xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Orioles agree to terms with first-round pick Grayson Rodriguez

The Orioles have agreed to terms with their first-round draft pick, Texas high school right-hander Grayson Rodriguez. It’s a deal with a $4.3 million signing bonus that was just below what is slotted for the No. 11 overall selection, Orioles scouting director Gary Rajisch confirmed Saturday morning.

The bonus slot for Rodriguez’s pick at 11 was $4.3751 million.

Advertisement

Rodriguez will report to the team’s spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla., to begin his first professional workouts and will likely join the Orioles’ Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, which starts play this month.

Referred to as the top “pop-up” prospect in the draft, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Rodriguez made dramatic strides over the past year, adding 20 pounds of muscle to his frame the offseason before his senior season. His fastball velocity climbed from the low 90s in summer showcases to 97-98 mph during his senior season. He finished his senior season as the top draft prospect in baseball-rich Texas.

Who are Orioles 2018 draft picks Grayson Rodriguez and Cadyn Grenier, plus what they're saying about the newest additions to the organization.

The Orioles’ next two top picks — Oregon State shortstop Cadyn Grenier and Arkansas right-hander Blaine Knight — are still playing in the NCAA playoffs, so they can’t be signed yet, but the club is confident both will agree to terms quickly.

After selecting Rodriguez on Monday, Rajsich said the high school pitcher was the Orioles’ consensus top target.

“We love him and we were just thrilled he was there for us at pick 11,” Rajsich said. “The first thing you notice is that he’s got a big, strong, durable body and he’s an advanced high school pitcher that is a unique combination of power and polish. That attracts you right away. … He’s got a good advanced delivery that he can repeat. His arm action is nice and clean and the ball comes out of his hand very well. He’s got advanced command of four pitches and he just pounds the strike zone.”

While the Orioles’ selection of Rodriguez has drawn some skepticism, especially after other pitchers projected to go in the top 10 — Florida right-hander Brady Singer, Arizona high school left-hander Matthew Liberatore and California high school right-hander Cole Winn — were available at their pick, ESPN analyst Keith Law supported the Orioles’ selection of Rodriguez and competitive balance pick Grenier at No. 37 overall.

“I vehemently disagree with any claim that Grayson or Grenier were reaches,” Law said. “Rodriguez wasn't too dissimilar to Carter Stewart, who went eighth, just less famous (Stewart was a star last summer/fall, Rodriguez emerged this spring) and with less command right now. Grenier was a fringe first-rounder out of high school, a legit shortstop, and makes plenty of hard contact. I was surprised he was even there at their second pick, given the paucity of shortstops in this class.”

Law said the Orioles’ draft was impressive overall.

“Knight was great value in the third, and [Elon right-hander Ryan] Conroy kid in the eighth is kind of interesting for that late a pick. Overall I thought they did pretty well. Not sure how anyone would disagree, unless maybe they lacked the history with Grenier going back to high school.”

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement