In the two previous posts we have explored what would happen if Bryce Harper fell to the Orioles as well as what would happen if he does not. Of course, we should keep in mind how early it is in the evaluation process for the 2010 draft, so much can change. Today, we'll be looking at the pick that follows for the Orioles. Due to the Mike Gonzalez signing, the Orioles second selection will be the 85th overall selection, which we will refer to as 3:3 (round:selection in round).
In the past few years, Joe Jordan has shown as desire to pick up raw, toolsy players in the second and third rounds. I would put LJ Hoes, Xavier Avery, and Mychal Givens in this classification. These were high school players with high upside and were generally thought to go a round or two later. Jordan appears to trust his method of evaluation more so than the consensus as represented by periodicals like Baseball America who gather their information by talking to scouts and front office types. Jordan has also shown an interest in JuCos and College players who have significant upside, particularly pitchers. An example of this would be the selection of Jake Arrieta. It is often hard to forecast who these free fallers might be, but I will give it a try.
After the jump, a list of four prospects whom the Orioles might take an interest in.
Russell Wilson, 2B, Junior, NC State
After all of that, I am mentioning a player who does not fit either of the two characteristics mentioned above (toolsy prep position player or underrated college pitcher). What Wilson offers is a strong athletic body and great footwork. His focus on football as NC State's starting QB has certainly taken him away from the diamond and prevented him from honing his skills. Wilson has decided this season to not take part in Spring football practice and instead dedicate that time to baseball. My guess is that there will be many questions lingering when the draft arrives as to what Wilson can become and few would be interested in offering the top end second round money I think he will be asking for. If the Orioles are sold on the ceiling of his bat, they may be willing to offer him 800k. So much depends on his performance this spring that it is really difficult figuring out where he could go.
Sammy Solis, LHP, Sophomore, San Diego
Solis is a type of pitcher who may fall on draft day. His freshman year (2008) he was unable to establish himself as a starter on a staff that was led by current Oriole Brian Matusz. In 2009, he led off the season with a solid outing, got hit hard in his second outing, came down with a season ending injury, and received a medical redshirt. He comes into 2010 again as a sophomore and eligible for the draft. With the injury last season, he will need to show that his back in sound and that he is capable of putting up the numbers people expect from him. That doubt might cost him with where he is selected. Added to that, since he is a sophomore, if he is not offered the kind of money he wants to see . . . he can easily go back into the draft in 2011 and still have similar leverage as a Junior. My guess is that it will cost about 1.5MM to get him to sign. He really could go anywhere between the supplemental round to the tenth round like Sam Dyson did after he was unable to show command in his off speed pitches.
Dominic Ficociello, 3B, Fullerton HS, CA
Ficociello is a switch hitter who has split much of his time between baseball and football. The lack of dedication to one sport has probably cost him some developmental time in baseball, but based on his Summer showcase . . . Ficociello may be turning some heads this spring. He is raw and seems capable of plus power at short or above average power at third base. His 6'2, 160lbs frame has more projection in it. He is committed at this moment to Arkansas. Depending on his summer, I could see him signing around slot here. A good spring might raise him to being a second round overslot prospect.
DeAndre Smelter, RHP, Tattnal County HS, GA
Smelter does not seem to have much projection left, but he has a low 90s plus sinking fastball and a plus potential slider. If he can develop a suitable third offering, he could make it as a starter. Though he might profile best in the bullpen. My guess is that it will take supplemental first round money to sign him. Such a price made Zach Von Rosenburg fall last year and it might make DeAndre Smelter fall this year. A year at a JuCo with a better staff might help him refine his mechanics. I think he signs for about 1.2MM. Like the other numbers, watch these predictions become incredibly wrong come August.