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2023 MLB draft, Day 2 tracker: Orioles continue run on college players, select three more pitchers


After drafting Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. in the first round of the MLB draft Sunday night, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias detailed the confidence he has in the organization’s scouting of college players.

“We pour a ton of data analysis resources into college statistics and college data,” Elias said, “so anytime we can take an elite college player, we feel good about the work that’s gone into that.”

But Bradfield was just the beginning of the Orioles’ run on college players. Each of Baltimore’s first eight selections were college players, including North Carolina outfielder-third baseman Mac Horvath and Florida State right-hander Jackson Baumeister on Day 1 and five more on Day 2.

Baumeister’s selection was somewhat of a surprise considering the Elias regime’s preference to pick position players early in drafts. At No. 63 overall, Baumeister became the first pitcher Baltimore has drafted within the first three rounds since Elias took over in November 2018. The Orioles drafted three more college pitches on Day 2.

With the three college players on Day 1, Orioles director of draft operations Brad Ciolek said he was “ecstatic” about how the beginning of the draft went. They took three more college players to open Day 2.

Here’s a breakdown of Baltimore’s selections from the second day of the MLB draft.

Round 3 (86th overall): Washington right-hander Kiefer Lord

Skinny: A little more than a year ago, Lord was a Division III pitcher for Carleton College in Minnesota. He transferred to Division I Washington for his junior season, earning a reputation as a hard-throwing righty with upside. With the Huskies, Lord went 6-5 with a 6.19 ERA and 1.316 WHIP, but he struck out 78 batters in 75 2/3 innings versus just 17 walks. Lord, 21, joins Baumeister as the only two pitchers the Orioles have selected in the first three rounds since Elias’ first draft in 2019. Baseball America ranked Lord as the 97th-best prospect in the draft pool.

Recommended bonus slot: $808,200

Round 3 (100th overall): Arkansas outfielder Tavian Josenberger

Skinny: When the Orioles drafted pitcher Nolan McLean in the fourth round of the 2022 draft, that was the highest Elias had selected a pitcher. However, Baltimore and McLean couldn’t come to an agreement after the draft, and the compensatory pick the Orioles received as a result was used to draft Josenberger. The 21-year-old played his first two college seasons at Kansas before transferring to Arkansas for the 2023 campaign. While he had success with the Jayhawks, Josenberger, who played both outfield and second base in his college career, had his best season with the Razorbacks, slashing .287/.414/.490 — good for a .904 OPS. He becomes the second Arkansas outfielder to be drafted by the Orioles in the past four years, joining 2020′s No. 2 overall pick Heston Kjerstad, who has zoomed through the minors over the past year and is now in Triple-A. Baseball America ranked Josenberger as the 246th-best prospect in the draft pool.

Recommended bonus slot: $671,800

Round 4 (118th overall): Texas State right-hander Levi Wells

Skinny: As a freshman at Texas Tech, Wells walked 23 batters in 17 2/3 innings as a reliever. The 6-foot-2 righty transferred to Texas State and instantly found his command as a starter, lowering his walk rate from 25% in 2021 to 8.4% between in 2022 and 2023. After posting a 3.07 ERA as a sophomore, he recorded a 5.02 mark this spring, but he improved his strikeout rate, punching out 98 batters in 80 2/3 innings. Wells, 21, was ranked by Baseball America as the 111th-best prospect in the draft pool.

Recommended bonus slot: $563,600

Round 5 (154th overall): UNC Charlotte outfielder Jake Cunningham

Skinny: After struggling as an 18-year-old freshman in 2021, Cunningham emerged as one of Conference USA’s top sluggers the past two seasons. In 2022, the center fielder hit 16 home runs, stole 16 bases and posted a whopping 1.005 OPS. Cunningham, who turned 21 last week, hit 11 long balls with an .878 OPS as a junior in 2023. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound outfielder was ranked by Baseball America as the 140th-best prospect in the draft pool.

Recommended bonus slot: $396,700

Round 6 (181st overall): Samford right-handed pitcher Jacob Cravey

Skinny: Cravey was one of 12 Division I pitchers to throw more than 100 innings this spring, and the 6-foot-6 righty struck out more batters than all but eight pitchers. In 104 2/3 innings, Cravey struck out 126 batters while walking 40 and posting a 3.10 ERA and a 9-2 record. Baseball America ranked the 21-year-old as the 321st-best prospect in the draft pool.

Recommended bonus slot: $312,300

This story will be updated.

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