Orioles Draft Retrospective: 2004-2007

2004

After a strong first round pick in the 2003 draft, the Orioles followed up by using their 2004 first round pick on…

1-8 – Wade Townsend (RHP) from Rice University

…and failed to sign him.  This actually didn’t turn out to be a big deal, as Townsend was drafted at #9 overall in 2005 by Tampa Bay and never made it higher than AA in 2008.  In addition, Baltimore did get a compensation pick the following year for not signing Townsend.  While they did not miss out on a future hall of famer, they did pass on quite a few impact talents (including Neil Walker, Billy Butler, and Stephen Drew), most notably Jered Weaver, who was selected by the Angels at #12 and has accumulated 28.3 WAR in his career to date, most of any player in the first round drafted after Townsend.

Brad Bergesen was the only other player to contribute a positive value to the Orioles (in terms of WAR) out of the 2004 draft.

2005

As mentioned above, the Orioles had a compensation pick for failing to sign Wade Townsend the previous year, giving them two first round picks in 2005.

1-13 – Brandon Snyder (C) from Westfield HS (Westfield, VA)

1-48 – Garrett Olson (LHP) from California Polytechnic State University

Neither one of these 2005 first round picks made much of an impact, but both did make it to the major leagues, so compared to most of the years discussed so far, things were looking up!  Snyder compiled a total of 106 PA’s in the majors, with 37 of them coming with the Orioles between 2010 and 2011 (the others with Texas in 2012).  He is currently playing for the Red Sox AAA affiliate.  Olsen, meanwhile, stuck around in the majors a little longer, though with worse results.  He’s pitched almost 300 innings in the big leagues (about half with Baltimore in 2007 and 2008), and has a career ERA of 6.26.  He appears to be no longer playing baseball for a living.

Baltimore selected Nolan Reimold in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft, but due to his multitude of injuries, it can be argued that David Hernandez has been the most valuable player selected by the Orioles in 2005 (13th round), since he was part of the trade to acquire Mark Reynolds.

The first round of the 2005 draft was full of major league stars (seriously, click HERE to see who was drafted that year in the 1st round), but the majority of those players selected were off the board when Baltimore came up to pick.  That doesn’t mean they made the best selection though as they left Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, and Clay Buchholz on the board.

2006

Once again, the Orioles found themselves with two first round draft picks (pick #32 as a result of losing B.J. Ryan in free agency), and once again, they managed to accomplish very little with both of them.

1-9 – Billy Rowell (3B) from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School (Pennsauken, NJ)

1-32 – Pedro Beato (RHP) from St. Petersburg College

It’s starting to become a little more clear as to why the Orioles 2012 trip to the playoffs was their first one since 1997, as another 1st round pick, this time Billy Rowell never set foot on a major league baseball field, topping out in AA in 2011 (and not playing since).  Beato has made it to the major leagues, but not for the Orioles, as he was selected by the Mets in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft.  He hasn’t done much with his time in MLB though, with a 4.67 career ERA in 79 innings.  He is currently pitching for the Red Sox AAA affiliate.

Two players available when the Orioles made their first selection were Tim Lincecum and Max Scherzer, selected by the Giants and Diamondbacks (respectively) immediately following Baltimore’s pick of Rowell.

As of now, it looks like the best pick to come out of this draft may be Zach Britton, who was selected in the Round 3.  Once a top prospect, Britton has been disappointing to date, but still has enough potential to possibly become a mid-rotation starter.

2007

In the 2007 draft, we finally get a little bit of good news.  The Orioles only had one pick in the first round, but used it wisely on…

1-5 – Matt Wieters (C) from Georgia Institute of Technology

Wieters has been the dependable Orioles backstop since 2009.  He may not have lived up to the high offensive expectations put on him when drafted (at least not yet), but it would be difficult to argue that this was a bad selection, as Wieters has been good offensively, great defensivly (2 gold gloves), and excellent in his durability, (tied for 1st in games caught from 2010-2012).  He has accumulated 13.0 WAR to date, all for Baltimore.

Baltimore really could not have done any better with this pick, although one could make the argument that Jason Heyward would have been a better selection (12.8 career WAR to date). Heyward is younger by 3 years, and probably has more potential at this point, but finding an all-star caliber catcher is usually more difficult than finding an all-star caliber right fielder, so it’s safe to say the Orioles shouldn’t regret this pick.

The Orioles also selected Jake Arrieta in Round 5 (we’ve already covered some of his issues previously), but no one else of significance has contributed to the big league club.  And since that draft was now 6 years ago, it’s slim that anyone else will.  Since I don’t want to end on a down note, here’s a fun fact…Baltimore actually drafted Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in the 41st round of the 2007 draft…he didn’t sign.

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