With the Baltimore Orioles at their lowest draft pick since choosing DL Hall in 2017, there were more options available to them. They once again went with a position player, choosing outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr from Vanderbilt University with the 17th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.
Baltimore Orioles select Enrique Bradfield Jr in first round of 2023 MLB Draft
The selection of Bradfield makes him the third outfielder the Orioles have chosen in the past four years, with the team taking Heston Kjerstad in 2020 and Colton Cowser in 2021 before taking Jackson Holliday last season.
The best tool for Bradfield is his speed, getting an 80 grade from MLB Pipeline. His hit tool is 50 grade, power tool at 40 grade, arm at 40 grade, fielding at 70 grade, and is an overall 55 grade. His speed gives him the best chance to stick at center field long term because of his ability to get to the ball.
Bradfield won SEC freshman of the year in 2021 and is a contact hitter who relies on his speed to get on base. His arm grade is ranked rather low, but his speed makes up for it by being able to get to the ball faster than almost anyone. Bradfield excels at bunting for base hits and did hit 14 home runs over his last two seasons to show a little bit of power.
Of course, what makes the highlight reel with Bradfield is his stolen base ability. He stole 47 bases in his freshman year, 46 in his sophomore year, and 37 in 2023, while also stealing four bases in 11 games with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2022.
Over his three seasons at Vanderbilt, Bradfield has a career .311/.426/.447 slash line, hitting 15 home runs and driving in 108 runs with 130 career stolen bases in 191 college games. He has 31 doubles and has legged out 11 triples with his speed. He had a 90.9 percent success rate stealing bases.
MLB's player comp to Bradfield is Kenny Lofton thanks to his three gold gloves and his five seasons of leading the majors in stolen bases. He was ranked as the 21st best prospect in the draft. The pick has a slot value of $4,169,700, so the Orioles should be able to sign him at or below slot value.
Overall, there's nothing wrong with the Orioles choosing Bradfield at this pick. He'll likely start at Delmarva should the Orioles sign him, and he could be one of the next in line at center field eventually. He also has a connection in the Orioles system, that being Coby Mayo.
Welcome to the Orioles farm system Enrique! Best of luck climbing the ladder and we hope to see you in the majors with the Orioles in due time!