Off Day. More Draft News


Yesterday was a crap loss.  Tomorrow is the start of a Yankees series, the first that the Orioles have played in the new Yankee Stadium.  I’m planning to go to the game on Wednesday, as a sort-of post college year gift for myself.  We’ll be wearing our O’s gear and booing the diarrhea out of Tex and A-Roid.  I got StubHub tickets for $25 to sit in the terrace dugout section, which are pretty cheap for New York, and a new stadium.  While I was on StubHub, I was looking through Tuesday’s tickets, and one listing had a very high price.  

As for the Orioles, Nolan Reimold is looking good and swinging the bat well.  Koji Uehara had a solid outing yesterday, but the bullpen again totally stunk it up.  As of now, the rotation has gotten jumbled since opening day.  Right now the 5 starters are: Jeremy Guthrie, Koji Uehara, Adam Eaton, Brad Bergesen and Rich Hill.  It seems like Mark Hendrickson has been downgraded to a spot starter and long relief guy.  With Sarfate out until the break, the O’s need a guy who can go multiple innings.  The team should take John Lackey’s two pitch outing to heart, and always have an established guy who can throw 4 or 5 innings effectively.

In draft news, most mock drafts are having the Orioles taking either Grant Green, the five-tool shortstop out of USC, or Tanner Scheppers, the hard-throwing righthander who played for Fresno State last year, but after an injury and a 2nd round selection, chose not to sign.  He instead went to the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League, and is projected to go in the top 5 or 10.  Other names I have seen are Alex White, UNC right-handed starter and high school outfielder Donovan Tate, a great athlete with all five tools.  Think Carl Crawford with better power.  Baseball America compares him to Carlos Beltran.  The surprise pick so far that I have seen was in BA’s mock draft, with the O’s taking left-handed high school pitcher Tyler Matzek. Matzek is one of these high school lefties who have a great fastball and electric stuff.  Personally, I hate when teams draft guys like this.  In the words of Billy Beane, written by Michael Lewis in Moneyball, “scouts like high school pitchers because they have fresh arms.  Fresh arms don’t mean good pitchers.”

Most people say that 5 years is a fair assessment time for an MLB draft, give or take.  So, I looked in the 2004 and 2003 draft results in the first round, and only a few high-potential high school pitchers went on to be mildly successful.

  • Homer Bailey, RHP, 2004, Reds, #7 overall.  Bailey was a huge prospect, but has become nothing special and is now a bit of a 4-A player, the ultimate death for any highly touted prospect.
  • Scott Elbert, Dodgers, LHP, 2004, Dodgers, #17 overall. Elbert has been solid in the minors, and is now pitching OK in the pros.  Still too early to make a call on him.
  • Phil Hughes, RHP, 2004, Yankees, #23 overall. Hughes is also a 4-A type player, but has more potential and has had more success than Bailey.  We’ve seen him first hand, and his stuff, but he’s yet to put it all together.
  • John Danks, LHP, 2003, Rangers, #9 overall. Danks has gone onto a pretty successful few years with the Rangers and White Sox.  After Nick Markakis and Rickie Weeks, Danks has had the most success of any player in the top 10 of the 2003 draft.
  • Chad Billingsley, RHP, 2003, Dodgers, #24 overall. Billingsley has had the most success of anyone on this list, with a great 2008 season, enough to get Cy Young consideration.

So out of 12 high school pitchers taken, 5 of them have been fairly successful within 5 or 6 years.  I’m sorry for all the statistical evidence, but I wanted to make the point that taking high school pitchers is not smart that high in the draft.  Also, the Matzek pick wouldn’t make much sense for the organization.  The approach has been to take college pitchers or athletic high school position players.  That would mean that White, Scheppers, Green or Tate would be the picks who made sense.  We’ll definitely get a better idea of what the team will do as June approaches, because this could be the draft that either extends the streak of solid first round picks to 3 (based on early results) or halt the rise of talent in a rising system.  Can’t wait for Wednesday, and for the O’s to tee off of Sabathia tomorrow night.

WIETERS WATCH: DNP in yesterday’s game.  SEASON STATS: .280 AVG, 4 HR, 18 RBI, .376 OBP, .853 OPS