BALTIMORE—Enrique Bradfield Jr. was drafted by the Orioles on July 9th, signed eight days later, and now he’s eager to get to work. Bradfield, an outfielder from Vanderbilt,was the 17th overall pick in this year’s draft, and according to a source, signed for slot value of $4,169,700.
“I’m truly looking forward to getting to work and help this organization grow,” Bradfield said on Tuesday.
Bradfield hit .311 with a .426 on-base percentage in three years at Vanderbilt.
“Everybody knows my offensive game, putting together more consistency in that aspect,” Bradfield said. “I’m taking steps every day to get to where I need to be and being a part of this organization and having the right coaches, mentors to be able to guide me in the right direction is going to be really fun, and I think I’m going to do it rather quick.”
Bradfield stole 130 bases in 143 attempts at Vanderbilt, something that impressed Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.
“The conversation with him starts with his speed and defense,” Elias saidl “He’s also a very skilled hitter, a tremendous eye and idea of the strike zone, a willingness to use every part of the field to have team at-bats, to move runners over.”
On draft night, Elias said Bradfield was likely to start at the Florida Complex League in Sarasota and then move to Single-A Delmarva later in the summer.
“I think the thing that people, when they watch him play, will fall in love with … when he’s playing offense, it doesn’t end when he gets out of the batter’s box,” Elias said. “He’s a constant threat and presence when he’s on the bases. It changes the tone of the game when he’s out there. He figures out a way to help his team win.”
Elias said that he was happy Bradfield was around when the Orioles picked, and Bradfield said he hadn’t heard from the Orioles until draft night. He said his three years in college were invaluable.
“I think I improved in every aspect,” Bradfield said. “Defensively, the consistency I was able to grow. Being there for three years. Baserunning, I was timid in high school as a baserunner and brought out a different side. I didn’t have the speed. I didn’t have the aggressiveness. I didn’t have the confidence. That was something I grew every day.”
Elias continues to emphasize the importance of the draft.
“This is the lifeblood of our organization, what we do,” Elias said. “It’s shown up here on the field here for the Orioles, the importance of the draft and through strengths of our drafts, and this year is no different.”
Trent Friedrich, an Oriole scout, has been watching Bradfield for several years.
“My history with him goes back to 2018,” Friedrich said. “I knew then that he was just different. He impacted the game in so many ways … He’s just been different every step of the way.”
Elias said on draft night that he hoped his minor league system would remain strong despite not picking in the top five.
“We want to keep picking down here,” Elias said. “That’s the goal. Hopefully, we’re in the 20s and stay there for a while and, hopefully, we can demonstrate that we can keep feeding our organization with low first-round picks.
“We’ve got a young, talented major league team that’s not going anywhere, a historically good group in the minor leagues that’s coming. We’ve got guys like this. It’s important for us to keep feeding that pipeline because I know how good our competitors are at doing the same thing.”
Note: The Orioles reinstated left-handed pitcher Cionel Pérez from the 15-day injured list and optioned left-hander Nick Vespi to Triple-A Norfolk after Monday night’s game.
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