Orioles arm themselves with pitching in Draft

Baltimore's three-day haul includes 27 pitchers

Orioles arm themselves with pitching in Draft

BALTIMORE -- Pitching was the name of the game going into the Draft for the Orioles, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette predicting the O's would use "more than half' of their selections on young arms.

And that's exactly what Baltimore did, compiling 27 pitchers. Twenty of the selections were college pitchers, including top three picks Cody Sedlock, Keegan Akin and Matthias Dietz, though the O's did take a flier on several high school arms.

"I'm really happy with the way things worked out," said Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich, who didn't expect a problem with any of the top three picks getting signed soon. "We focused on the arms, that would probably break a tie [in selecting each round]. Just looking at the free agents at the Major League level most of these guys cost a lot. So where there are good ones to Draft, it's the best way, for this organization at least, to acquire that."

Orioles' Draft Tracker

Baltimore's first position player taken was college outfielder Austin Hays (91st overall) out of Jacksonville University. Another outfielder, seventh-rounder Preston Palmeiro, made headlines as he's the son of former Orioles All-Star Rafael Palmeiro.

Rajsich described Hays a a "five-tool athlete" and was also happily surprised that Palmeiro was still on the board in the seventh round.

The O's picked 11 consecutive pitchers from Rounds 8 to 18, and used four of their final five picks on arms. Rajsich said, while the Os usually lean toward drafting pitching, it was an added emphasis this year.

O's take Sedlock No. 27 overall

"There was general feeling around us in scouting and player development, we feel like we are good with the bats we've drafted the past couple years," he said. "This way, by focus on pitching, those kids will get more at-bats and play another year and get that much more development."

The Orioles have always tried to add a local connection when possible in the Draft, and they did so again on Saturday's Day 3. Baltimore selected left-handed pitcher Tyler Blohm of Archbishop Spalding in the 17th round.

O's take power bat on Day 2

Blohm, listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, was the 511th overall selection and is committed to the University of Maryland. He was named a 2016 Rawlings Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Atlantic All-Region 2nd Team.

O's add local flavor on final day of Draft

"We got most of our guys which is a real good feeling," Rajsich said. "You hope the Draft works in your favor-, you hope certain guys are there. For example to get [Sedlock] at 27 was a nice surprise. To get Keegan Akin [in the second round] we thought for sure he'd be gone. Matthias we thought he'd be gone in the second round. All those things surprise you, but happily so."

There was one more surprise as Rajsich scanned his chart.

"I guess we didn't take any catchers," he said, "but that's OK because we had four All-Star catchers in our Minor League system. I wasn't focused on catching and that allowed me to focus on pitching a little more."

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.