked with the media via a conference call after making the club’s first three picks in the amateur draft Thursday night.
Here’s what he had to say:
Was picking three high school kids a change in philosophy or a statement of where the Orioles are now?
“No, it wasn’t really mapped out that way. It’s just how the draft kind of fell. And we feel like we did get three young players that we really like and we do trust our player development people. And we went into the day with a short and long-term perspective. It just didn’t work out that way. But we do feel like we got three players that we really like.”
Was Hunter Harvey on your list of guys you hoped would fall to you?
“Yes, he was the first guy on our list there for that pick and we’re thrilled that he was there.”
Why Hunter Harvey and how much did his background (father a former MLB closer, brother a former second-rounder) and signability play into the pick?
“We looked at the talent, first of all. You know, he’s an advanced high school pitcher. He has a chance – he’s a projected front of a rotation pitcher. We didn’t think there would be any more of those available around there. We were hoping he would get to us but we weren’t sure. So there’s a lot of upside there, which is very appealing. He’s advanced, as far as his mechanics. With his dad’s experience in the major leagues, his mechanics are very good. So there are no major changes to make, just adjustments. And we think he has a chance to move very fast through our system. The fact that he was signable, it helped. But it was probably the third (factor). It was another reason to take him, but it wasn’t the main one.”
What can you tell us about Josh Hart (Georgia high school OF, pick No 37) and Chance Sisco (California high school C, pick No, 61)?
“Hart, he was also on our list of five to seven guys that we would have taken with our first pick had Harvey not been there. So obviously we are thrilled. We had both of those guys high on our boards. And to get both of them with our first two picks, we are really ecstatic about it. (Hart) is a dynamic player; he is a middle of the field player. He has a really good chance to stay in center field. He has five tools now, presently, so you don’t have to project. It’s just a matter of time and playing that he gets bigger and stronger and is ready to go.
“And Chance Sisco, he just started catching this year. But he is a hitter that also catches. We like his bat a lot. We think he is going to have power. And he just started catching and is a natural back there. He is very flexible. Something to work with. He has got a chance to learn and be a real good catcher. He has a chance to be a front-line catcher. So we’re thrilled in that we’ve got three physical kids with upside.”
How quickly could Hunter Harvey sign and start playing and where might he start?
“Well, he’ll probably start at our Gulf Coast League, all our pitchers and players will go there. How long he stays there is a matter of where he is at (pitching-wise). But when he starts pitching, (it’s about) how he does in that? How he performs at that level? But we think he can move fast. I think the average time is a little less than three years for a high school right-hander to get to the big leagues and we don’t see any reason he couldn’t be on that kind of schedule.”