Orioles Conclude MLB Draft with Some Intrigue and Risk

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - MAY 15: Carter Young #9 of the Vanderbilt Commodores turns a double play during game 2 of the series against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum-Walker Stadium at George Cole Field on May 15, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Commodores 11-6. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - MAY 15: Carter Young #9 of the Vanderbilt Commodores turns a double play during game 2 of the series against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum-Walker Stadium at George Cole Field on May 15, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Commodores 11-6. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Orioles draft ten players on Day Three.

The 2022 MLB Draft ended Tuesday with rounds eleven to twenty, and the Baltimore Orioles made ten picks.  Unlike Day One and Day Two, where teams have more or fewer picks due to compensation, every team had one pick for each round.  As the team who finished with the worst record last season, the O’s picked first at the beginning of each round, not that picking sooner in the late rounds makes a significant different.

The reviews are in, and fans in Birdland should feel good about the Orioles’ draft class.  MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis gave them the third-best haul of any team.  Over at FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen did not give out grades after the first day, but he seems to think the picks fit with what the Orioles have done in recent years.

As far as Day Three goes, the front office drafted one high schooler and nine college players, only one of whom is a senior.  Similar to Day Two, the picks are also pitcher-heavy, with seven of the ten players listed as pitchers.  After drafting back-to-back outfielders on Day One, only one late rounder roams the grass.  Two players show up in Pipeline’s Top 250 prospects, and they will both be tough to sign.

Let’s meet the players who will be filling out the lower-level rosters.  Hopefully someone here becomes a prospect of note in the coming years.

Zack Showalter, Pitcher, Wesley Chapel High School (FL)

He is not related to Buck Showalter, which is a bummer.  But the good thing, more importantly, is that he can throw a fastball in the mid-90’s.  He is committed to South Florida, but I seriously doubt the Orioles would have used their first pick of the day on a high schooler they don’t think they can sign.  He had a 0.78 ERA this spring with both high strikeout and walk rates.

Bradley Brehmer, Pitcher, Indiana

Brehmer is the lone senior sign on the day, so he will likely sign for less than the late-round maximum without affecting the bonus pool.  Brehmer pitched to a 5.30 ERA with high strikeout and walk rates (common late in the draft) in his one year with the Hoosiers after transferring from Wright State.

Jared Beck, Pitcher, Saint Leo

Unlike most late rounders, Beck drew some headlines for a very specific reason: he is seven feet tall.  If you think that is unusual, it is.  If the Division Two player beats the long odds and reaches the Majors, he would be the tallest player ever.  I’m sure we will star hearing Mark Hendrickson comparisons soon.  He also has the obligatory high strikeout and walk rates, and you’ll be shocked to learn he played basketball in high school.

Adam Retzbach, Catcher, Lehigh

The only catcher selected on the day, Retzbach has a smooth right-handed swing, and an accurate arm to throw out base stealers.  He also plays first base and left field, but the coaching staff will give him the chance to catch.  He had a nice slash line this year of .294/.397/.560, and he has been playing summer ball, as well.

James Hicks Jr., Pitcher, South Carolina

Hicks only played in two games this year before requiring Tommy John surgery.  He also transferred from tiny Crowder College, so he has clear late-bloomer traits.  Hicks would greatly benefit from rehabbing under professional doctors and development, even though SEC schools have their own capable apparatuses.

Graham Firoved, Pitcher, Virginia Tech

Firoved has pitched for three different schools, transferring from Northwest Florida State to Radford to national seed Virginia Tech.  He had a perfect 9-0 record in college but only a 4.76 ERA this year.  He was the only Baltimore draftee born in the 20th Century.  Do you feel old yet?

Carter Young, Shortstop, Vanderbilt

By far the most recognizable name on the list, Carter Young was a potential first-rounder entering the year before falling off a cliff.  He hit a paltry .207 with lots of strikeouts, but he is also appealing as a switch hitter who plays good defense and runs well.  There is a good chance he goes back to school to raise his stock and get drafted much higher in 2023.  This is the first time Mike Elias has drafted someone who might not sign, but there is real upside at the risk of a 17th-round pick.

Andrew Walters, Pitcher, Miami

Make that two consecutive picks where the front office swings for the fences on a legitimate prospect who might not sign.  Andrew Walters has a well above-average fastball in the high-90’s, but he throws it over 90% of the time, an unsustainable number.  Batters swing through it over 40% of the time, which is absurd for a fastball.  He can also go back to college to raise his stock for next year’s draft, but the Orioles might convince him to sign as a fast-moving reliever.  He had a 1.65 ERA this year with 14 saves.

Alden Mathes, Outfielder, Richmond

Mathes has also played second base and pitched, but he will cover centerfield in his pro debut.  2022 was his best season, as he torched A-10 competition to the tune of a .344/.398/.567 slash line.

Reese Sharp, Pitcher, Indiana

In the final round, the Orioles doubled up on Indiana arms, as Sharp came out of the bullpen this year.  He had an ugly 6.42 ERA and then a poor showing in the Cape Cod league, but clearly the team thinks they can unlock something in Sharp’s arsenal and/or delivery.

Bonus note for the many Maryland fans in Birdland, three Terrapins were drafted on Day Three.  The Royals took pitcher Ryan Ramsey, who threw a perfect game this year, in the 13th round.  The Phillies drafted outfielder Troy Schreffler Jr. in the 15th round.  Then the Dodgers drafted Chris Alleyne in the 19th round.  A fifth-year senior, Alleyne set a school record for home runs in a season and was named conference player of the year.  Good luck to the three of them!