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What they're saying about the Orioles' draft picks

I'm sure a lot of Orioles fans know very little information about the team's draft picks, so it's a good idea to check the unlimited space of the Internet for some updates.

Below, I've compiled a roundup of coverage about the Orioles' draft picks.

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UPDATED: JUNE 11

• On his blog, Minor League Ball, John Sickels offers quick thoughts about the Orioles' draft class.

Baltimore: I don't have a problem with Hobgood at fifth overall. He's signable, and in my opinion the difference between him and the other elite prep arms isn't all that great. He might not be as projectable as some of them, being more physically mature, but I really like his arm and I don't think this is a huge overdraft. Mychal Givens in the second round adds another high-ceiling arm to the system, and if pitching doesn't work out you can try him as a hitter. Townsend out of Florida International in the third round is a solid college bat in the Jay Gibbons mode; not a star but a guy who should be able to contribute. Randy Henry in the fourth round and Ashur Tolliver in the fifth provide more live arms, Tolliver in particular being a good value in that round. 8th round pick OF Devin Harris (East Carolina), 9th round pick RHP Ryan Berry (Rice), and 10th round pick RHP Jacob Cowan (San Jacinto JC) all offer very good value for their draft slots. Harris has tons of tools, and both Berry and Cowan were considered possible second or third round picks if not for injury questions. This may not be a spectacular draft class, but I think it is solid.• According to the Naples (Fla.) Daily News, Orioles second-round pick Mychal Givens was the second runner-up in the Mr. Baseball voting for Florida.

Mychal Givens of Tampa Plant, the Class 5A Player-of-the-Year, finished third with 59 points followed by Jordan Carroll of Madison County (Class 3A) with 41 points, Jacob Johnson of Lake Worth Trinity Christian (Co-Class 1A) with 37 points, John Nogowski of Tallahassee North Florida Christian (Class 2A) with 34 points, and Josh Romeo of Brooksville Hernando Christian (Co-Class 1A) with 30 points.

• The Cape (Del.) Gazette's Dave Frederick spoke to the Orioles' third-round pick, Florida International first baseman Tyler Townsend, about the team's plans for this season.

Townsend acquired agent Gavin Kahn last fall, is already in negotiations with the Orioles and has every intention of signing with the club.

"They have already told me that I would be sent to Aberdeen [Md.] for what is called 'short season' and then be moved to the Shorebirds [in Salisbury] by the end of the summer, which is low A ball," said Townsend.

The slotted bonus signing money from last season for pick number 85 was $465,000.

• Nathan Summers of The Daily Reflector (N.C.) talked to Orioles eighth-round pick Devin Harris about his reaction to the announcement that he was drafted.

When the Baltimore Orioles called Devin Harris on Wednesday afternoon, the East Carolina right fielder already had plans to get out of Greenville, but maybe not permanently.

The O's were calling Harris to confirm they had selected him in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Instead of being flanked by family members when the news came, Harris was stuck in Greenville waiting for his brother to come pick him up. He was without a car after an accident a couple of weeks ago, but said he was anxious to get together with his loved ones in his hometown of Gastonia.

"I was excited," said Harris, who was selected with the 236th overall pick. "It's an honor. It's something that I'll be able to take with me for the rest of my life."

• For the second consecutive season, the Orioles drafted left-handed pitcher Jarret Martin. After failing to sign him last season, the team picked him in the 18th round of this year's draft. Martin hopes to agree to a contract with the Orioles, according to The Bakersfield Californian's Zach Ewing.

Another [Bakersfield College] freshman pitcher, Jarret Martin from Centennial High, was picked by the Baltimore Orioles in the 18th round -- one round higher than the Orioles took him last year. This year's selection was No. 536.

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Martin said he's lowered his price from last June and that though he couldn't pitch most of this year for BC because of inflammation in his elbow, he was hopeful of signing this time around -- especially considering the Orioles said they'd be willing to pay out of slot for him.

"They told me, 'We didn't draft you not to sign you,'" Martin said. "My dream is not to be drafted high; it's to be a Major League Baseball player."

The (La.) News Star's Krysten Oliphant spoke with the Orioles' 24th-round selection, Louisiana-Monroe pitcher Justin Anderson, and he said it's going to be a tough decision on whether or not to sign.

The junior ... pitcher has a choice to sign with Baltimore or return to the Warhawks for his senior season. The decision, he said, will not be easy.

