Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 19

Orioles Victory Number 19: 1-0 over the New York Mets

2002 Topps Chris Smith

The Orioles swept a series! Sure it was just a two-game series and sure it was against the Mets. And, yeah, they only scored three runs in the entire series, but wins are wins at this point. Their ace pitched like one and their superstar drove in the only run.  It's just as it all should be.

Another thing that Dylan Bundy (the ace) and Manny Machado (the superstar) have in common? They were back-to-back first round picks for the Orioles. Not only that, but first round picks that actually panned out into every day players, unlike the previous handful of picks the organization made. Which is one of the problems that the Orioles have had in developing their system.

Chris Smith (pictured above) was one of those problems. From 1992 (Jeffrey Hammonds) to 2003 (Nick Markakis) the Orioles brass drafted a collection of busts and disappointments. Beau Hale, Mike Paradis, Darnell McDonald and Rick Elder all heard their names called by the Os in the first round. They all kind of sucked.

Chris Smith was drafted 7th overall in 2001 (with Casey Kotchman, Gabe Gross and Jeremy Bonderman, Dan Haren, Ryan Howard and David Wright were still available. Granted it wasn't the greatest draft of all time). Smith, a 5'11" left-hander from Cumberland Collage was a highly sought after power pitcher.

Granted he had only been pitching for a short time as a college player. He had spent two years at Florida State as a power hitting outfielder before transferring to Cumberland in order to become a pitcher.

He signed shortly after the draft and then was almost immediately injured. Over the next five years he only appeared in 24 games before retiring, never rising above A league ball. He never really recovered from a misdiagnosed rotator cuff and was soon out of professional baseball.

Lately the Orioles have been a little better at scouting talent. Machado (2010), Bundy(2011) and Kevin Gausman (2012) are all currently contributing to the big league team and the picks in the years that follow are among their highest ranked prospects. Ryan Mountcastle (2015) and Hunter Harvey (2013) are examples.

So, will their newest number one pick, Grayson Rodriguez, follow in the lines of Bundy or Smith? Unfortunately, only time will tell.

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