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Reviewing the Baltimore Orioles’ 2022 Draft

Orioles scouts
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After months of speculation, the Baltimore Orioles Draft is complete. After 20 rounds and 22 selections, the Draft is done. There are a lot of takeaways from it and a ton to talk about. So here is how this is going to work. For day one, I am going to talk about all four picks,, and for days two and three and I am going to go over those I feel are the most interesting picks. If I were to write a breakdown for all twenty-two picks, I would be here all day, and I don’t think it is necessary.

With that said, let us break down this Draft.

DAY ONE

Pick 1: Jackson Holliday, SS

After what felt like forever, we finally found out who would be the first pick taken. The Orioles didn’t let any rumors about this pick out of the Warehouse, leading to multiple Mock Drafts and executives throwing their hands and collectively saying, “who knows?” when it comes to the first pick.

It turned out to be Jackson Holliday, a surprising pick because I thought they were going massively under-slot and taking someone like Brooks Lee or the best overall talents like Termarr Johnson or Druw Jones.

I like this pick, and it makes more sense the more I think about it. Holliday has been the highest riser in the draft, and it is easy to see why. He transformed into a late-first round guy into a top-5 pick after a blazing hot senior high school season that saw him break J.T. Realmuto’s Oklahoma state-hit record and put up some insane numbers. These numbers also come from a slight swing change I saw in scouting Holliday. He stands a lot more upright and is learning to get under baseballs more as he gets older, which is great as he matures into his tall body. Defensively, he is great at Short and could stick there long term, and has a good throwing arm with speed to help.

I thought Holliday was heavily underrated through my scouting, and he ended up being my second-ranked player behind Druw Jones. I thought the Orioles would disagree and value Termarr’s hitting ability over Holliday’s complete package of tools, but I was proven wrong. Many fans thought this pick could be under-slot; however, I don’t think he is under-slot. I believe he will get upwards of eight million dollars because of his connections to the Oklahoma State program and his family ties with it. This could mean that the Orioles simply took the best talent on their board and didn’t worry about money, meaning that they had Holliday over Jones, which is interesting.

I didn’t see it coming, but I told myself on Draft day that if the Orioles took a top-5 talent at one, I wouldn’t complain and be satisfied; Holliday fits what the Orioles like. I had Druw ranked slightly higher, but I do think the swing change raised Holliday’s value higher for me.

I can’t complain about this pick.

Pick 33: Dylan Beavers, OF

The Orioles had so much ammunition to do serious damage in the first couple of rounds. They had four picks on day one, and they used them wisely. Dylan Beavers is a player ranked in my top 20 players, and the Orioles got him outside the First. This is an automatic W. Beavers is one of the data darlings of this class, and it isn’t hard to see why. He is a big left-handed outfielder with immense power that launches baseballs. He had some of the lowest ground ball rates in college baseballs and has an underrated approach.

Beavers is also good defensively in Right Field with a good throwing arm and speed to back him up. His issue is that he has a weird hitch in his swing, and has a problem with breaking balls because of it. He was whiffing on breaking pitches because of the hitch in his swing, not because he was chasing. He doesn’t have a problem with discipline and chasing pitches; he missed breaking balls in the zone, again, because of his swing.

The Orioles have experience helping hitters with unique swings, and Beavers should be no different. Beavers was a steal, and even though the Orioles didn’t need him, you don’t draft for need, and he was the best college player available. I understand High School pitching was on the board, but they have a strategy that values hitters first and pitchers in the late rounds, which we will see later.

Beavers is awesome, and he fits the Orioles well.

Pick 42:  Max Wagner,3B

This pick was a little surprising, but it made sense once you looked at the data. Wagner was a breakout player for Clemson this year. After riding the bench and being a replacement last year, he broke out this year, hitting 27 Home Runs en route to winning the ACC Player OF The Year Award. Wagner had some of the best hard hit % and launched angels in this class, so it makes sense why the Orioles valued him. His defense isn’t great at Third, but if he can hit, teams will find a spot for you. Wagner was my least favorite of the picks on day one, but I think he is a good prospect.

Pick 67: Jud Fabian, OF

Fabian could have been an Oriole in 2021 had he not been selected one pick ahead of them by the Red Sox. Elias gets his guy this year after he decided to go back to College. Fabian was a Prospect I didn’t like back in 2021, but he did a lot this year to change my mind. He has excellent defense in centerfield and a throwing arm to back it up. Fabian also has excellent power and improved his discipline this year. His problem is that his hit tool isn’t the best, and he doesn’t have a great contact tool. The most important thing, however, is that he improved his discipline, lowered the strikeouts, and raised his walk rate, and all without sacrificing his power. Fabian might not have a great hit tool, but he has massive upside and was well worth the pick.

The Orioles got three first-rounders on day one for me. I understand the need for pitching, but they would have that covered on days two and three. Orioles managed upside with these hitters well, and while they did take two outfielders, you can’t let need get in the way, and I am not letting it get in the way of what I consider a great haul overall. Orioles killed it on day one.

DAY TWO

As I mentioned, I will show what I feel is the most interesting pick of the day and explain the overall strategy for day two. If fans wanted pitching, they got it. Of the eight picks on day two, five of them were pitchers. The Orioles have a type with pitchers, and this draft proves it. So here is the most appealing pick for day two.

Nolan McLean, RHP

McLean is a two-way player right now. The Orioles confirmed that they would give Mclean a chance to hit at DH a couple of times a week while they develop him as a pitcher. McLean cleaned up his mechanics this year on the mound, throwing 98 with two distinct breaking pitches. McLean does need help harnessing his stuff and controlling it, but as he gets more experience, he should be able to do that. Scouts think he would be better as a pitcher, but it is cool to think about him becoming a true two-way player. He needs development on offense as well, so as he gets older, the Orioles could put a hold on his development as a hitter and make him a full-time pitcher. McLean is still only 20 years old so he could develop as both, but if he doesn’t, he still can be a good pitcher.

The Orioles bought into the way they develop pitching, and this Draft shows it.

DAY THREE

It was more of the same on day three for the Orioles. They took more college pitchers and mixed in a couple of High School pitchers and DII pitchers that fit what they look for. So here is the one prospect that caught my eye.

Jared Beck, LHP

There has never been a seven-foot tall Pitcher in the majors, and Jared Beck looks to change that. Beck is interesting because of his massive height, but he is much more than that. He struck out 13.8 batters per nine this year, and he saw a velocity jump from 88 to 95 this year. He did play in Division II and had a high ERA at 3.95, but in the thirteenth round, he is worth the risk, and the Orioles are treating Beck as a ball of clay. If they can harness his height, dimensions, and improving stuff, they have something with Beck, and he is worth the risk this late.

Day three was another indicator of what the Orioles value.

So there it is; the Orioles killed it this Draft and found a way to take hitters high that are projectible and take pitchers late with a skill set that fits a profile they like.

It may not be what some people want, but it fits what they like.

At the beginning of this process, I thought the Orioles had to come out of this class with multiple impact players because of the multitude of draft picks they have. Also, because the team is playing much better and the incoming Draft Lottery, the Orioles needed to kill it.

The Orioles accomplished this goal, and the farm system is better than ever while the team is playing better and captivating the fanbase.

Never a better time to support the Orioles than right now with all this young talent on the farm and the team playing well.

Go out and support this team, at all levels, in the second half.

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