"I just have to wait and see what the scouts say and all that," Anderson said. "I will definitely be weighing what my options are. I'll be kind of open to what (the Baltimore scouts) have to say then lay everything out and see which option is best for me. I really don't know right now."

If Anderson does sign with the Orioles, he said he'll probably play summer ball in Maryland before being sent to a farm team.

• Kevin Barrett of CanadaEast News Service reports that Canadian left-handed pitcher Jay Johnson, the Orioles' 25th-round selection, was delighted to be picked by the team.

Being selected by the Orioles was an added bonus.

"Baltimore is my dad's favorite team," Jay said of his father Bill. "When we were young, we were always watching them and Cal Ripken."

Jay, officially listed as a six-foot-two, 210-pound pitcher, is going to play with the Lethbridge Bulls of the Western Major Baseball League or in Rochester of the Northwoods league, a top collegiate loop where his brother Aaron will also play this summer.

The Cullman (Ala.) Times chronicles the rocky path that the Orioles' 26th-round pick, left-handed pitcher Blake Mechaw, has taken on the way to professional baseball.

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Mechaw signed with Wallace State out of high school, but the hard-throwing left-handed pitcher eventually left the program and transferred to rival Shelton State.

As a sophomore this season, Mechaw made 14 appearances for Shelton State -- which won the Alabama Community College Conference title and advanced to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.

The former West Point star pitched 38-1/3 innings, posting a 5.35 ERA. He finished with a 3-0 record with 35 strikeouts.

• The (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Press Democrat's Eric Branch reports that left-handed pitcher Matt Nadolski, who was selected by the Orioles in the 32nd round, expects to take some time before making a decision about whether to sign a contract.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Nadolski, the 956th overall selection, had a 6-2 record and a 2.38 ERA as a senior. He has also signed a full scholarship with San Diego State.

Nadolski said he is leaning towards going to college, but doesn't plan to make a firm decision until later this summer.

• The Orioles' 38th-round selection -- right-handed pitcher Josh Dowdy -- was one of a school-record four players picked in the 2009 MLB draft from Appalachian State.

In 20 appearances in 2009, Dowdy posted a 6-3 record and 5.07 earned run average over 76.1 innings, proving to be one of the staff's most reliable arms with seven mid-week relief appearances to go along with his normal spot in the weekend rotation. The right-hander held opposing hitters to a .288 average and struck out 68 batters while allowing just 19 walks.

Dowdy overcame a shaky start in '09 to go 14-straight appearances (including eight-consecutive starts) without a loss, a stretch that covered two months (March 15-May 15) and continued a trend of late-season success that spanned his two years at ASU. In 20 post-April 1 appearances during his two seasons with the Mountaineers, the East Carolina transfer was 9-2 with a 4.45 ERA.

In all, Dowdy struck out 123 and walked just 36 as a Mountaineer, good for a 3.4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

• Daniel Chanin of KOLO-TV in Reno, Nev., reports that the Orioles' 41st-round pick, right-handed pitcher Mason Magleby, is committed to playing football at Nevada in the fall.

Incoming freshman quarterback Mason Magleby was also taken in the draft. The Baltimore Orioles selected Magleby the former pitcher in the forty-first round. He too is committed to play football for now.

Coach Chris Ault weighed in on seeing two of his players drafted by Major League teams.

"It speaks to the athleticism of the quarterbacks we have. Those baseball guys will be able to watch our guys play football on ESPN."

• According to the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat's Norm Sanders, the father of Nolan Martz, who was selected by the Orioles in the 47th round, played in the major leagues.

McKendree pitcher Nolan Martz, a Roxana High graduate whose father, Randy Martz, pitched in the major leagues, was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 47th round with the 1,406th overall pick.

The Oregonian's Jeff Smith talks about left-handed pitcher Tim Berry, who the Orioles grabbed with their final pick in the 50th round.

Berry was the 1,496th overall pick out of 1,521 total selections in the draft. Berry is a 6-foot-2, 165-pound high school senior from San Marcos, Calif.

Berry pitched a 17-strikeout no-hitter in March, one week after he struck out 12 in a six-inning one-hitter. As a junior, he averaged 11.34 strikeouts per game.

