Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mike Mussina, 1991 Score #383

It's draft day! How's about I put together a Top Ten list? Too late, I've already made up my mind. Here are the Orioles' best picks in each of the first ten rounds of the June amateur draft, or Rule 4 if you're persnickety about it:

1. Mike Mussina (20th overall, 1990): At least until fellow righty pitcher Dylan Bundy arrives in Baltimore on his flaming chariot. Eventually, I think Matt Wieters will also give Moose a run for his money. If you're a fan of Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement (bWAR), Mussina is the career leader among O's number ones with 78.2. He is followed by the 19th overall pick from 1967, Bobby Grich (67.3). 1999 supplemental rounder and 50th overall pick Brian Roberts is a distant third with 27.4 bWAR to date.

2. Cal Ripken, Jr. (48th overall, 1978): Hopefully this choice requires no explanation. 90.9 bWAR for Junior, as well as more easily digestible numbers like 2,632 consecutive games played and 431 home runs. Lurking behind Cal are Don Baylor, who was chosen after Grich with pick #39 in 1967, and Arthur Rhodes, who was once a high school athlete in the way-back of 1988 (34th overall).

3. Eddie Murray (63rd overall, 1973): Boy, there's not much drama in the early rounds. Once you get past Steady Eddie's 63.4 bWAR, the next-highest scorer is Alex Ochoa at 5.7. Lots of other role players: John Habyan, Kiko Garcia, Chris Ray, Anthony Telford, Jeff Tackett...Zach Britton (85th overall in 2006) could be the runner-up in a few years.

4. Brad Bergesen (109th overall, 2004): Here you can see how top-heavy baseball's draft can be. Bergy has a career bWar of 2.3. In his 2009 rookie season, he was worth 3.0 wins above replacement. That should tell you something about how his career has unfolded. The only other fourth rounders to even play in the big leagues for the O's are Blake Davis, Kyle Hudson, Carl Nichols, Jesse Jefferson, and Bob McCrory. Ouch.

5. Jim Johnson (143rd overall, 2001): That's better. Dirty Jim has succeeded in every role he's been assigned in the Baltimore bullpen, helping him accrue 7.7 bWAR in 284 career innings. Other fifth-rounders of interest: busted prospect Hayden Penn (-3.5 bWAR for the 2002 pick) and scuffling young starter Jake Arrieta (0.8 bWAR so far for the 2007 draftee).

6. Mike Boddicker (152nd overall, 1978): 134 career wins and a 108 ERA+ is a pretty good get, especially since Mike had to spend the better part of four seasons at AAA Rochester before breaking into the stacked O's rotation. He accumulated 29.1 bWAR if you're curious. He's still well ahead of 1999's #187 pick, Erik Bedard (16.8 bWAR).

7. Mike Flanagan (159th overall, 1973): How about that Oriole scouting department in the 1970s? I'm not aware of UMass-Amherst as a hotbed for baseball, but this lefty carved out an 18-year career in the majors, racking up 167 wins and 22.8 bWAR. His former teammate Storm Davis was another savvy pick in the seventh round of the 1979 draft (175th overall), totaling 113 wins and 15 bWAR.

8. Chris Britton (233rd overall, 2001): Woof. Here's another dead spot for the Birds. Chris managed 1.2 bWAR in 78 games as a reliever with the O's and the Yankees. Jay Spurgeon and Chad Paronto are the other big league graduates on this meager list. Recent Oriole Eights include 2011 pick John Ruettiger (yes, Rudy's nephew) and 2008er Bobby Bundy, who was quite good last year but still seems destined to be known as Dylan's older brother.

9. Jack Voigt (221st overall, 1987): That's 1.5 career bWAR and a .726 OPS in 294 games for Johnny Oates' favorite bench contributor. The O's did select infielder Mike Lansing (8.3 bWAR) 219th overall in 1989, but he did not sign. The Expos landed him in 1991.

10. Luis Matos (291st overall, 1996): This pick looked a lot better when Luis was hitting .303/.353/.458 in 109 games as an Oriole at age 24, but injuries and questions about his work ethic accelerated the demise of his career and he was out of the majors within three years, leaving behind a total of 3.8 bWAR. Again, an unsigned pick went on to a better career elsewhere; in 1982, the Birds spent the 260th pick on a high school shortstop named Walt Weiss. He didn't sign until the Athletics tabbed him out of the University of North Carolina three years later, and he went on to win the 1988 AL Rookie of the Year Award (14.6 career bWAR).

So now you have a glimpse at what's gone right and wrong for the Orioles in the previous June drafts. Keep it all in mind as you read the glowing scouting reports on this year's haul.


jacobmrley said...

excellent use of 'persnickety'

Kevin said...

Max - Every once in a while, my English degree pays off. Once in a while.