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Billy Rowell: the end of one of Orioles' worst draft picks


Billy Rowell: the end of one of Orioles' worst draft picks

The Orioles are about to cut ties with Billy Rowell, their 2006 first-round draft pick.  Rowell is one of but a number of Orioles’ top picks  never to make the majors.

Rowell was a high school third baseman from New Jersey who signed for a reported $2.1 million in 2006. There are two big reminders of Rowell during this year’s World Series.

Not only was the Giants’ Tim Lincecum taken immediately after Rowell, but right after Lincecum, the Arizona Diamondbacks took Max Scherzer with the 11th pick. Scherzer, who was traded to the Tigers, is scheduled to start Sunday’s Game 4.

Rowell’s professional career began well. In 2006, he batted .329 in 42 games with Bluefield and .326 in 11 games at Aberdeen.

At Delmarva, Rowell showed little power and a penchant for striking out, but batted .273.

In 2008, Rowell began the first of three seasons at Frederick. Two years ago, he batted. 275 with 11 homers, 61 RBIs but 153 strikeouts.

He reached Double-A in 2011, but hit only .227 in 41 games at Bowie without a home run and only two doubles.

The Orioles toyed with converting him to a pitcher this year, but after a 50-game suspension for a positive marijuana test, his time in the organization had ended.

Since Rowell, the Orioles have done better, drafting Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Here are five of the worst Orioles No 1. draft picks:

1) Chris Smith

Smith was the seventh pick in the 2001 draft, 31 picks ahead of David Wright.

A compact left-handed pitcher, Smith won two games in the Orioles’ system, one for Aberdeen in 2004 and the second with Delmarva a year later.

He never pitched above Delmarva and finished his professional career with the Long Island Ducks of the Independent League in 2005.

2) Alvie Shepherd

In 1995, the Orioles drafted this 6-foot-7 right-hander with the 21st pick. He won six games for Frederick in 1996 and 10 games at Bowie the next year.

He won only one more game in Baltimore’s system, in 1999 at entry-level Bluefield, just before his career ended.

3) Rick  Elder

In 1998, the 6-foot-6, 250 lbs. outfielder was the 26th pick by the Orioles. He got off to a fast start, batting .340 for Baltimore’s Gulf Coast team. He followed it up with a .329 average at Bluefield the next year.

In 2001, he showed some power, batting .251 with 16 home runs and 64 RBIs, but that’s as far as he got in the Orioles’ organization.

He played until 2006 in independent ball.

4) Mike Paradis

Due to compensation for lost free agents, the Orioles had four first-round choices in 1999. Paradis was the highest, picked 13th.

The Clemson right-hander was totally ineffective as a professional, with a 29-47 record and 5.24 ERA.

He was nearly declared a permanent resident of Prince Georges County in Maryland after spending three seasons at Bowie where he went 21-36.

Paradis tried his hand as a reliever at Ottawa in 2004, but allowed 22 runs in 15 1/3 innings.

5) Richard Stahl

Stahl was taken five picks after Paradis, but wasn’t any better. The 6-foot-7 left-hander never got higher than Bowie with the Orioles.

His last year was an abomination. He was 1-10 with a 6.50 ERA in six games.

The two other players taken behind Paradis and Stahl, Larry Bigbie and Keith Reed, did play for the Orioles. Reed appeared in just six games in 2005.


While the Orioles have done much better with their top picks recently, there is a notable exception. Matt Hobgood was the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2009.

His professional career has gotten off to a rotten start. In his first three years, Hobgood, the fifth overall pick in 2009, was 4-15 with a 5.48 ERA at Bluefield, Delmarva, Gulf Coast and Aberdeen. He missed last season after shoulder surgery.

Hobgood was selected ahead of Atlanta’s Mike Minor, Cincinnati’s Mike Leake, Washington’s Drew Storen and Kansas City’s Aaron Crow, all of who have been effective in the majors.

In 2009, the Orioles were one of many teams to pass on Mike Trout, who fell to the 25th pick.


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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.


Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.


Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.


Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.


Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.

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Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

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Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

Days after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that captivated much of Major League Baseball, former Oriole Manny Machado took to Instagram to thank the only organization he's ever known. 

The 26-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season, which the Orioles chose not to renew as the last-place club enters a rebuilding phase. 

Machado put up big numbers in the team's first 97 games totaling career-highs in home runs (24), RBIs (65), OBP (.387) and OPS (.962). 

He is expected to play shortstop for a Dodgers club which finished the first half of the season 10 games above .500 in a competitive, tight NL West. 

The Dodgers will pay Machado $6.3 million. 

To my Baltimore family, I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how I would say goodbye but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. I first joined this organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could’ve imagined. Throughout the ups and downs, you embraced me unconditionally and you took a kid from Miami and brought me up as one of your own. I’ve enjoyed my time here and you all have played a big part in that!! Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart! To the Baltimore Orioles, it has truly been a blessing to put on that uniform every day. To the Angelos Family & Dan Duquette, thank you for making my dreams come true!!! To Buck and the coaching staff, thank you for your commitment and dedication to making me the best player and teammate I can possibly be…I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. To my teammates, we’ve shared some amazing times with lots of memories & friendships that I’ll cherish forever. Schoopy, I love you bro and I know you will carry the torch!!! ! Much love always, Manny #13

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