06/04/10 12:30 PM ET
Draft Preview: Orioles relish their position
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
With the third overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, the Orioles could turn back to pitching and add another young, talented arm. Beyond projected top pick Bryce Harper, this year's Draft is short on impact bats. But director of scouting Joe Jordan didn't rule out that possibility. The O's made current catcher Matt Wieters their first-round choice in 2007.
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, June 7, beginning with the Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.
Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.
Here's a glance at what the Baltimore Orioles have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Orioles are in a great position and will likely take whoever falls to them among a group of Harper, right-hander Jameson Taillon and shortstop Manny Machado.
"You never know what's going to be available -- you have to be ready for all scenarios, and we are. It's been tempting at times to go see a third-, fourth-, fifth-round guy, but we continue to scout the high guys. [And] one of them is going to be our first-round pick." -- Jordan
Most Draft pundits have the Pittsburgh Pirates choosing between Taillon and Machado at the second pick, with the Orioles taking whichever player is left. The O's are believed to prefer Taillon, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound pitcher considered the best high school arm in this year's Draft.
The Orioles have a good number of young pitchers in the high Minors who can confidently be predicted to reach the Major League level. But the organization had struggled to produce any impact bats, a fact evidenced by the O's current offensive woes. There are also particularly thin in middle infielders.
The Orioles are looking for athletic baseball players, guys who have the right tools and makeup to help the organization in several different roles. Early in the Draft, they will take the best player/pitcher available, but historically, they haven't been afraid to sign guys out of slot.
Recent Draft History
Jake Arrieta, the organization's fifth-round pick in 2007, is dominating hitters at Triple-A and making a case to join the big league rotation. Arrieta is 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 starts and is holding International League hitters to a .183 batting average.
Hernandez was a 16th-round pick in 2005 and after moving out of the starting rotation at the end of May, the 25-year-old has found early success out of the bullpen. He tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two relief outings this season and will likely be slotted in the game's later innings going forward.
In The Show
Matusz and Wieters both made their Major League debuts last year, and Arrieta isn't far behind. Bergesen, Hernandez and Berken are all arms that were drafted and progressed to help the big league club, a trend that is becoming more regularity than anomaly. The young O's had seven players make their first Opening Day roster this year.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.