Who Are These Guys? O's Draft Recap
Under Andy MacPhail, the Orioles have stressed the importance of building pitching depth. Couple this organizational philosophy with the 2009 draft class being considered very pitcher heavy and you can figure out which direction Baltimore would go with it's first selection and the entire draft.
Of their 30 picks, the Orioles drafted 17 pitchers including Matthew Hobgood whom the O's selected with the fifth overall pick. Hobgood is a right-handed power pitcher out of Norco High School in Southern California that was this week named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year after going 11-1 with a 0.92 ERA, 101 strike outs and just 26 in 68 2/3 innings and hitting .475 with 21 home runs as a first baseman. At 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, some have been concerned about his size but his body type seems more like Josh Beckett than Sidney Ponson or David Wells.
The pick was somewhat of a surprise since Hobgood was ranked only in the top 20 for right-handed pitchers and Georgia high schooler Zack Wheeler was both available and ranked higher. However, Orioles amateur scouting director Joe Jordan said the decision "was a tough one. In the end, there was something that told me to do this. I really liked [Wheeler], but I settled on the one I guess I liked a little bit more." The Orioles can also afford to reach on a pitcher early considering the wealth of young arms the team has in the organization.
Baltimore had told Hobgood shortly before the draft that if University of North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley (considered to be far and away the best position player in the draft) did not fall to the Orioles at No. 5, Hobgood would likely be the team's selection. Which explains the reaction in this video of Hobgood's family and friends watching the draft live and seeing Ackley get picked second overall by Seattle.
With their second pick and the 54th overall, the Orioles took high school shortstop Mychal Givens out of Florida. Givens was also considered a pitching prospect but it seems like the O's will try to keep him as an infielder. Givens has speed and the scouting reports says he's sharp on the basepaths but lacks a consistent bat or a power stroke.
In the third round the Orioles went with hard-hitting right fielder Tyler Townsend from Florida International. Townsend was named a first-team all-American after amassing a school record 77 RBI and 182 total bases. In 2006, Townsend was named the Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year and Louisville Slugger of the Year.
One of the more interesting selections on Day Two came in the 12th round when Baltimore selected Hokies outfielder Steven Bumbry, the son of former Oriole Al Bumbry. The elder Bumbry was an 11th pick by the team in 1972 and had more speed in his day than his son does now, but Steven has more power.
For a full list of the Orioles picks as well as some video of the selections, take a look at MLB.com's compendium.
June 11, 2009; 2:48 PM ET
Categories: Orioles | Tags: 2009 MLB Draft, Baltimore Orioles, Matthew Hobgood
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