Saturday, August 16, 2008

Orioles get Matusz, draft signings successful

Like many first rounders, Brian Matusz waited until the last day to sign the dotted line, but eventually did. The lefty starter from San Diego caps the August 15th deadline for the Orioles, signing a 3.2 million dollar signing bonus in his major league deal (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun). Only two first rounders, Aaron Crow for the Nationals and Gerrit Cole for the Yankees, didn't sign.

With the signing, the top nine picks plus picks 11-15 have been signed to the Orioles farm system. Along with Matusz, notables include:
--Xavier Avery: 2nd round, CF, had committed to play football for Georgia
--L.J. Hoes: 3rd round, 2B/OF, local phenom who had committed to UNC
--Kyle Hudson: 4th round, OF, hit .411 for Illinois in 2008
--Gregory Miclat: 5th round, SS, solid contact hitter with speed for UVA
--Jesse Beal: 14th round, P, had committed to Maryland (I reserve judgement on this one, Maryland really, really needs pitching)
--Brian Conley: 16th round, OF, from Towson
--Chad Durakis and Oliver Drake: 38th and 43rd rounds respectively, both played for local colleges (Maryland and Navy)

Overall, this draft was very successful for the Orioles, They landed their top nine picks, mainly focusing on prospects that were likely to join the Orioles and not head to college (Avery, Hoes) as well as already established college juniors (Matusz, Hudson, Miclat). They didn't go for high-risk players who didn't want to sign, and they got paid off by getting who they wanted.

The only thing that would have made the draft perfect for the Orioles would have been to sign Kevin Brady, a player taken in the 44th round who had 3rd round talent, but didn't want to sign for 3rd round money. The Orioles had a throw away draft pick, and tried to entice the fireballer, but couldn't. But no big loss. The fact is the Orioles had a solid signing time and they should be real happy with the new crop of players.

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