Friday, January 26, 2007

Where Are They Now?: The 1999 Baltimore Orioles Draftees

The Orioles had seven – that’s right, seven – first round draft picks in 1999. The first six never amounted to much, many flamed out fast. But the seventh was Brian Roberts and that fact alone makes this one of the better drafts in recent history. Here they are:

Mike Paradis – P - Clemson University – 1st Round

Paradis never pitched that well in the minors, compiling a 29-47 with a 5.25 ERA in 106 starts. He appears to be out of baseball.

Rich Stahl – P - High School – 1st Round

Rick made it all the way to AA Bowie last season and then ended up in the Reds organization, getting a cup of coffee in AAA Louisville. He has gone 27-39 with a 4.23 ERA in 96 minor league starts.

Larry Bigbie – OF - Ball State University – 1st Round

Bigbie was a good pick, not for what he did for the O’s but for who they were able to trade him for. Sadly, Eric Byrnes was not resigned to play left last year and the O’s got only a third of a season out of him and a poor third at that. No, Byrnes wasn’t a great player but he would’ve been better than any of the other candidates Baltimore had in left last year.

Oh, what happened to Bigbie? He eventually ended up in St. Louis but had a lot of injuries last year. He got released by the Cardinals but I imagine someone will pick him up on a minor league contract at least.

Keith Reed – OF- Providence College – 1st Round

Reed is very appropriately named because he is built like one. Tall and lanky, Reed never filled out or developed much power or plate discipline. Fast but never was able to translate that into steals. Has had a cup of coffee in the bigs but looks to be a AAA+ guy at this point.

Joshua Cenate – P- High School – 1st Round

Appears to have gotten hurt during or shortly after his first year in the rookie leagues. Surfaces again in 2003 as a batter for Bluefield and Aberdeen with exactly one AB in one game for each. Odd to say the least. Out of baseball.

Scott Rice – P- High School – 1st Round

Made it to AAA Ottawa last year and but up some average numbers. Went 3-4 with a 3.86 ERA but his K/BB ratio is not good.

Brian Roberts – SS – University of South Carolina – 1st Round

We all know Brian. All-Star second baseman.

John Kessick – C – Ball State University – 3rd Round

Hit .194 over three minor league seasons. Out of baseball.

Erik Bedard – P - Norwalk Tech University – 6th Round

Developed into a nice number two (or better) starter for the big club.

Dave Farren – P - High School – 7th Round

Reached as high as high A Frederick in 2003, compiled a 15-23 record with a 4.28 ERA. Out of baseball.

Number that are regular contributors for the Orioles: 2
Number still in the organization: 4
Number traded for regular contributors: 0
Number out of baseball: 4
Diamonds in the rough: 2


Even with a lot of guys that missed badly, you have to chalk this up as a very successful draft. The diamonds in the rough were Willie Harris (24th Round) and Aaron Rakers (23rd Round). Harris was traded for Chris Singleton, a decent glove guy who played centerfield for the O’s in 2001. I did not count Harris as one who was traded for a regular contributor since Singleton stayed just the one year. Rakers looked to be a factor in the bullpen before he hurt his shoulder and missed the 2006 season. He may still pay dividends in the future.

You’d like to have seen more than one of the first rounders develop into useful players but it only takes a couple of good players to make a sub-par draft a great one. The O’s got an All-Star caliber second baseman and a potential ace in their first 10 picks. If you do that every year, you’re a World Series contender. This was Frank Wren’s only draft for the O’s and you have to wonder why.

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