For the past seven seasons, Joe Jordan has served the Orioles as the Amateur Scouting Director. At this current moment the Orioles have only a few homegrown players on the current 25-man roster. Jordan was in charge of player development through the minor leagues and most importantly was the man making the calls on draft day.
During the last 14 seasons the Orioles results have been monotonous. They have finished below .500 each and every year. When Andy Macphail took the helm four years ago there was much reason for optimism. His new rebuilding philosophy of growing the arms and buying the bats had most fans believing that the end result would culminate into success. As we found out four years later, most of the pitching prospects are unproven and the Orioles farm system is now depleted of all but a few good prospects.
That brings me to Joe Jordan. It’s hard to fathom that a team could not attain 81 wins for over a decade. Jordan has surprisingly been under the radar as far as blame for the Orioles catastrophe. Here is why Joe Jordan is an integral reason for the major setback.
In the first round of the 2005 first year player draft Jordan selected high school catcher Brandon Snyder. To his defense, Jordan was highly interested in 2 outfielders in Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce and they were drafted at the slots above the Orioles. Snyder never made it full time with the Orioles and at best seemed like he would be a backup corner infielder.
Who Could They have Instead? Chris Volstad SP(Marlins), Jacoby Ellsbury CF(Red Sox )
2006 is the year which I regard as the classic reason why the Orioles are what they are today. The Orioles held the 9th overall selection in the draft and when on the clock Jordan and his colleagues selected high school 3rd baseman Billy Rowell. Rowell was described as a very raw but intriguing talent. He had a solid arm and maintained good defensive skills and his bat contained alot of pop. To say the least in 2012 Rowell is a complete bust. A total disaster. Rowell has struggled in every facet of the game. He could not keep his job at 3rd base and struggled mightily at the plate. It took Rowell 5 years to get past single A. Now in double A, Rowell is playing the outfield and still seems as though he will never figure it out.
Okay Fine, so he’s a bust no big deal right? Dead wrong. What makes the Rowell pick even worse is the player who was drafted directly after him. With the 10th pick in the 2006 MLB draft the Giants settled by drafting a 5’11 right handed pitcher with a quirky delivery out of the University of Washington. His name is Tim Lincecum. Thats a killer, just no way to feel good about it. The Orioles gave a future complete Ace and Cy Young award winner to a guy who can’t hit or field.
Who Could They have Instead? Tim Lincecum SP (SF Giants), Max Scherzer SP(*Arizona D-backs) Ian Kennedy SP (*New York Yankees), Kyle Drabek SP/SS(*Philadelphia Philles)
2006 is a year that will continue to haunt the Orioles for a while. In the 2nd round they took Ryan Adams a 3rd baseman out of Jesuit high school over pitchers Trevor Cahill and Justin Masterson, and outfielder Jon Jay.
It seemed as though Joe Jordan never had a stable draft philosophy. He seemed to alternate from drafting for needy positions to drafting the best player available to drafting the player who won’t demand alot of money.
After 2006 Jordan seemed to want to take the college route in drafting. In 2007 and 2008 the Orioles drafted catcher Matt Wieters and starting pitcher Brian Matusz, both the best players available and played in college. Both flew threw the minor leagues and dominated at each level. Though the first round picks were strong, the later round picks have yet to produce much talent.
From seeing the success of Wieters and Matusz it seemed logical that the Orioles would continue to draft the best player available. My final argument describing my dislike for Joe Jordan came in 2009. The Orioles had the 5th selection in the draft and when on the clock seemed like they would take the BPA in Zack Wheeler. Wheeler possesses a delivery that can be compared to Tim Lincecums and personally thought the Orioles had a chance to redeem themselves by not drafting Lincecum 4 years earlier, but that was not the case…
The Orioles drafted Matt Hobgood. Who? What? Matt Hobgood? Yes, Matt Hobgood. In most draft analysts boards he was projected to be picked in the middle of the first round, but Jordan took him at number 5. Hobgood reminded me of Joba Chamberlain who at his best was a shutdown 8th inning guy. You dont draft those guys at number 5 overall. Since he signed Hobgood has posted an ERA over 5 and has yet to make it to High A ball. He has had constant injuries and his 98 MPH fastball has dropped in velocity. Hobgood will be out for the entire 2012 season.
This was the end of the road for me with Jordan. How can the average fan not recognize the disastrous farm system this man was providing us? The Orioles best farm years were when they had Matusz, Wieters, Tillman, Arrietta, Bergesen and Britton down there. Once they made it to the big leagues we had no one else.
As for Jordan’s last draft with the Orioles, he took Vanderbilt 3rd baseman Jason Esposito in the 2nd round. A pick of need for a guy that can’t hit. The only young hope the Orioles have is Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy, both should take time to develop.
To me Jordan is a MAIN reason why the Orioles are what they are today. When we had a decent lineup or pitching staff we could never have the pleasure of bringing decent talent up from the minor leagues. He could not draft in the 1st round and definitely not any round after. The saying goes “Don’t make the same mistake twice”, well Joe Jordan may just have been given the gift of drafting 2 Tim Lincecums, and passed on them both.
Good Luck in Philly Joe, we won’t Miss You!
*- Team player got drafted by
Follow on Twitter: @BK_Havinitmyway