Back in June we ran our third shadow draft for the Orioles. Here is a short recap of the prospects we drafted, whether they signed, and if they are doing anything anywhere.
1:3 Karsten Whitson
We did not exactly believe in the money or perception that most think Manny Machado deserves, so we went with a cheaper option that profiles as top of the rotation ability. Great athleticism, fastball, and breaking ball . . . typically these are the things you look for in a prep pitcher. He was selected 9th overall by the Padres and should be an overslot signing near the deadline.
3:3 Josh Rutledge
Rutledge signed for around slot in the third round (295k) with the Rockies. He has not shown much in a hand full of at bats in short season ball. He has shown good defense and will most likely profile as MLB quality there. The question with him is whether he can get his contact rate high enough to balance out his issues with plate discipline and a probable lack of power.
4:3 Garin Cecchini
Drafted by the BoSox in the same round, Cecchini has yet to sign and will be a considerable overslot if he does so. He has a great projectable bat and should be solid at third base. His value has largely dropped because of a rotator cuff injury he suffered last year. I'm expecting seven figures will be needed to get him to forgo LSU and start his pro career. With the Sox, he has certainly found an organization that tends to do well developing prep bats.
5:3 Tyler Holt
We did not read this one right as he was taken 5 rounds later. However, we probably read it right in that he will be another overslot. Indians have yet to sign many of their players so far with the highest bonus coming in at 150k with their 7th round selection of Robert Aviles (which our shadow team jumped on). As such, this might be us throwing a pick away if they do not sign him. We viewed Holt as a solid up the middle defender in centerfield. He has plus speed and very good plate discipline. His batting mechanics will need some tweaks because his future as a pro will likely depend heavily on contact and walks.
6:3 Tony Thompson
We were on the ball valuing Thompson as he was selected seven picks later by the Athletics. He signed for slot (125k). He has the arm to play third and the power to be a traditional third base prospect. He signed quickly and has put in 36 games in short season ball. He has shown a good walk rate (~10%) and below average power (109 ISO). As he transitions from metal to wood more fully, we expect that power to have the potential to tick up a bit.
7:3 Robbie Aviles
Aviles was snagged four picks later and received about slot here (150k) by the Indians. He has not played any professional ball. Aviles has a projectible body with a low 90s fastball. He has shown a decent feel for a curveball and changeup, but his success will be based largely on how those two pitches come around. His lack in polish is pretty typical for a NE prep player and the low level of competition he faced made it difficult to assess his abilities. I have a feeling that in a more competitive environment, he may have found himself as a 3rd or 4th round selection. I am actually surprised he signed for slot here.
8:3 Mario Hollands
Hollands was the first player who basically I (Jon) strong-armed Nick into drafting. He was eventually drafted by the Phillies in the tenth round and signed for 125k. He has logged 42 inning in short season ball and has been overmatching the competition so far. He has put up a 9.2 k/9, 2.1 b/9, and a 3.33 FIP. He has been a little lucky with righties and home run rate, but he has certainly put together a strong run in his first professional season. Before I strain myself too much patting my own back, Hollands probably should have given up about six home runs instead of three so far just based on batted ball types. However, that is still a decent run for a player drafted this far back. It will be interested to see what he can do next year against more a more talented field. He is a big strong lefty who messes around with five pitches and works a high 80s fastball. As such, you kind of expect him to pass through this early levels somewhat easily. He probably profiles eventually as a lefty in the pen.
9:3 Jordan Cooper
Usually we tend to draft players that the Giants draft. This year, it is the Indians as we hit the same player for the third time here. Cooper signed for 125k quickly and has been able to put in 9 games in short season ball. Another big pitcher who relies on a 90mph sinker, a short slider, and a change he has some feel for. In his short stint this summer, he has shown good command, but has been rather hittable.
10:3 Matt Roberts
This selection will no doubt go unsigned. Roberts was selected in the 38th round by the Diamondbacks. He profiles as a great catch and throw guy. He was arguably the best defensive catcher in the draft. Now, it looks like he will be UNC's starting catcher as a freshman.
Overall . . . we have invested about 500k into our signings. I think Whitson and Cecchini will sign and will cost us about 5MM. Losing out on Holt and Roberts means we are probably going to fall short of our budget which was about 8.5MM. Last year, we hit our budget and as a consequence we did not permit our shadow system to take any Oriole overslots past the tenth round (e.g., Cameron Coffey, Michael Ohlman). This year, it appears, we will be able to incorporate any overslotting the Orioles do in those rounds and still be about 1MM or more under budget.