Amateur Signing Bonuses: Orioles

Let's continue our look at the five largest bonuses each team has given to amateur players with the Orioles…

  1. Matt Wieters, $6MM (2007)
  2. Manny Machado, $5.25MM (2010)
  3. Adam Loewen, $3.2MM (2002)
  4. Brian Matusz, $3.2MM (2008)
  5. Matt Hobgood, $2.422MM (2009)

Wieters was the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft but was arguably the top talent available along with David Price. He destroyed the minors (.343/.438/.576) before making his big league debut last May. Wieters hasn't had the immediate impact the O's hoped for, but perspective is important here. There's nothing wrong with a 24-year-old catcher hitting .266/.328/.393 in his first 887 plate appearances while throwing out 27.6% of attempted basestealers in the AL East.

Another one of the talented young players on Baltimore's big league roster right now is Matusz. He was the fourth overall pick in 2008 and like Wieters he crushed the minors (1.91 ERA, 9.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9) before debuting in the show. After an eight start cameo in 2009, Matusz's coming out party in 2010 was rock solid for a 23-year-old lefty in that division. His overall numbers won't wow you – 4.30 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 in 175.2 innings – but he was superb down the stretch, posting a 1.57 ERA with a .178/.237/.282 batting line against in his final eight starts. Matusz and Wieters are two biggest pieces in the Orioles' rebuilding effort.

Machado was the third overall pick this past June and didn't sign until the August 16th deadline. He hit .306/.359/.472 in just 39 plate appearances this year, his pro debut. Hobgood was the fifth overall pick last year and has been good but not great so far: 4.48 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 120.2 innings. He just turned 20 in August.

Loewen was the product of the now defunct draft-and-follow process. The O's took him fourth overall in 2002 but didn't sign until a year later, after he spent a season with Chipola College, a two-year school. Loewen cruised through the minors and debuted with Baltimore in 2006. He threw 164 innings with the O's over the next two seasons (5.38 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 5.8 BB/9) but his pitching career was derailed by chronic elbow issues. Loewen went the Rick Ankiel route and transitioned to an outfielder, and he's now working his way back to the big leagues in the Blue Jays system.

The Orioles have never been a big time player on the Latin American free agent market, but they opened a state-of-the-art academy in the Dominican within the last few years. Expect their presence in the international market to jump significantly in the coming years.

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7 Comments on "Amateur Signing Bonuses: Orioles"

4 years 10 months ago

I have to say, having seen Adam Loewen play a lot this summer, I can tell you that he really is turning in to a good hitter. The power is starting to come and he did a better job of getting on base this summer than last. He’s also really fast. With his power and if he can only hit for a higher avg., he reminds me of the exact same player as Jayson Werth just left handed. I’m not going to say that Merchants Park didn’t help his swing, but he definetly has the power to hit 25-30+ home runs in a MLB season, but he is 2-3 years away from being MLB ready as a hitter.

4 years 10 months ago

Would surprise me if he still became a starter but I think he could become a bench player but he needs to do it soon and his best chance would be to impress everybody in the upcoming in spring training.

4 years 10 months ago

Adam Loewen’s minor league hitting numbers look exactly like Rick Ankiel’s professional numbers. Seems fitting that they were both top lefty pitching prospects at one time. Maybe he could be a 4th outfielder someday, but he K’s too much and soon to be 27. So his time may be running out. Still a pretty good story…

4 years 10 months ago

machado was drafted 3rd overall (james Tallion was drafted by the pirates 2nd overall)

4 years 10 months ago

Manny Machado is my favorite draft pick in years. He has A-Rod potential(without the PEDs)

4 years 10 months ago

I was going to say the same thing! Definitely my favorite draft pick.

4 years 10 months ago

I thought the Orioles were going to break out this year, they played much better once Showalter took over, but I think it will still take another year or so for their young talent to establish themselves. They also have massive holes at first (easiest position to fill), third, and short.

Looking at this team, I can’t help but to draw comparisons to the Rays, so much good young talent, but a few of these young guys will have to really break out and become quality players. Adam Jones will also have to fulfill his potential, as he’s shown a lot of tools but can’t seem to put everything together.

Chris Tillman has also been awful in the majors so far, and they really need a pitcher to compliment Matusz who I feel will become a star in this league very soon. They will need to ease him into a role next year but if he’s still struggling, they need to do something with him while he still has some value.