2023 MLB draft, Day 3 recap: Orioles continue pitching investment, selecting six more college arms

11 July 2023

In the 2022 draft, the Orioles used 12 of their 22 selections on pitchers, the organization’s most through 20 rounds of any of the four drafts under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias.

They topped that in 2023. After selecting seven pitchers through the first 10 rounds Sunday and Monday, including three right-handers in the first four rounds, the Orioles drafted six more college arms on Day 3 for a total of 13 pitchers. The haul marks the 2023 draft as the largest pitching investment the Orioles have made since Elias took over in November 2018.

In the first four drafts under Elias, the Orioles displayed a clear preference for position players in early rounds, and many of them have panned out — from Adley Rutschman to Gunnar Henderson to Colton Cowser. But on Day 1, the Orioles selected Florida State right-hander Jackson Baumeister No. 63 overall, the highest they’ve drafted a pitcher since Grayson Rodriguez in 2018′s first round, before Elias took over.

After selecting six more college right-handers on Day 2, Baltimore’s director of draft operations Brad Ciolek said Monday evening that the organization likes the “upside” each of the pitchers possesses.

Baltimore isn’t just focused on the college ranks for pitchers, though. Each of the first five position players the Orioles drafted was also out of college, with their only two high school selections coming in the 15th and 19th rounds.

In total, the Orioles used their 22 picks to select 13 college pitchers, seven college position players (five outfielders, one infielder, one catcher) and two high schoolers (one outfielder, one infielder).

Elias said after picking Vanderbilt center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. No. 17 overall that the condensed, five-round draft in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic created a deeper class this summer, as many of the high schoolers who could have been selected in 2020 instead went to college and are now eligible again for the first time.

Here’s a breakdown of Baltimore’s selections from the third day of the MLB draft.

Round 11 (331 overall): Seattle right-hander Nestor German

Skinny: After ending Day 2 by taking four pitchers with their final five picks, the Orioles continued their run on college arms with the first pick on Day 3 by selecting German. At 6 feet 3, German had a career ERA of 6.37 with a below-average 15.9% strikeout rate during his three years at Seattle University, a small Division I school in the Western Athletic Conference. However, German, 21, had his best season in 2023, improving his strikeout rate considerably to punch out 74 batters in 78 1/3 innings.

Round 12 (361 overall): LSU right-hander Blake Money

Skinny: On Day 3 last year, the Orioles selected Jared Beck, a 7-foot right-hander out of Saint Leo University. Money isn’t anywhere near 7 feet tall, but at 6-7, he was one of the tallest pitchers in this year’s draft class and is the tallest pitcher Baltimore selected in the 2023 draft. During his three seasons at LSU, Money had a 6.26 ERA and struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings. After pitching out of the Tigers’ rotation in 2022, he was converted to a relief role in 2023. Baseball America ranked him as the 439th-best prospect in the draft pool.

Round 13 (391 overall): LSU left-hander Riley Cooper

Skinny: After each of the first nine pitchers the Orioles selected were right-handers, they took a left-handed reliever in Cooper, drafting an LSU arm with back-to-back picks. The strike-thrower spent his freshman season at Arizona before transferring to LSU in 2022. In his career, the 21-year-old went 12-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 91 appearances (six starts). His best season came this spring, as the 6-2, 270-pound southpaw struck out 63 batters in 61 2/3 innings.

Round 14 (421 overall): State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota right-hander Michael Forret

Skinny: On Day 2, Baltimore drafted multiple players who began their college careers at the junior college level. With Forret, they took one straight from a JUCO near their spring training facility in Sarasota, Florida. In 86 1/3 innings this spring, the 6-3 19-year-old struck out 106 batters, sporting a low-90s mph fastball.

Round 15 (451 overall): Lowndes High School (Ga.) outfielder Qrey Lott

Skinny: Lott ended the Orioles’ college player streak. After selecting 16 straight players out of college, Baltimore drafted the 6-4, 175-pound high schooler from Georgia. The 18-year-old is committed to play for Northwest Florida State College.

Round 16 (481 overall): Cal State Fullerton catcher Cole Urman

Skinny: Many of the 13 pitchers joining the organization will throw to Urman during their minor league careers. In his three years at Cal State Fullerton, Urman, seen as a plus-defender, hit .254 with a below-average .625 OPS. However, his offense improved this spring, as the 21-year-old hit .270 with four home runs and nine doubles in 49 games.

Round 17 (511 overall): Hillsdale College right-hander Zane Barnhart

Skinny: A Towson native, Barnhart dominated as a reliever at the Division II level. The 5-10 21-year-old posted a 2.06 ERA in 43 2/3 innings for Hillsdale this spring, striking out 61 and walking just 10. Barnhart joins Forret as the only non-Division I players taken by the Orioles in the 2023 draft, although the former had transferred to West Virginia to potentially play his senior season there in 2024 if he doesn’t sign with Baltimore.

Round 18 (541 overall): Texas right-hander Tanner Witt

Skinny: Witt, who turned 21 on Tuesday, was a top prospect coming out of high school in 2020, but he announced before the draft his intention to play for the Longhorns. As a freshman, he excelled out of Texas’ bullpen with a 3.16 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 57 innings. Early in 2022, though, he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction. He returned in 2023 and struggled, allowing 13 runs in 10 2/3 innings. Witt, the son of former major league first baseman Kevin Witt, entered the 2023 draft ranked as the 76th-best prospect in the draft pool, according to MLB Pipeline, and No. 122 on Baseball America’s list. Given Witt’s poor performance this spring coming off Tommy John, it might be difficult for the Orioles to sign the 6-6 pitcher, although Baltimore was able to get Vanderbilt’s Carter Young under contract after taking the shortstop in the 17th round last summer.

Round 19 (571 overall): Atoka High School (Okla.) shortstop Kollin Ritchie

Skinny: Ritchie was the second and final high schooler the Orioles drafted, and similar to Witt, it might be difficult for Baltimore to sign the 18-year-old shortstop. Ritchie, who hits left-handed, is committed to Oklahoma State and entered the draft rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 214 prospect in the pool and No. 400 by Baseball America.

Round 20 (601 overall): North Greenville University shortstop Jalen Vasquez

Skinny: After going 20 picks without drafting an infielder, the Orioles used their final two picks on shortstops, following up the Ritchie selection by taking Vasquez. The 21-year-old spent the first two years of his college career with South Carolina, barely playing in 2021 and hitting just .226 in 2022. He transferred to Division II North Greenville University for the 2023 campaign and dominated, slashing .332/.444/.624 — good for a 1.068 OPS.

This story will be updated.


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