Hoes takes tour of familiar territory
Third-round Draft pick, who has signed, is a lifelong O's fan
BALTIMORE -- It's customary for a team to bring in its high Draft picks for a tour of the ballpark and a meet and greet with the players, but the Orioles' third-round pick, L.J. Hoes, needed no such tour. A lifelong Orioles fan, Hoes was quite familiar with his surroundings -- although he was viewing them from a whole new perspective Saturday.
Hoes, one of 20 Draft picks the Orioles have signed, is the highest drafted player to agree to terms with the organization.
An Orioles season-ticket holder since he was a Little Leaguer, Hoes was committed to the University of North Carolina before the Orioles tabbed him with the 81st overall pick, making his decision to turn pro that much easier.
"It would have mattered if it was another team, especially in the slot I was selected," Hoes said. "Just being selected by the Orioles made it a lot easier. North Carolina's a great school ... and it'd be a great education, but just to be drafted by the Orioles was a great experience for me because I'm a hometown kid. I grew up watching the Orioles, grew up a big fan. Being drafted was a dream come true."
And although he was already familiar with the confines of Camden Yards, Hoes was given an extra glimpse into life as a Major Leaguer on a tour of the clubhouse and was personally introduced to the Orioles' players Saturday.
Hoes, an outfielder in high school, was drafted by the Orioles as a second baseman and will begin working on his new position on Monday, when he arrives in the Gulf Coast League. Despite the position change, Hoes said he is comfortable in the infield, having had some experience there, and is looking forward to the challenge.
"It's something the area scout who really saw me a lot said -- he liked me playing second base, and he thought I could be a potential middle infielder as I grew older," Hoes said. "It's just something I'll need to adjust to.
"I grew up playing infield, so it's not going to be that big of an adjustment. I figure that if I work hard and take the right approach to the game every day, that it wont be a big adjustment to play second base."
Hoes, who is believed to have received a $500,000 signing bonus that he said he invested, was hoping to talk to Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts and get some advice from the seasoned professional.
"I'm going to try to talk to him just to see what it takes just to get here," Hoes said. "Brian Roberts is an excellent ballplayer, and just watching him play, I like his game. I'm just going to talk to him and see what it took for him to get here."
Hoes notoriously carried a big bat in high school, where in his junior season, he had a .524 batting average and stole 32 bases. He will likely make his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League in the next few weeks.
Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.