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Baltimore balances needs in 2013 Draft

Starting with high-school star Harvey, O's build pitching depth

BALTIMORE -- Like the 29 other organizations across Major League Baseball, the Orioles got better this week.

How much better remains to be seen and could take years to decipher. But the Orioles added as many as 41 new players to the system via the three-day First-Year Player Draft, which began Thursday and concluded Saturday with rounds 11-40.

More than half of the players the Orioles selected in the Draft (23 of 41) were pitchers, adding depth coveted by teams across MLB.

After selecting just four pitchers in the first 11 picks, scouting director Gary Rajsich said he made a concerted effort to go after pitching on the third and final day of the Draft.

Starting with Steven Brault in the 11th round, the Orioles at one point used nine of 13 selections on college pitchers.

"The Draft is the best way to add pitching to your organization, and we were bound and determined to get some," Rajsich said. "I think we got some good arms, power arms in there."

High-school hurler Hunter Harvey already has the Orioles organization excited. Their top selection Thursday went No. 22 overall.

"I think his future is as a front-of-the-rotation starter," Rajsich said. "He's got a great arm; he's got a really good delivery. He's got a good, projectable body and a live fastball, a good curveball and a changeup. So we think he's going to be a good one."

Prep outfielder Josh Hart and prep catcher Chance Sisco rounded out Day 1 of selections for the club.

The Orioles drafted three catchers in their first seven selections and added a fourth catcher in the 10th round. But they did not select any the rest of the way.

"I think we're set up pretty well to have some young catchers to platoon and get at-bats," Rajsich said. "I think there's enough games and enough at-bats for all of them. As they're becoming professional, getting used to playing every day, I think it's a good situation for everyone."

Early in the Draft, it was almost all prep athletes: six of the Orioles' first seven selections were out of high school, including all three of the team's Day 1 picks.

But after that, the Orioles had a run of eight consecutive selections from beyond the high-school ranks, and they seemed to key in on college pitching in rounds 11-40 on Day 3. In all, more than half of the Orioles' selections were pitchers, the majority at the collegiate level.

In terms of position players, the Orioles took a balanced approach. They selected four corner infielders, five middle infielders and five outfielders to go along with the four catchers. But it was not until the 15th round that the team took its first middle infielder.

The organization now has until 5 p.m. ET on July 12 to sign draftees.

In the Pipeline

The Orioles used the 2013 Draft class to inject pitching into their organization.

The club has seen two former top prospects recently graduate to the Major Leagues in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

The team's total of 23 pitchers taken in this Draft class figures to add to a farm system in which pitchers represent five of the top 10 prospects. Bundy and Gausman have already pitched in the big leagues, but pitchers such as Eduardo Rodriguez (No. 4), Branden Kline (No. 8) and Mike Wright (No. 9) are also potential future MLB contributors.

Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DerekatDotCom.
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