By Dan Connolly
7:24 PM EDT, June 7, 2012
Had the opportunity to talk to Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich today.
Here are some highlights. I’ll have a little more later.
Rajsich was expecting to get financial permission at some point Thursday and then would begin negotiating with players. Pre-signing physicals – the precursor to officially agreeing to a contract -- will begin Monday and Rajsich is hopeful that some of the team’s Top 10 draft picks will be in attendance.
Top pick Kevin Gausman is still playing with LSU in the super regionals this weekend so he obviously won’t sign until after his season is completed.
Rajsich said he is resigned that Ryan Ripken will not be an Oriole. The 20th round pick and son of Hall of FamerCal Ripken Jr., is headed to South Carolina on a baseball scholarship. Rajsich said they like Ripken, a 6-foot-6, left-handed hitting first baseman from Gilman, but that his choice is college.
“For everything the family meant to this city and this franchise, (drafting Ripken) was the right thing to do,” Rajsich said. “He’s good, athletic, tall. They don’t grow 6-6 lefthanders on trees. … We’re resigned to (him going to South Carolina). It’s what his parents wish and he really wants to go there. That’s fine with us.”
Rajsich was pleased with his draft – and really likes his top three.
“We wanted to get our target players at the top of the draft. That was really important, and I felt like we did that,” Rajsich said. “I really wanted to get two pitchers at the top of the draft that had a chance to make us better in the shorter term, and I think we did that.”
With the top two picks, Rajsich selected LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman (first round, fourth overall) and Branden Kline (second round, 65th pick), a right-hander and Frederick native that closed and starter for the University of Virginia in his three-season career.
“He’s an athlete,” Rajsich said of Kline, who is a Thomas Johnson graduate. “He has good arm strength and we’re going to try to develop him as a starter. He’s had some control issues in the past and some believe his future is as a reliever, but we don’t think so. He’ll have to make a few adjustments in his delivery, but it’s going back to him being an athlete. He can do it. He saw him very good.”
Rajsich is also excited about the club’s third rounder, shortstop Adrian Marin out of a Miami high school. He has a scholarship to the University of Miami, but Rajsich thinks he wants to sign and play pro ball now.