The Orioles were very active in the first couple rounds of the 2015 MLB Draft.
Although the draft played out almost exactly as most mock guru’s had it, there were some surprises including what the Orioles did with their comp pick for Nelson Cruz at number 36. Here are the details from an active night for the Birds:
Number 25 overall in the first round and someone we predicted here was outfielder D.J. Stewart from Florida State. Here is what I said about him during my draft preview:
D.J. Stewart (6′,0″, 230), OF, Florida St. – Excellent bat speed, great pitch recognition, with plenty of power from the left side. He was ACC Player of the Year in 2014 and is a junior.
The Orioles brass were targeting not only a hitter with their first selection, but a college instead of a high school player with a great track record. Stewart checks all those boxes and I expect he tops out as a corner OF in the bigs and has potential to be a poor man’s Nick Markakis with a little more power. Based on where the Orioles selected him, there was no over-reaching for this selection. The slot value for this pick is $2,064,500.
With their #36 pick, a comp pick for Nelson Cruz, the Orioles selected high school shortstop Ryan Mountcastle out of Winterspring, FL.
His size — 6’4″, 200 pounds –could remind many Orioles fans of a former HOF shortstop from the area drafted in 1982 (Cal Rip), but most draft experts think the Orioles reached with this selection. Others say it screams a money saving type move since Mountcastle is committed to University of Central Florida. Here are his details:
Mountcastle has played all over the infield and could end up at third base. He reportedly has a fluid fielding motion and a good arm. He also possesses a high-quality bat, making him one of the top hitters out of the middle infield prospects.
Most scouts thought of Mountcastle as a projected third round selection.
With their 68th selection overall, the Orioles selected another high schooler in RHP Jonathan Hughes out of Flowery Branch, Ga.
This 6′, 1″ 185 pound flame-thrower has committed to Georgia Tech, but could be a player looking to sign a MLB contract instead. Scouts and mock experts liked this selection, if he decides to sign.