Examining Baltimore Orioles' 2016 Draft Picks' Performances in 2016: Rounds 1-5

By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.

The Baltimore Orioles selected 41 players throughout the 40 rounds of the 2016 MLB Draft this past June. Most experts have rated the Orioles draft overall as a B/B+. The selections were mainly pitchers (27 of 41) and this has led to both praise for addressing a need and criticism for not selecting enough bats. Either way the overall value of the 2016 draft picks will not be fully known for a few more years; it takes about five years to fully evaluate a MLB draft class.

Today, we will take a look at the players selected in rounds 1-5 of the 2016 Draft.

RHP Cody Sedlock
Photo: Patrick Cavey

Round 1: RHP Cody Sedlock, University of Illinois
Sedlock was assigned to the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Class-A Short) where he started nine games resulting in an 0-1 record over 27.0 innings with a 3.00 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Additionally, he limited New York-Penn League batters to a .158 batting average. Sedlock possesses four pitches: a two-seam fastball that sinks heavily, a slider, curveball and change-up. His fastball sits in the 91-93 mph range while his slider will miss bats. He does need to work on his curve and change-up however. Seen as the Orioles’ #1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the staff of BabyBirdland rated Sedlock as the #2 prospect in their top-15 list. The Orioles are confident enough in Sedlock that they are expected to bump him up a level to Class-A High Frederick in 2017.

Round 2: LHP Keegan Akin, Western Michigan University 

Akin was also assigned to Aberdeen where he pitched 26.0 innings in nine starts for the Ironbirds. His record was 0-1 with a 1.04 ERA and 0.85 WHIP while holding opponents to a .161 batting average. MLB Pipeline has Akin as the Orioles’ #8 prospect while BabyBirdland rates him #5. Akin throws a fastball in the 91-94 mph range as well as both an average slider and change-up; at this point the control of his fastball is better than that of his other two pitches. Projected as a starter in the Major Leagues, John Manuel of Baseball America feels he has the potential to move up the organizational ladder the fastest of all the 2016 draftees. Akin is expected to make the jump to Frederick in 2017.

Round 2: RHP Matthias Dietz, John A Logan College (JuCo)

Dietz joined Sedlock and Akin in Aberdeen where he started seven games and pitched 18.2 innings to a 0-3 record with a 4.82 ERA and 1.71 WHIP with opponents hitting .306 off of him. He was considered the best Junior College player in the 2016 draft. His fastball sits in the 91-94 mph range while his slider has improved enough to be considered solid. Akin does need to improve both his change-up and his fastball command however. His projected role in the Major Leagues could be as a power starter or as a late inning reliever depending on his future development; he added 10 pounds last season which did add to his strength on the mound. MLB Pipeline has him #7 and BabyBirdland has him #9 on their respective prospects list. Orioles Farm Director Brian Graham has called Dietz the sleeper of the 2016 draft. I think Dietz will pitch for Delmarva (Class-A Low) in 2017.

Round 3: OF Austin Hays, Jacksonville University

Hays also played for the Ironbirds in 2016. He slashed .336/ .386/ .514 in 140 at bats over 38 games with 21 RBI and four home runs. Defensively he played all three outfield positions and handled 46 chances with a .978 fielding percentage while committing only one error. Projected as a corner outfielder, Hays has a plus arm and is considered the O’s #14 prospect by MLB Pipeline. We here at BabyBirdland placed him #12 in our top-15 list. It is expected that Hays will be fast-tracked as well and will patrol the outfield for the Frederick Keys in 2017.

Round 4: RHP Brenan Hanifee, Turner Ashby High School (Va)

Hanifee was assigned to the Gulf Coast Orioles (Class-Rookie) but did not see any game action in 2016. He has a fastball which sits in the 88-91 mph range and should increase as he grows. Hanifee’s slider and change-up will need to be worked on as he progresses. Currently Hanifee is listed as the #19 Orioles prospect by MLB Pipeline and I expect him to pitch in Aberdeen in 2017. BabyBirdland contributing writer Nick Stevens has seen Hanifee pitch in person and assess him here.

Round 5: IF Alexis Torres, Colegio Angel David High School (Puerto Rico)
Torres a 19 year old, made not only the jump to professional baseball but the jump to the United States as well as he slashed .183/ .293/ .252 in 37 games for the Gulf Coast Orioles. He possesses smooth hands and an above average arm. Playing both 2B and SS in 2016 Torres handled 90 total chances with a .978 fielding percentage with only two errors. While his 2016 season was an up and down one, I expect him to play in Aberdeen for the Ironbirds in 2017.

The first five rounds of the 2016 MLB Draft produced four MLB Pipeline Top-30 prospects and shows glimmers of hope for both the low levels of the Orioles’ organization now and the big club in the not so distant future.

Be sure to check back as we will recap every player selected by the Orioles in all 40 rounds.


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