On Friday night, @prospectslive held their 2020 MLB Mock Draft and I was lucky enough to participate and make picks on behalf of the Orioles. It was highly educational and fun, to be frank we didn’t get the one guy we’d been aiming for but Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin topped our group at pick no 2 overall.
I’d never used Periscope, Zoom or any video app previously and spent a few minutes rearranging furniture to be ready for my hits at picks 2, 30, 39 and 74 overall. When Spencer Torkelson from Arizona St. went first, I was ready to take Martin and when they brought me into the video chat my audio didn’t come with me. Oh dear.
The initial pick was made when I wrote Austin Martin’s name on a piece of paper I was using for notes. Hopefully the real-life Orioles are more connected when they’re on the clock come June.
It’s my opinion that this is a draft with depth on the mound but not overall and I wanted Torkelson more than anyone else. My thoughts are that the O’s are purposefully building a quality offensive nucleus and the slugging righty would not only complete that foundation, but he would not need a heck of a lot of seasoning.
Martin seems to be offensive minded but without the prodigious pop that makes architects think about fence location. Also, Martin’s first step instincts and pre-pitch positioning are good indicators of foot speed and lower body control. It’s probable that he’s more of a total package of offense/defense/instincts. Time will provide a good answer.
Frustrating as it was to not be heard, it was just fine and I figured out the microphone in between picks.
The guys from ProspectLive were so smooth and they kept on rolling throughout a few glitches. They had lots of insight and comments as picks were being made. They reset the list and stayed organized and funny playing off the team specific writers and experts. These guys have done this before and it showed. I’m looking towards being much better in 2021!
I’m waiting and waiting for my next selection at 30 and both of the college pitchers I had my eye on (after a cram session with @Weams)went ahead of us. Oklahoma righty Cade Cavalli went 26 to the Rays and CJ Van Eyk from FSU went even earlier to the Mets. Both good picks.
I didn’t need to scramble as the clock came back towards us and wasn’t forced to change strategy due to the vast group of college arms. Choosing Louisville’s Bobby Miller represented a player who has performed in multiple roles and excelled in all of them. Like the next pick in the competitive balance round at 39, LSU’s Cole Henry, Miller is someone who’s amateur inning total is moderate and his mound athleticism is easy to see.
The two righties do not have similar deliveries but watching them, they both repeat with relative ease of motion to initiate. It appears that Miller has a bit more strength to make power in his lower half, but Henry has longer legs so a potential for slightly more whip action. Henry’s ceiling could be higher if/when he develops a bit more as far as a change to play off that heat. When I was thinking of the pick, I recalled how much progress Grayson Rodriguez has made in this regard and that it happened over one season. The O’s instructors have made Grayson even better by adding this weapon to his arsenal and I’d expect a similar plan with Henry.
Miller has his best baseball in front of him and I love a player who plays more than one role in college to help their team. Let’s remember that he started out as a bullpen arm and was an inning away from a no-hitter in 2019’s Super Regional against ECU, throwing less than 100 pitches. He was evaluated a bit higher than pick 30 where we grabbed him and as a sophomore last year he has quite a projectable future.
The reason for the back-to-back arms was to continue to fortify the rotations at Delmarva and above so the aim is not to have Miller and Henry doing too much below these levels. Maybe a few more appearances for Miller as he’s younger. The pitching depth in the system could always use some talent with high-level experience so the pair is a satisfying haul.
Finally I had to wait until pick 74 so I sat back and watched the other team experts and how they chose. It was a learning experience that was very entertaining. I was eager to do it, but in these baseball-less days it was therapeutic to be with others of my type and filled a need I didn’t even realize I had. Very positive. My dog was with me the whole time and chewed on baseballs I have left over from last season as he’s dealing with a lack of the sport like all of us.
So my decision late was going to be offense and it came down to 3 players, all prep. Blaze Jordan is a 17 year old slugger from MS who could clear a wall with a 500 foot tater at age 11. Now THAT’S power. He looks to be a Matt Adams type so hit only.
AJ Vukovich is a tall limby corner from WI who may have too much room in his swing plane to clear up every hole but his height and strength made me consider him as a rich man’s Russel Branyan but I didn’t choose him.
I took a former Ohio St WR recruit who is focused on baseball, Aurora OH’s Mackenzie Wainwright. Video of him shows an athletically advanced lower half and a top/bottom half working together to produce epic drives and bat speed. He’s 17 with this type of twitch so he can add muscle without bulk as his skills develop. I watch Greg Jones play in the Tampa system and it kills me that the O’s lost out on him (twice) and even though he’s still improving, each baseball maneuver shows an easy ability to tap into his athletic gifts. I see a similar track for Wainwright as he gets with the Orioles new staff of trainers and strength coaches. It’s hard for me to choose a one-way type of player as the game is rewarding and requiring versatility all over. If Blaze Jordan has a 55 home run season I’ll be very happy for him, but watching the throwing, bending and turning I don’t see him as an asset anywhere other than the batter’s box. Part of the fun of this will be seeing just how wrong I am!
I’m glad to do this and was eager to continue the rebuild. My honest opinion is that the drafted group as a whole isn’t that good and the O’s will have a much better haul in June. I picked my guys ahead of time and due to my newness wasn’t ready to react like I preferred. It’s ok as I made picks based on education and video so my evidence was a good as it could be considering I’ve seen zero of these players in person.
A big thanks to the readers for having some draft related info up on the Hangout so I could prep. Also, Tony and Weams gave me a good set of philosophies to work from and some bios of a couple players to consider too. It all helped a ton!
Last of all, the guy who set this up and came up with the idea is a prospect evaluator named Ralph Lifshitz from ProspectsLive or @prospectjesus on Twitter. I want to say thanks for the opportunity and suggest you check out their site when you need some non-Orioles info. It’s a great way to measure our system against others and observe the progress.