2018 Baltimore Orioles MLB Draft Review

The Orioles continued their recent focus on loading up on pitching in the 2018 draft. It’s no secret that they have struggled to develop starting pitching so in recent years they have have loaded up on pitching in the draft. This year they took an interesting mix of high upside high school arms and safer college pitchers. They did sprinkle in a few interesting bats as well.

The Birds currently have the worst record in the majors and are likely looking forward to picking first overall next year. But before we put them on the clock, let’s take a closer look at the players the Orioles grabbed in this year’s draft.

1.11 Grayson Rodriguez, RHP – Central Heights HS

Rodriguez is a hard throwing right-hander who was a name with a lot of helium leading up to the draft. He was consistently projected to go in the 20’s range in the weeks leading up to the draft, but as draft day approached his name was mentioned as one that could be called earlier than expected. He reportedly improved his conditioning and results followed. It will be important to see if he can stay in shape and maintain the improvements that he made late in the process. He needs to work on his secondaries and continue to develop, but he should rank high on the Orioles updated prospects list based on potential alone.

The Orioles have struggled to develop pitching in recent years. That is a legitimate concern when it comes to Rodriguez. However, with uncertainty facing the front office in the off season, and change likely, perhaps a new regime will solve the mysteries of pitcher development.

1.37 Cadyn Grenier, SS – Oregon State

Grenier is seen as a premium collegiate glove with significant questions about his bat. His Oregon State team is still involved the College World Series and he has yet to sign with the Orioles. Once he signs he will likely be assigned to Aberdeen where he will work on developing more consistency with the bat.  He is likely to be a better real life player then a fantasy asset. But keep an eye on him, because he has an impressive pedigree and could develop into a major league regular.

3.87 Blaine Knight, RHP – Arkansas

Another college player who is ineligible to sign yet as a result of the Razorbacks success in the College World Series. He has premium velocity and a wide assortment of secondary pitches, including a knee-buckling curveball. He isn’t the most physically imposing body at this point, but has the frame to add muscle. The Orioles will probably not give him many innings after he signs because of the extra innings he is throwing for his college commitments. He has immense potential and may slide further in dynasty drafts next year than he probably should as a result of a lack of a professional track record. Don’t forget about him next year at draft time.

4.115 Drew Rom, LHP – Highlands High School

Decent bodied lefty, who in recent days was signed away from a University of Michigan commitment with an over slot bonus. Does not display premium velocity at this point but has room to grow into. Has shown some feel for secondaries, but is still a work in progress. Will need to fine tune his mechanics. A project, but not one without potential.

5.145 Robert Neustrom, OF – Iowa

College outfielder who has already begun is professional career playing in short season Aberdeen. As a polished college player he is holding his own and displaying adequate on base ability. The power potential has yet to be on display as a pro, but that is his calling card. He doesn’t have any standout tools, but is solid across the board.

6.175 Yeankarlos Lleras, RHP – Leadership Christian Academy (Puerto Rico)

High school pitcher out of Puerto Rico is the closest the Orioles scouting department will come to Latin America this year. Lleras is short and lacks refinement but throws in the mid 90’s and could turn into a prospect. Worth keeping tabs on over the next few seasons.

Featured Orioles image – via mlbtraderumors.com

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