The Orioles lost yesterday. So what else is new?
Tonight the Birds will welcome a slipping Oakland Athletics team to Camden Yards, they are fresh off a rather heartbreaking sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, but that is not the most important thing going on tonight. Tonight is the 2011 Amateur Draft and the Orioles are picking fourth.
The likely picks: Dylan Bundy, Danny Hultzen and Archie Bradley. All three are pitchers, Hultzen is a college lefty and Bundy and Bradley are high schoolers.
All three have been rated as top ten picks in various pre-draft lists and up until this morning Bundy and Hultzen were the most common choices and seemingly out of nowhere Bradley has been linked to the Orioles by Keith Law and Jim Callis. The Orioles are picking fourth and have been linked to a player who was picked to barely get into the top ten in most pre-draft rankings and this has a lot of fans jumping directly to the Matt Hobgood comparrisons but I think that is a little premature. Bradley is considered to be a "big, strong righty" with a fastball consistently in the mid 90's and a "power" knuckle-curve.
Bundy was named Gatorade's Oklahoma Player of the Year and elected to the Rawlings First Team Preseason All-American. Hultzen is an ACC pitcher from Bethesda and is probably the most major-league ready player of the three, as he should be.
With power pitchers like Bundy and Hultzen most likely available at the fourth pick where is Bradley coming from? Questions have been raised about signability and contract value. Are the Orioles taking the cheaper road? Possibly, but it does not seem like Bradley is all that bad a pick, in fact he has just as good a chance as the other three and the reviews and reports I have read have me interested in his abilities but is he better than Bundy, Hultzen or even third baseman Anthony Rendon (projected to go second to Seattle) if he falls to the Orioles? Probably not.