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Orioles shift focus away from pitching on third day to wrap 2018 draft

After using eight of their first 10 picks on pitchers in the first two days of the major league baseball draft, the Orioles began the third and final day with a run on college position players to balance their haul out a bit.

Their first of 30 picks Wednesday — North Carolina catcher Cody Roberts — was one of four straight college hitters they selected. The club’s third-day haul made it more of an even split of talent coming in.

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Out of 40 overall selections, 21 were pitchers, with 13 of those coming from the college ranks.

Four players selected were ranked in the MLB.com Top 200, and 12 were ranked in the Top 500 by Baseball America, including five third-day picks: Roberts (No. 274), 12th-round shortstop Clay Fisher (No. 339), 16th-round right-hander Parker McFadden (No. 443), 20th-round right-hander Caleb Kilian (No. 299) and 35th-round right-hander Conor Grammes (No. 388).

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With their 38th-round pick, the Orioles took a major signability lottery ticket in Florida prep right-hander Slade Cecconi, who was rated the No. 79 prospect in the draft by Baseball America. A Miami commit, Cecconi was said to have the potential to be one of the top high school pitchers in the draft before an erratic spring led teams to back off. He’ll likely carry the bonus demands of a high pick and can return to the draft in two years as a draft-eligible sophomore, but the Orioles took a chance for his negotiating rights.

Florida players including Nick Horvath (26) celebrate after defeating LSU in Game 2 to win the NCAA College World Series on June 27 in Omaha, Neb. The Orioles selected Horvath in the 25th round.
Florida players including Nick Horvath (26) celebrate after defeating LSU in Game 2 to win the NCAA College World Series on June 27 in Omaha, Neb. The Orioles selected Horvath in the 25th round. (Nati Harnik / AP)

They have a total bonus pool of $8,754,400 for the first 10 rounds, with any picks made after the 10th round capped at $125,000 before counting against that figure. A penalty is paid on any overage. Bonus slots are lost if any of the top 10 picks are not signed, and players must be signed by July 6.

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles’ top selection overall, has an assigned bonus slot value of $4,375,100.

The Orioles selected two players with local ties Wednesday — Colonel Richardson right-hander Jake Zebron, a North Carolina State commit from Caroline County, selected in the 18th round, and left-hander Jayvien Sandridge, a Hagerstown native from Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy, in the 32nd round. Sandridge is committed to Central Florida, and was believed to be the seventh and final player with Maryland roots selected over the three-day draft.

Other local players selected Wednesday include George Washington right-hander and Winters Mills alumnus Isaiah Pasteur (13th round, New York Yankees), George Mason right-hander and Allegheny alumnus Bryce Nightengale (16th round, Oakland Athletics, and Maryland outfielder and Archbishop Curley alumnus Marty Costes (22nd round, Houston Astros).

Navy right-hander Noah Song, one of the area's top prospects, was not drafted. He faces a five-year military commitment. After Song was not selected in the first few rounds, his adviser informed teams he wouldn’t sign if drafted.

Orioles draft picks (Round, Name, Position, School)

1. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (Texas)

CBA. Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State

3. Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas

4. Drew Rom, LHP, Highlands HS (Ky.)

5. Robert Neustrom, RF, Iowa

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6. Yeankarlos Lleras, RHP, Leadership Christian Academy (Puerto Rico)

7. JJ Montgomery, RHP, Central Florida

8. Ryan Conroy, RHP, Elon

9. Kevin Magee, LHP, St. John’s

10. Dallas Litscher, RHP, St. Katherine College

11. Cody Roberts, C, North Carolina

12. Clay Fisher, SS, UC-Santa Barbara

13. Andrew Fregia, 3B, Sam Houston State

14. Doran Turchin, OF, Illinois

15. Cody Hacker, LHP, Wentzville Holt HS (Mo.)

16. Parker McFadden, RHP, Washington State

17. Trevor Putzig, 3B, Tennessee Tech

18. Jake Zebron, RHP, Colonel Richardson

19. Andrew Jayne, CF, Terry Sanford HS (N.C.)

20. Caleb Kilian, RHP, Texas Tech

21. Nick Meservey, LHP, Seattle

22. Garrett Martin, OF-3B, Standley Lake HS (Colo.)

23. Bradley Brehmer, RHP, Decatur Central HS (Ind.)

24. Herbert Iser, C, San Jacinto College North

25. Nick Horvath, OF-LHP, Florida

26. Ian Evans, 1B, Grand Canyon

27. Jason Montville, LHP, St. Katherine College

28. Trey Whitley, CF, North Johnston HS (N.C.)

29. Jared Denning, C, Solano JC

30. Tyler Joyner, RHP, North Alabama

31. John Ham, SS, Tennessee Tech

32. Jayvien Sandridge, LHP, Mercersburg Academy (Pa.)

33. Zach McLeod, SS, Colorado Mesa

34. Trey Truitt, CF, Mercer

35. Conor Grammes, RHP, Xavier

36. Matt Beaird, C, Coastal Carolina

37. Andrew Ciolli, RHP, Mercyhurst

38. Slade Cecconi, Trinity Prep (Fla.)

39. Ted Stuka, RHP, UC-San Diego

40. Sam Grace, RHP, Francis Howell North HS (Mo.)

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