Chicago — The Orioles concluded this year's major league draft with 30 picks on the final day, and used one of them to create a special moment in the visiting batting cage below Guaranteed Rate Field.
Tyler Coolbaugh, a switch-hitting infielder from Angelo State, was in the batting cage with his father, Orioles hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, when the team picked him as its 36th-round pick Wednesday.
While his dad was working with the major league players in preparation for the game, Tyler Coolbaugh was watching the draft scroll across his screen when his name popped up.
"Very exciting, especially here with my dad," Tyler said. "Getting to celebrate like that is a dream come true. … I was just hoping somebody was going to give me an opportunity, and I'm really glad it was the Baltimore Orioles."
Tyler Coolbaugh, 23, spent two seasons at Oklahoma before transferring to Angelo State, where he hit .374/.468/.566 with 24 extra-base hits in 53 games.
"It's a proud moment for me, because I know how hard he's worked from high school, going to college and having to transfer to get some more playing time to show what he can do," his father said. "Having this opportunity is something he's always dreamed about. It's his opportunity to do something now. His foot is in the door, to go out there and show people what he can do."
The elder Coolbaugh gave a scouting report on his son as follows: "He's a middle infielder that plays all the positions, really. He's kind of a utility guy. His best position is second base. Switch-hitter, he led the team in hitting in college, [in] extra-base hits, had twice as many walks as strikeouts this past year. He's played at a high level as far as the College World Series last year; they went to the regional tournament this year.
"He's been around the guys, he understands what it takes to play on an everyday basis. You've got to go out there and you've got to prove that. It's something that I'm proud of, because from day one, that's what he's always wanted."
The Orioles have in the past drafted bench coach John Russell's son, Steel, and director of player development Brian Graham's son, Jack. Manager Buck Showalter said it was a special moment to be around for.
"First of all, he earned it," Showalter said. "He would have been drafted by somebody. I'm glad it was us. He can play three or four infield positions, a switch-hitter. Really good kid who understands the game. He's going to be fun to have on somebody's club. …
"He's excited and that's a pretty cool moment, I'm sure for his mother, too. … I know Scott came in and he was trying to low-key it, but you could tell on his face he was pretty excited about it. It's a deserved thing. You can see by his stats, he's a good little player."
The Coolbaugh selection came near the end of a marathon day, with the Orioles making 30 selections to round out their draft class. All draft picks must be signed by July 15.