Orioles add infield depth, taking Martin, Jackson in Rule 5 draft - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles add infield depth, taking Martin, Jackson in Rule 5 draft

Photo credit: Rick Scuteri - USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS—The Orioles came away from the Rule 5 draft with players they wanted. They selected shortstop Richie Martin from the Oakland Athletics organization. The Orioles had the first pick in the draft, and Martin was who they targeted all along.

Martin was Oakland’s first-round pick in 2015, and last year hit .300 with six home runs and 42 RBIs for Double-A Midland. He stole 25 bases and was thrown out 10 times.

The Orioles acquired infielder Drew Jackson from the Philadelphia Phillies for international signing bonus money. Jackson was selected by the Phillies with the 11th selection in the Rule 5 draft.

Jackson was a fifth-round selection by Seattle in the 2015 draft. He hit .251 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs for Double-A Tulsa. He can play shortstop and second base.

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“Shortstops are a hole right now,” Tripp Norton, Orioles director of baseball operations said. “Acquiring both Richie and Drew gives us options to look at in spring training to see what we can do with our shortstop situation.

The Orioles also have Jonathan Villar, who general manager Mike Elias labeled the team’s “primary shortstop” on Monday.

“With Richie, we saw him as an above-average defender with plus-range and a plus arm at short, somebody that can also move over to second base,” Norton said.

Even though Martin was the most highly publicized of draft-eligible players, Norton said the selection wasn’t assured.

“There was a lot of discussion on it. It wasn’t a slam-dunk,” Norton said.

This is the third consecutive year the Orioles have taken multiple players in the Rule 5 draft. Norton said the Orioles had a list of four or five players, who were all taken quickly.

“Drew is a very versatile infielder, similar to Ryan Flaherty,” Norton said. “Offensively, they’re similar players and can provide above-average defense.”

The Orioles didn’t lose any players in the major league portion of the draft and have a full 40-man roster.

They picked right-handed pitcher Taylor Grover from Cincinnati in the minor league draft. Grover, once a 10th-round selection by Boston, played independent ball last season, and the Orioles liked that his fastball occasionally reached 100 mph.

“Our pitching people are excited to bring him to the organization and see where we can take him,” Kent Qualls, director of minor league operations said.

Corban Joseph, who hit .222 (4-for-18) with three RBIs in 14 games for the Orioles, was selected by Oakland in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles also lost outfielder Randolph Gassaway, right-hander Jeffeson Medina and first baseman Wilson Garcia.

“I’m not surprised Corban was selected,” Qualls said. “His performance last year, his on-base capability, I’m sure that’s something that attracted Oakland.”

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    December 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Baseball America ranked Martin as their top rule 5 player. I am not surprised he was their pick. As noted he hit at AA so hopefully he can make a successful transition to the majors.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 13, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      I like the idea the Orioles added a Richard to their organization, Grand Strand.

  2. Orial

    December 13, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Jackson was picked up in a trade. Does that still qualify him as a Rule 5? Can’t be good news for Jace Peterson or Steve Wilkerson.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 13, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      Yes, he’s still a Rule 5, Orial.

  3. bmorebirds

    December 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Great stuff. The Orioles infield had morphed into an iron-gloved house of horrors. Lot of buzz around switch-hitting Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. Wouldn’t be surprised if Elias & Co. draft Rutschman No. 1 come June. Defense rules.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 13, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      We have nearly six months to debate the No. 1 draft pick, bmorebirds.

  4. jkneps63

    December 13, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Good OBP for both Martin (0.368) and Jackson (0.356) last year at AA – hope it carries over to decent OBP at MLB in 2019! Jackson drew a walk every 9 or 10 PA in the minors. Hoping the O’s team OBP of 0.298 in 2018 will see a nice improvement in 2019.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 13, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      Hopefully, they’ll be helpful, jkneps.

  5. Jbigle1

    December 13, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Keep them both. No need to Make any major league acquisitions. Let Villar and Martin play up the middle and keep Jackson and as your utility guy. If Jackson can’t kick it send him back but I have to imagine Martin is cemented on the 2019 roster. Valera and Jayce Peterson are the biggest competition and we don’t need to be sending any young guys back for jace

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 13, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      I think both will have a chance to stick, jbigle.

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