A day after selecting the top high school pitcher with their first pick, the Baltimore Orioles have selected a college infielder and a college pitcher with their picks in the 2nd and 3rd round. The Orioles selected Vanderbilt 3B/SS Jason Esposito with their 2nd round pick (64th overall) and then used their 3rd round pick (#94 overall) to select East Carolina right- hander Mike Wright.
Esposito is know more for his glove than his bat, as he primarily played shortstop in college. He is projected to move to third and will need his bat to become more consistent. I college, Esposito showed good power potential, but was an up and down performer. He reportedly needs to work on his swing mechanics to improve as a hitter. His glove, however, should play well at third and he is plenty mobile for the position.
Wright is a tall right-handed power arm, who could move more quickly through the minors if the Orioles stick him in the bullpen. Wright had a big junior year at East Carolina and as a result moved up a lot of draft boards. He has the potential to be a late bloomer and could help an area of need should he end up in the bullpen. The Orioles have struggled to develop many bullpen arms and it is likely that Wright could be put on the same tract as last years third round pick Dan Klein.
The Orioles had to wait until pick 64 for their second round selection as their were nearly 30 sandwich compensation picks handed out by MLB for free agent signings. Where the O’s selected Esposito is equivalent to a late 2nd round/early third round pick. Many of the compensation picks ended up in the AL East as the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox had a total of 20 picks in between the Orioles 1st and 2nd round pick. This makes it even more imperative that the club makes the right pick in the early rounds.