The first day of the MLB Draft saw the Orioles welcome new overall No. 1 pick, shortstop Jackson Holliday, to the organization, along with three college bats.
Day two of the draft saw the Orioles go in another direction, as GM Mike Elias and company would select five pitchers with the eight picks on the day.
Let’s take a look at whom the Birds picked on Day Two of the draft.
RHP (3B) Nolan McLean – Oklahoma State
A two-way player for Oklahoma State, the Orioles drafted McLean with an eye on his pitching abilities.
Possessing a fastball that can hit 98 mph, he uses a downer curve and power slider that could become plus pitches. Used primarily as a reliever, McLean struck out 39 in 25.1 innings of work and would walk 13 batters, limiting opponents to a .206 batting average.
As a two-way player, McLean hit .285 with 19 home runs across 64 games at third base but would strike out 107 times in 242 at-bats.
C Silas Ardoin – University of Texas
Of course, with Adley Rutschman, many feel catching is set for the foreseeable future, but the O’s still have minor league teams in need of catching depth.
Ardoin was the first pick of the fourth round, coming in at 6-foot and 215 pounds. He was regarded as one of the top defensive catchers, as he threw out 66.7% of would be base stealers (22 of 33 gunned down).
Though he was charged with five errors and eight passed balls, Ardoin is revered for how he handles a pitching staff.
The former Longhorn hit .271 this past season with 20 doubles and 12 home runs. He collected 39 walks, showing plate discipline, as well as raising his slugging percentage nearly 200 points to .513.
His defense is his strong suit, and if his power continues to develop and he maintains his plate discipline, he has potential that could make him a starting catcher at the big league level.
RHP Trace Bright – Auburn University
Although a righty with a strong fastball capable of hitting the upper 90’s, throwing a 12-6 curve with a plus changeup led Bright to striking out 94 batters in 80 innings of work.
Though his strikeout numbers are impressive, Bright does have a tendency to be erratic and walk batters. Lowering his walk rate will help him succeed as a pro.
His 2022 stats are an outlier of the potential and work that needs to be done. He walked 38 batters, giving a little better than two for one strikeout to walk ratio, and his ERA was 5.13.
Harnessing his control is where the task will be, as the potential to be a good ball player is there with the right coaching.
OF Douglas Hodo III – University of Texas
Hodo was the second player from Texas the Orioles drafted on day two. A center fielder who improved each season from 2020 onward, the upside is strong with Hodo.
Possessing plus speed, Hodo stole 17 bases the past two seasons, a number he can improve upon as a professional. His speed makes him a strong center fielder, this past season finishing with a fielding percentage of 1.000.
Batting lead-off for Texas most of the year, he would hit .319 with 10 home runs and 26 doubles (which led the nation), while slugging .532, collecting 47 RBIs and scoring 73 runs.
RHP Preston Johnson – Mississippi State
Beef, as he is nicknamed, is coming to Birdland. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, it’s easy to see why Johnson gets his nickname.
The big righty was a reliever in 2021, posting a 4-0 record with a 3.82 ERA in 22 innings, striking out 50 against 14 walks. He moved to the rotation for the 2022 season.
He would go on to lead the Bulldogs in innings pitched with 79, as well as strikeouts with 117. His downfall was his ERA of 5.70, as he allowed 18 home runs on the season.
He has a knack to walk batters and presses, which then leads to him giving up home runs. He has a plus fastball and will need to develop average secondary pitches to enhance his potential.
RHP Cameron Weston – University of Michigan
The young righty was listed as the No. 4 overall draft prospect for the Big-10 Conference by d1Baseball.com.
A strong sophomore season helped propel that ranking, as he would go 7-3 with a 2.81 ERA. He limited opponents to a .226 batting average across a team-leading 83.1 innings.
He had a slow start to his junior year but finished strong, allowing just five earned runs over his last eight starts. Four of those runs were in the final game of the season against Louisville.
In the Cape Cod League, Weston would go 4-0 with two saves across 21.1 innings while striking out 21.
He uses a mid-90s fastball with a nasty slider that has upside velocity. Control under pressure is something that needs work in order for Weston to succeed.
SS Adam Crampton – Standford University
The junior from Stanford, Crampton makes his impact on defense.
While his offensive output was not eye-popping, Crampton still had an OBP of .395 when hitting .319 on the season. He would tally 40 RBIs on the year, while hitting one home run and stealing 11 bases.
Defensively, Crampton would commit only five errors on the year and hold a .980 fielding percentage. He totalled 71 put outs and 174 assists on the season as the undisputed defensive leader for Stanford, on his way to being named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
He possesses plus speed and a strong defensive prowess. His offense will need to improve for him to make an impact and not be a liability at the plate.
RHP Wyatt Cheney – McLennan CC (Texas)
Cheney, a standout at McLennan Community College, played in 16 games, 15 starts, this season, while compiling a 10-3 record.
His ERA was 3.20 across 81.2 innings of work, as he struck out an amazing 122 batters and allowed only 20 walks.
Cheney would pitch five complete games, a rarity in baseball today, while also throwing three shut-outs. Opponents would bat only .191 against him, as he allowed only seven home runs.
He pitched at Oklahoma State University for two seasons, where he struggled with some command issues. There is obviously talent there, whether it can be harnessed is the question that will need to be answered.
We look forward to seeing these new Birds grow and become a part of the Orioles’ future. Will they be the next star in the making?
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