By Contributing Writer: Nick Stevens
We continue our look at how each of the Baltimore Orioles' 2016 MLB Draft picks performed in their first season in the organization. Today, we take a look at those players drafted by the O's in rounds 21-25.
|SS Chris Clare|
Photo: Patrick Cavey
Round 21: SS Chris Clare, High Point
After being drafted 631st overall out of High Point University, Chris Clare appeared in 47 games for the Aberdeen Ironbirds as a shortstop and third baseman. Chris finished the season with a .242 batting average, hit 2 home runs, and collected 14 RBI. Clare did record a respectable .344 OBP, but only managed a .327 slugging percentage and .671 OPS. In 153 at-bats, Clare managed only 7 doubles and struck out 35 times. Chris graduated from High Point with a career .320 batting average and hit .400 over his last five games with the Ironbirds, both of which are hopeful signs for the late-round pick.
Round 22: RHP Nick Gruener, Harvard
The former Crimson Tide starting pitcher did not see any action in 2016 after waiting until July 20th to sign with the Orioles. Gruener was drafted after his junior season where he started nine games, seven of which were complete games. Gruener's 2.76 ERA was a drastic decrease from his 6.96 sophomore campaign. Expect to see Gruener with either Aberdeen or the Gulf Coast league in 2017.
Round 23: LHP Tyler Erwin, New Mexico State
Erwin had a very successful season with the Aberdeen Ironbirds last year, appearing in 13 games out of the bullpen. The lefty finished the season with a 2-1 record and 3.22 ERA. The biggest struggle faced by Erwin was leadoff hitters, who hit .350 off of him. Fellow contributor, Chuck Boemmel, has a full 2016 recap of Tyler Erwin which can be found here.
Round 24: LHP Zach Matson, Crowder CC
The Orioles used the 721st pick in the 2016 draft on JUCO LHP Zach Matson, who spent his rookie campaign with the Gulf Coast Orioles. The reliever appeared in 17 games, pitched 30.1 innings, and compiled an 0-4 record with a 2.97 ERA. Matson fared much better against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .250 average (compared to .306 against lefties). Despite entering college with a fastball that only reached 80 MPH, Matson's delivery and arm action have continued to impress scouts as he has progressed. Matson needs another strong performance this season to remain a viable bullpen option for the Orioles down the road.
Round 25: 3B Will Toffey, Vanderbilt
Toffey did not sign with the Orioles after last year's draft, and instead returned to Vanderbilt University for the 2017 season.
Be sure to check out our previous pieces on those chosen in rounds 1-20, and keep an eye out for the remainder of our recaps on the O's draft picks from rounds 21-40.