Sunday night, the Orioles had the first overall pick for just the third time in their history. The first two were Ben McDonald in 1989 and Adley Rutschman in 2019. Funny enough, in ’89, the Orioles were in a similar situation, going from basement dwellers to fighting for a playoff berth.
As big as 1.1 is, you can’t overstate the value of competitive balance and second round picks. It’s where we’ve found guys like Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg, and Kyle Stowers, all guys who figure in to be key pieces of this rebuild. Elias went back to the well, collecting a bunch of highly touted bats early and I love the strategy. Much easier to hit on young bats and we can acquire pitching later.
So, without further ado, let’s meet these guys:
Jackson Holliday, 1.1
You probably know it by now, but this kid mashes, .685 is absolutely disgusting. Of those record breaking 89 hits in 40 games, 28 were doubles, 5 were triples and 17 were home runs. He’s got all five tools. The MLB broadcast said you can see his hit tool and then he has the speed of Trea Turner, the power of Corey Seager (although he’s a bit shorter), and the defense of Brandon Crawford. Sign me all the way up. You probably also know that he’s the son of Matt Holliday. But did you know that Holliday kept him around the clubhouse all the time? That he got to soak up the atmosphere and the knowledge? That Nolan Arenado had a big impact on the kid during Holliday’s last year there? Sounds familiar… like maybe the son of a coach… that played a ton of games in a row… okay I’ll stop. BUT the pedigree is there. The kid has been walking around with a bat in his hand since before he could walk. Family oriented, he was going to play for his uncle at OK State. Good head on his shoulders. Sounds like the type of young man that I want around my clubhouse. I see a very bright future for Jackson Holliday in Birdland.
Dylan Beavers, CB A, Pick 33
The outfielder out of Cal is another power bat from the left side. I can’t say I’m shocked that Elias loves his lefties considering the move he made with the Great Wall of Camden. Beavers is one of the younger college eligible guys, he’s only 20. Long, lengthy kid his player comps were Kyle Tucker and Christian Yelich. Again, give me all of that. Over his two full seasons at Cal, he hit around .300, slugged at .630 both years and topped a .400 OBP, good enough for first team All-Pac12 both years. Big league scouts say theres a bit of a hole in his swing, but I trust our development guys. Stowers’ strikeout and walk percentages have gotten better every year, so I’m not worried about that. Can never have enough bats.
Max Wagner, round 2, pick 42
This one feels like a steal. Max Wagner was the 2022 ACC player of the year for Clemson after starting the season on the bench and coming in as a defensive replacement. And then he still finished third in the country in homers, while tying Clemson’s single season record. As far as I can tell, he’s a guy who rates well with the analytics and also produces. He barrels up a ton of pitches resulting in hard contact and in his case, they tend to leave the yard. Great Wall of Camden won’t spook this kid. As with any power bat, he tends to walk a lot, making him a true value pick at 42 for Elias and co.
Jud Fabian, CB B, pick 67
Last but not least, the Orioles pick up Jud Fabian, or as he’s better known according to the Florida Gators’ twitter, Juddy Jacks. Interestingly enough, the Orioles were planning on taking Fabian with the 41st pick in last year’s draft and were going to offer him overslot money to leave Florida. Sadly, the poverty Red Sox took him at pick 40 but he didn’t sign HAHAHAH. Don’t blame ya kid. So instead, he went back to Florida, worked on his craft, and landed in Baltimore anyway. A lot of people still had first round grades on him, but presumably were worried about signability a year after walking away from the Sox. That said, you never love to see a .240 batting average on a kid at the college level but he still hit 24 homers and had an OBP of .414. Again, sounds like an analytical darling and with some instruction down in the minors, we’ll work on that swing and miss factor. I love this kid and you should too. Juddy Jacks will be fun to watch at the Yard.
All in all, Elias is putting together another masterclass in the draft and should we be shocked at this point? He’s built the number 1 farm system and the current squad is .500 at the All Star break. The rest of the league should be very afraid of what’s to come in Baltimore, because we just got even better.