Duquette says Orioles covet pitching in Draft

Baltimore has 4 selections in Top 91, including two compensation picks

Duquette says Orioles covet pitching in Draft

BALTIMORE -- With Wednesday being Draft Eve, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette held court on the Orioles' game plan going into Day 1 tonight.

The O's will have four picks in the Top 91, the first two of which are compensation picks -- one for departed lefty Wei-Yin Chen (No. 27) and one for not signing last year's No. 68 pick Jonathan Hughes (No. 69). They also have picks 54 and 91, having traded away No. 76 to Atlanta in the recent deal involving Brian Matusz.

"We hope to add significantly to our prospect base," Duquette said. "We've put a lot of focus on the pitching. The pitching we brought up from our Minors this year has done a great job for the big league club. You're talking about Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, Mychal Givens, Dylan Bundy. And if we're going to have a competitive team year in and year out, we have to bring in good players to our system, and we hope to be able to replenish our system through the Draft this year."

The Orioles aren't sure exactly who will be available on the Draft board when they select at No. 27, but Duquette seemed confident in scouting director Gary Rajsich and his staff.

"We always look to add to our club and rank the players by their overall value, but over half the players we take will be pitchers," Duquette said. "We put a lot of value on that, obviously… We've done a good [job] of identifying some pitching in the late rounds to come up and help our team or to help us in a trade, and we're going to look to do the same thing again this year."

This year's Draft begins Thursday and runs through Saturday, starting with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the Top 77 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,500 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.