05 June 2018

Tuesday Morning Scouting Director

Yesterday, the Orioles selected Grayson Rodriguez, a right handed prep pitcher out of Texas, and Cadyn Grenier, a shortstop out of Oregon State who will be destined to have his name spelled incorrectly for the entirety of his Baltimore Oriole franchise career. 

Rodriguez was a more typical Orioles pick under the Duquette regime.  Big body with a professional delivery that is quick to the plate.  This leaves a lot less for the developmental staff to figure out.  He also checks another Orioles box in that he has a lively two seamer that pairs nicely with a slider.  The Orioles have been focusing a great deal on pitchers with good two seam / slider interplay.  Rodriguez was pretty far back on a lot of boards and that is largely due to a rather unspectacular career prior to this season.  Supposedly, he began to take training seriously and that focus immediately brought results.  He came into the draft with a whole lot of steam where he was often overlooked in pre-season rankings and then darted up as the spring season wore on, resting in the 20-40 range.  Some might compare this to being similar to the Matt Hobgood selection and, to be honest, there are reasonable comparisons here.  That said, this was not the fourth overall selection.

Grenier is a slight deviation from the Orioles past selections.  The Orioles have recently taken pretty toolsy players at this point in the draft and then later on draft caretaker mold middle infields to help settle down minor league infield defenses.  Grenier is not a caretaker.  He is a genuine prospect with excellent defense, above average speed, and a quick bat.  The knock on him is that his swing is terrible and seems to be based on slapping the ball for his legs to win a base.  Those lose are not impressive at a MLB level and he needs to do more to show that he has some gap power to his bat.  As is, he should be a strong mainstay at every level of the minor he spends time at, but for him to make a difference at the MLB level, that swing will need to be broken down and built back up again.

All in all, I think those picks are defensible.  Those are wanted players, desirable players, but I preferred something else.  As always I run a shadow draft to see my long term inclinations against what the professionals do.  My prospect system has been quite a remarkable group, beating out what the Orioles have done by quite a bit...until you add in our pass on Manny Machado.  Oops.  Anyway, where would I have gone?

For me, the first round broke down in mixed fashion.  Griffin Conine was there, but my preferred pick, Jonathan India, was snagged by the Mets several picks earlier.  That said, two players I had not considered were there.  Matthew Liberatore, a LH HS pitcher who many thought was the best high school arm in the draft, and Brady Singer, a RH pitcher from Florida who was considered the second best college arm. 

Liberatore is intriguing because he knows how to pitch and was able to dominate in showcases and the national team with that polish.  The downside is that he sits around 90 mph, which will get it done basically everywhere outside of the Majors.  Maybe I am a bit gun shy due to Brian Matusz, but I think while Libratore has a little projection left in his frame that the workload of a professional will keep that velocity down.

Singer is what I would say Rodriguez might have looked like in three years except that Singer has a low delivery that was a red flag for many teams.  That said, he throws mid-90s.  Has an average secondary arsenal.  He looks like a fast tracked mid rotation arm.  He looks like a very safe pick and one whose stuff could play at Camden Yards.  I think in the grand scheme of things, he is a prospect who could be rising up around the same time as the Orioles next big wave of prospects might show up around 2020 (including the ones they get from the inevitable trades this summer).

With that in mind, I would have chosen Brady Singer.  He may not have that star profile, but he looks like a contributor to me and someone who will find usefulness for the big league club quickly.  The Orioles need holes to fill and I think he could do that both cheaply and quickly.

For that second pick, I would have gone with Griffin Conine before I say a piece by 2080 Baseball that mentioned Jake McCarthy as an option for the Orioles here.  I put him through the CRAP model and was surprised how much it actually liked him.  McCarthy grades as a 55/60 according to CRAP and appears to be solid as a center fielder.  That kind of up the middle talent is hard for me to pass on.  As much as I adore Griffin Conine's bat and think he is a first round talent, I think moreso slightly with McCarthy.

Now for Day Two where the clubs will be seeking out players from Rounds three to ten.  What to expect?

