After spending heavily on free agents at the end of the winter, the Baltimore Orioles were without picks in the first two rounds of the draft, picks they surrendered as compensation for the signings of Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz. While those signings were out of the norm for the Orioles, as team notorious for not sinking a ton of money into free agents, it may have also been detrimental to the needs of their farm system, which has seen some injuries to recent draft choices like Dylan Bundy but also some solid prospects in Kevin Gausman, Chance Sisco, Mike Wright, and Eduardo Rodriguez.
So, without a pick in the first two rounds, the Orioles had to play catch-up quickly. With their fist pick, which didn’t come along until #90 in the draft, the Orioles went with the highest ceiling arm they could find, plucking Florida high school lefty Brian Gonzalez.. They then proceeded to use their next 11 picks on college player, including seven pitchers and four position players.
However, it was their second pick that was the truly intriguing one, when they selected Notre Dame right-hander Pat Connaughton. Connaughton draws obvious comparisons to fellow Notre Dame two-sport star Jeff Samardzija, but his make-up profiles as a much different prospect. At 6’5″ and 211 lbs, he has the frame you want from a power pitcher and can touch mid to upper 90’s with his fastball and gets good downward action on the ball. However, as MLB.com notes, he lacks command of the pitch and doesn’t feature a solid breaking pitch. Without that pitch, he seems like a huge project and profiles as a bullpen arm, making his selection at this stage in the draft an interesting choice for Baltimore.