• It's never too late to start projecting the fantasy baseball value of the 2009 draft class. The Hardball Times' Matt Hagen lists Orioles first-round pick Matt Hobgood at No. 10, and second-round selection Mychal Givens is ranked 36th.

10. SP Matt Hobgood -- Baltimore surprised many with their early selection of Hobgood, but Baltimore has had a great recent history with pitching prospects. Hobgood fits the mold.

• Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the Orioles plan to use Mike Flacco, who was picked in the 31st round, at multiple positions.

Mike Flacco, brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, will play all four corners once he signs -- first base, third base, left field and right field -- until the Orioles determine a position for him.

"I saw him in our workout here last Thursday," said Joe Jordan, director of scouting. "He's a big, good-looking kid, I guess like you'd think. He ran good, he threw good. He hit the ball out of the ballpark a few times. He's an athlete. I think professional instruction will be really good for this guy. He has physical ability. It's not the cleanest approach in the world and he works under the ball some, but you can help guys with that. But he's a good-looking kid. I'm anxious to see him play."

UPDATED: JUNE 10

The Tampa Tribune's Joey Johnston discusses the uncertainty surrounding the best position for Givens, who excels at pitcher and shortstop.

Even though Givens has more clarity about his future -- the Baltimore Orioles selected him in the second round (54th overall pick) on Tuesday night, a likely financial level that could sway him from his Oklahoma State University scholarship -- there's still considerable intrigue about his ultimate destination.

During baseball's first-year draft, Givens was announced as a right-handed pitcher. Later, during a summary of the Orioles' first-day picks, Givens was described as a shortstop in the team's news release.

Which will it be?

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• On that note, the St. Petersburg Times' Eduardo A. Encina reports that Givens' high school coach believes the young player would prefer to play the infield.

Heading into the draft, Givens said he had no preference, but Plant coach Dennis Braun said Givens preferred to play shortstop as a pro. And if that works out, one day Givens could be playing shortstop on the same infield at Camden Yards where one of the game's best shortstops, Cal Ripken, Jr., played.

The Orioles were happy to be able to grab Givens, who last summer was one of the nation's top high school prospects, in the second round.

"I don't think he slipped," Jordan said. "It was just one of those things where there was some inventory with high school shortstops.

• Sergio Bonilla of Florida International's student media group reports that Townsend plans to sign with the team and start his professional career.

Although he has not worked out a contract agreement, Townsend said he will not return to play for the Golden Panthers next season and will sign the minor league contract.

"I'm a 100 percent sure that I will sign with the Baltimore Orioles," Townsend said in a phone interview with Student Media on June 10.

Townsend first found out he was drafted around 10:30 p.m. when he saw it on his computer. Shortly after, he received a call from a Baltimore Orioles representative, who congratulated and welcomed him to the organization.

The Miami Herald's Manny Navarro and Pete Pelegrin talk about Townsend's favorite team in the major leagues, which just happens to be the one that drafted him.

Not having to sweat it out for a night, FIU junior first baseman/outfielder Tyler Townsend was selected Tuesday by the Orioles in the third round (85th overall).

''It hasn't hit me yet,'' Townsend said by phone from his hometown of Lewes, Del. ``I'm excited to get started. Everyone around here and all my family have always been Orioles fans.''

By being selected in the third round, Townsend became the third-highest draft pick in the 37-year history of FIU baseball.

• Florida International manager Turtle Thomas spoke highly of Townsend when he talked to the Sussex (Del.) Countian's Jeff Mitchell.

"Tyler's a no-maintenance kid who does everything you ask, the kind of kid who you'd want your daughter, if you had one, to marry," Thomas continued when asked what kind of talent the Orioles were getting. "He's a great left-handed bat who will hit his share of home runs and doubles and will get [them] some RBIs."

• According to the Tulsa World, 30 players from the state of Oklahoma were selected on the second day of the 2009 MLB draft. The Orioles grabbed two of the players.

Randy Henry, a right-handed pitcher from Arnett who played at Texas Tech and South Mountain (Ariz.) Community College, went in the fourth round (No. 114 overall) to the Baltimore Orioles. ...

Ashur Tolliver, a left-handed pitcher at Oklahoma City University, also was picked by the Orioles in the fifth round (146th). Tolliver went 10-1 with a 3.74 ERA for the Stars this season.

• Brad Senkiw of the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail provides information about the Orioles' sixth-round pick, South Carolina catcher Justin Dalles. It was the fourth time he has been drafted.