The Orioles will likely take a couple upside high school players who we really have no idea who they are targeting until it happens.  At the college level, we know they already secured a shortstop.  We should expect a catcher somewhere and a heavy focus on college pitchers with live two seamers.  Some possibilities:

Steven Gingery, LHP
Texas Tech
High 80s pitcher with a sinker that flashes plus.
Expected to go Rounds 3-5

Aaron Hernandez, RHP
Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Hits upper 90s with his sinker, but has some makeup concerns.
Expected to go Rounds 4-5

Dylan Coleman, RHP
Missouri State
One pitch, a mid to upper 90s sinker. Poor mechanics.
Expected to go Rounds 3-5

Sean Wymer, RHP
Low 90s plus sinker, mixes well.
Expected to go Rounds 3-4.

Adam Wolf, LHP
Low 90s sinker, works it well around the plate.
Expected to go Rounds 5-7

Jason Bilous, RHP
Coastal Carolina
Low 90s sinker that flashed mid-90 at times.
Expected to go Rounds 5-7

Who I would target? Live arms.  But first, Jake Mangum.  CRAP considers his bat to be worth a 45/50 designation, but he also has a fall back option for pitching.  I like that.  Anyway, here are the live arms.

Blaine Knight, RHP
A bean pole pitcher with durability concerns. Regularly touches upper 90s.
Expected to go in rounds 3 to 4.

Durbin Feltman, RHP
Short pitcher who flirts with 100. Seen as a reliever, but may be tested as a starter.
Rounds 3 to 5.

Zack Hess, RHP
Early college career he was a reliever whose stuff played up to high 90s with a plus slider.
Rounds 3 to 5.

Isaiah Campbell, RHP
Injury history, but with a fastball that reaches upper 90s in relief.
Rounds 4 to 6

Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP
The 100 mph fastball white whale. Stuff is a little all over the place.
Rounds 5 to 7

Ryan Feltner, RHP
Ohio State
Upper 90s fastball, nothing moves.
Rounds 6 to 8


Pip said...

Why catcher when we already have Sisco( I don’t especially like him but Buck does) and Wynns as well as one other legit prospect whose name I forget?
Don’t we urgently need a 3B?

Jon Shepherd said...

Well, it is hard to draft and plug because there is great variance in whether a guy will pan out and what he winds up being. My personal philosophy is that teams should draft for the best available prospects and if a jam occurs later then deal them out. However, when you look at minor league squads you have some other considerations. A strong team up the middle typically helps pitchers develop and settles a team. With that in mind, you kind of want to draft a catcher every draft if not two.

Re: Sisco. Is he really a MLB catcher? I think the jury is still out on that.

Pip said...

I agree with you completely re:Sisco, but Buck obviously thinks of him as The Second Coming, so oh well.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

PTCello, what is all this Showalter stuff referring to Sisco? Who is supposed to be playing who is better? Joseph and Susac struggled mightily, so there aren't a lot of amazing options right now. Sisco, to the frustration of some, has also faced LHP just 11 times this year. That doesn't bother too much... but I'm struggling to understand what you're talking about.

Unknown said...

Two thoughts: (1) I think that, if ever you're going to take a risky, high-upside type of player, you should do so when you're where the Orioles are in the development cycle. In my opinion, the Orioles are probably at least four years away from entering their next contending cycle. It may make sense to invest in players further away from the major leagues because you don't expect to need the player sooner. (2) I wonder if, once Brady Singer fell past #9, teams were afraid that he'd want top-5 money and so he fell further to the Royals, who have more money to spend.

Pip said...

Why are you directing the query at me instead of at Jon, with whom I was agreeing?
I think it is unwise to have two rookie catchers up at the same time. Sisco isn’t hitting well and his defense is meh.
I don’t mind Wynns being up but I strongly feel that Joseph should also be up and I think that Buck is down on Caleb for some reason. That’s why I made the comment.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

Jon's comment has nothing to do with Showalter.

Unknown said...

Honestly I would of prefered Libatore (sp?), better upside and better current stuff. Maybe he told them he wanted more money then they were comfortable with. Or gave then Harvey flashbacks.

Not a huge fan of the second pick since it seems the guys a low upside probably utility IF, the Os have had really good work lately swinging for the raw talented type after the 1st round lately (mountcastle/Hays) not sure why they got away from it this year.