The Orioles went heavy on pitching in this season’s first-year player draft, selecting arms with 27 of their 41 picks. The organization placed an emphasis on college arms, selecting 20 college pitchers in the draft, including each of their first three selections on Day 1.
“I think we’re pretty happy with the draft overall,” Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich said. “… Of course, we’re always focused on pitching when we can get it and the fact that we took a lot of pitchers, we were focused on getting pitchers, but at the same time we were focused on some position players. It just seemed like when we got into the meat of the draft in the middle rounds, the pitchers went over the position players. … When you get into a patch of players you like, it just kind of happens. It’s however the draft presents itself really.
“I think overall we got a pretty good value for our money,” Rajsich added. The money that we had to spend and the slots where our picks were, I think we got value for our picks for the money we had. That’s a very important factor for us.”
The Orioles used their first three picks on college pitchers, taking Illinois right-hander Cody Sedlock in the first-round (27th overall), then taking Western Michigan left-hander Keegan Akin and John A. Logan College (Ill.) right-hander Matthias Dietz with their next two picks.
“Hopefully some of these pitchers get into our system and move quickly,” Rajsich said, referring to the club’s top picks.
Sedlock, Akin and Dietz would all start their careers at short-season Class-A Aberdeen.
The Orioles took pitchers with 11 straight picks from rounds 8 through 18, which Rajsich said wasn’t necessarily by design.
“It was deep in college pitching this year and that’s what the draft presented with the picks there,” Rajsich said. “Say you get into the 16th round and there’s a position player you like and all of a sudden he’s gone to another team. Maybe the next player is a pitcher. We really can’t control what happens. We are trying to take the best player and if it’s a pitchers, that’s what happen.”
The Orioles took Archbishop Spalding right-hander Tyler Blohm in the 17th round. Rajsich said Blohm likely will attend the University of Maryland rather than turn pro.
“At this time, his advisors are recommending he go to school,” Rajsih said. “I took him there, which is a little early, but I wanted to recognize the fact that he is a prospect and he is a local kid and if changes his mind about playing professionally at this time, I wanted him to play for us and not somebody else.”
The Orioles also took left-hander Brandon Bonilla – the son of former Orioles outfielder Bobby Bonilla – in the 13th round out of Hawaii Pacific University. The Orioles selected him two years ago, but were unable to sign him.
“He’s an electric left-handed arm in the bullpen who throws mid to upper 90s,” Rajsich said. “We had interest in him two years ago and he wasn’t quite ready to go out for whatever reasons and now he’s a senior so there’s not many more school options for him left, so we wanted to revisit him and see if we could sign him.”