Catcher Justin Dalles was the first Gamecock on the 2009 roster drafted when he went in the sixth round to the Baltimore Orioles. Dalles, a junior college transfer, was drafted for the fourth time in his career and hit .347 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs this season.

• The Houston Chronicle's Joseph Duarte talks about Rice right-hander Ryan Berry, who was the ninth-round selection by the Orioles.

Junior right-hander Ryan Berry was taken one pick later by the Baltimore Orioles. Berry went 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA and four complete games.

The Bradenton (Fla.) Herald's Ryan T. Boyd reports on the Orioles' 11th-round selection, Florida high school catcher Michael Ohlman.

Michael Ohlman has no Baltimore Orioles gear. But he may soon be investing in some. The Orioles selected the Lakewood Ranch standout catcher in the 11th round (326th overall pick) of the Major League Baseball 2009 First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.

"It's a lifelong dream," said Ohlman, who's committed to play at the University of Miami next season. "I'm just happy that this process has come to an end. Now, I'm going to see what happens with the signing process and whether I go to college or go pro."

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Ohlman turned in a stellar senior season with the Mustangs. He had a whopping .550 batting average, three home runs, 28 RBIs and 23 stolen bases.

• The Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press' Tim Ethridge notes the Orioles selected 19th-round draft pick, Indiana's Kipp Schutz, for the second time.

The Baltimore Orioles took a second shot at Kipp Schutz on Wednesday, choosing the Indiana University redshirt sophomore in the 19th round of the June Draft.

The Orioles had taken Schutz in the 26th round after his senior year in high school at Harrison in 2006.

As of 2:45 p.m. (Wednesday), Schutz hadn't heard from the team. He said a good enough offer would convince him to start a pro career.

• Christopher Dabe of The Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise discusses the chances that Orioles 20th-round draft pick, Lamar right-hander Jonathan Brandhorst, will remain in college for his senior season.

Brandhorst, who has one year of college playing eligibility left, may choose to stay at LU for another season.

Brandhorst is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound San Antonio native with a fastball in the mid-90s. Scouts told Brandhorst he might be picked in the top 10 rounds instead of 20th, he said.

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Players with college eligibility left can opt to not sign a contract and play another year of college ball. Brandhorst said he does not know if he will sign a professional contract.

• Anderson was selected in the 24th round by the Orioles, and the school sent out a news release with some information about the pitcher.

Anderson, a native of Tempe, Ariz., joined the Warhawks this season following two years at Central Arizona Junior College. In his first season at ULM, he posted a 6-2 record with a 6.82 ERA. The 6-foot-4 southpaw allowed just three home runs in 68.2 innings on the season and struck out 40 batters.

He led all ULM pitchers with 10 Sun Belt Conference starts positing a 4-2 record and a team-low (among starters) 17 walks. Anderson's six-inning, one-run outing against Florida Atlantic on March 28 spurred a ULM run of nine wins in 11 games.

Anderson becomes the 65th ULM player selected in the MLB Draft since 1952 and the second in 2009 -- shortstop Ben Soignier was selected by the New York Yankees in the 22nd round.

• Kubatko talked to former Orioles center fielder Al Bumbry about his son, Steve Bumbry, who was drafted in the 12th round by the team.

"I'm very happy the way things turned out," said Al, a career .281 hitter in 14 seasons, the first 13 with the Orioles. "We were both anticipating that his name would get called sometime today, so I was on my way to be with him when he got the call. But it came before I got there.

"I was so happy that he was taken. I'm not surprised, but I'm happily and pleasantly surprised that he was taken by the Orioles. He called and told me, and he was pretty excited.

"Ever since he decided in his junior year at Dulaney High School that he wasn't going to play football or basketball anymore and was going to concentrate on baseball, it's always been his No. 1 desire. Fortunately, his work and the work that we've done together, and his time at Virginia Tech and playing on the summer league team with (Orioles scout) Dean Albany all paid off.

UPDATED: JUNE 9

With their first-round selection, the Orioles drafted Hobgood. The 18-year-old pitcher was recently honored as the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.

Honestly, with pitchers Aaron Crow, Zach Wheeler and Tyler Matzek still available, I'm a bit surprised that the Orioles selected Hobgood. Still, they seem to be very impressed with the young right-hander, and it will be interesting to see him develop over the next few years.

