BALTIMORE -- With its seventh-round pick in the Draft on Friday, the Orioles organization added a familiar name, selecting Preston Palmeiro, the son of former Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro, with the 211th overall selection.Preston Palmeiro, a first baseman out of North Carolina State, has made significant strides after going undrafted
BALTIMORE -- With its seventh-round pick in the Draft on Friday, the Orioles organization added a familiar name, selecting Preston Palmeiro, the son of former Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro, with the 211th overall selection.
Preston Palmeiro, a first baseman out of North Carolina State, has made significant strides after going undrafted out of high school. He was the Wolfpack's starting first baseman in 2015 as a sophomore, when he batted .305/.381/.456 with 13 doubles, seven home runs and 49 RBIs. He improved to .337 with nine homers and 55 RBIs this season as a junior. While considered a good hitter, Palmeiro has not convinced some scouts he'll ultimately be able to hit for power.
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"Today was a stressful day," Rafael said of monitoring the Day 2 picks going off the board. "I guess from all the info we got from scouts, there was an expectation of where he was going to go in the Draft and we kind of had an idea of the teams interested in him, Baltimore being one of them. It was very stressful having to sit around and wait. ... The pressure builds and builds, and it becomes a relief when it happens. I'm thankful that he's going to get an opportunity to play at the next level. It's extra special that it's Baltimore, obviously."
Preston, 21, is a three-year starter and was the first first baseman taken by the Orioles this year. The junior is a left-handed hitter who is listed at six-foot and 185 pounds.
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Preston's brother Patrick was signed to a Minor League deal by the O's out of the Atlantic League, but he was released when Spring Training ended. Patrick took to Twitter after Friday's pick to say: "So proud of @Ppalm25 getting drafted by the Orioles! All the hard work has paid off. So excited to watch your career take off!"
"Going into today, he didn't really have a preference," Rafael said of Preston. "To me, [being picked by the Orioles] is extra special because I played there and he's familiar with it, lived there for seven years. The last couple of years, he was a little bitty baby, and he doesn't remember a lot of it, but he remembers a little bit of it and knows there's Baltimore Orioles stuff all over my house. I'm sure he's happy, but I think, more than anything, he's relieved that part of it is behind him, and he's looking forward to moving forward to the next step."
Rafael Palmeiro, a four-time All-Star, played two stints with the Orioles, from 1994-98 and from 2004-05, making his final Major League appearance Aug. 30, 2005. He was suspended for 10 games just days after recording his 3,000th hit for testing positive for a banned substance. Palmeiro has never admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Because of his failed drug test, Palmeiro has not come close to receiving the votes needed to reach the Hall of Fame despite posting impressive career statistics. He retired a career .288/.371/.515 hitter with 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Orioles Hall of Famer Eddie Murray are the only players in Major League history with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.