LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Orioles selected third baseman Michael Almanzar in the Rule 5 draft. Almanzar, a 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, was taken from Boston.
Since signing with the Red Sox organization in 2008, Almanzar has played mostly third, but has also played first base. In his first year above Single-A, Almanzar hit .268 with 16 home runs and 81 RBIs for Double-A Portland.
“He’s got all the tools and capabilities to be a big league ballplayer,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said.
In the Triple-A draft, the Orioles picked outfielder Julio Borbon, who played in the World Series for Texas in 2010. Borbon, who is 27 years old, hit .202 in 72 games for the Cubs last year. In 288 major leagues games with the Rangers and Cubs, Borbon has a .272 average.
“I’m kind of excited that we added two players today that have capability and skills to help our major league team,” Duquette said.
It’s unusual for a player in the minor league portion of the draft to be more well-known than one picked in the major league draft.
“He’s had some good major league experience. He’s had some good contributions in the major leagues, getting on base with his bat, playing defense and also with his legs,” Duquette said.
Duquette was happy to pick up Borbon because he’s a left-handed hitting outfielder.
“We had some interest in him in the past. We considered claiming him for our major league club this year. We discussed that internally and almost did that,” Duquette said.
Almanzar is the son of Carlos Almanzar, who played in the major leagues from 1997-2005. Almanzar played for Buck Showalter in Texas in 2004.
He will have to stay with the Orioles all season or be offered back to the Red Sox. In the last two years, the Orioles selected infielder Ryan Flaherty and left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland. Both stayed with the team all season. Almanzar was the final of nine players selected in the draft.
Borbon does not have to stay with the Orioles all season. Duquette indicated he may be invited to spring training.
The Orioles didn’t select a player in the Double-A draft and did not lose any.