• Here is a link to Hobgood's high school statistics page on MaxPreps.com. He was 11-1 with a 0.92 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings as a senior. Hobgood also hit .475 with 21 home runs and 55 RBIs.

• I stumbled across this video from Baseball Beginnings, a Web site that tracks the top prospects in the country. It's a bullpen session that Hobgood took part in last week at Camden Yards, and this scouting report accompanied the video.

Here is video from Matt Hobgood's bullpen session last week at Camden Yards. The Orioles selected the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year with the fifth overall pick. Hobgood is a durable right-hander who should project as a front-end starter for a contending team. We covered Hobgood extensively this season. In Southern California, Hobgood's durability and competitive nature matched his fastball, which he can pitch with at 94 mph. I've seen him touch 95 and 96 mph and have a curveball with tight rotation. He's got the workings of a change that he has thrown with a splitter grip and a cutter.

• Also, Baseball Beginnings writer John Klima conducted a Q&A with Hobgood in March.

Matt Hobgood's junior season put him on the prospect map. He won a ton of newspaper awards and was named California's Junior of the Year by CalHiSports, joining a list with a big league linage. Hobgood joined fast-tracker Mike Moustakas and current major leaguers Delmon Young, James Shields, Gerald Laird, Jon Garland, Eric Chavez, Randy Wolf, Dmitri Young and the exiled Barry Bonds.

Hobgood, a 6-4, 250-pound right-hander, vowed not to live off one season alone. He trimmed 15 pounds off his frame and gave his body a look more like Giants right-hander Matt Cain and less like Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain. After shutting out Riverside Poly and holding outfielder Jake Marisnick hitless Tuesday, Baseball Beginnings caught up with Norco's horse for a Q&A.

• The Los Angeles Times' Eric Sondheimer talks about the Hobgood's excitement when he was notified that he would be selected by the Orioles.

One hour before the amateur draft Tuesday, Norco's Matt Hobgood said his advisor received a phone call from the Baltimore Orioles telling him that if Dustin Ackley of North Carolina was not available, they would pick Hobgood No. 5.

When Ackley went No. 2 to the Seattle Mariners, Hobgood let out loud applause. The Orioles did what they said they would do, going with Hobgood, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Gatorade national player of the year.

"I'm ecstatic," Hobgood said. "I don't know what to say. This is about all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I'm so happy they pulled the trigger."

"All I want to do is put on a uniform and be a baseball player," Givens said.

Givens started suiting up on the diamond at West Tampa Little League. He was always one of the most enthusiastic kids on the team and paid close attention to his coaches, said his mother, Monica Givens. As Givens began to thrive on the field, he started making a name for himself. And when he reached 9 years old, his mother was approached about her son joining a local AAU team.

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"And that's when things really got intense," said Monica Givens, referring to how baseball went from a seasonal sport to a year-round occurrence for her son.

• Before the draft, the St. Petersburg Times mentioned Givens' athletic ability.

Mychal Givens, P/SS, Plant: Area's top prep prospect is a natural talent with a 97 mph fastball, loads of athleticism.

• The St. Petersburg Times' Eduardo A. Encina recently wrote an article about Givens and diversity in baseball.

Baseball has taken Mychal Givens across the country, from national high school all-star games at Dodger Stadium and Wrigley Field to a spot on the U.S. junior national team. Last summer, Givens won the Jackie Robinson Award, given to the nation's top senior-to-be high school player.

But one thing he can't help notice, from his nationwide travels to his Plant High team, is dugouts aren't diverse.

Givens, a pitcher/shortstop, was Plant's only African-American.

Tyler Townsend was named to the Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America First Team, it was announced Thursday by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. He is the first Golden Panther to earn the recognition since Brad Eldred was named to the All-America team in 2002.

"That's a big time awards and well very deserved," said FIU head coach Turtle Thomas. "This award goes to show his hard work and dedication. The thing about Tyler is that he did everything right. He was a great student, a great player, and a great person. He is everything you could ever want out of a college baseball player."

Townsend had a record-setting year for FIU, hitting .426 with 24 home runs and 77 RBIs to go along with 182 total bases. The 77 RBIs and 182 total bases are a single-season records at FIU, while the .426 average and 77 RBIs are both second-best for a single season. Townsend also broke the career-RBI mark this year, as he has driven in 164 runs in his three seasons as a Golden Panther.

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