The rich get richer.

The Orioles added to the deepest farm system in baseball by selecting Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. with the 17th pick in the first round of the MLB draft Sunday night.

Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 16 prospect in the draft, Bradfield has 80-grade run and field tools. The left-handed hitter posted a .279 average with six home runs in 62 games in his junior year with the Commodores. Bradfield racked up a whopping 130 stolen bases in his college career, while posting more walks (131) than strikeouts (122).

“He is a premium college player from the most premium conference there is, from the most premium program that there is, and he’s been excellent for three years there after being identified as a top prospect coming out of high school,” general manager and Executive Vice President Mike Elias said.

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“It’s really, I think for us, one of the better realistic outcomes for the night, from our view. Somebody that we had a bit higher than 17th on our board.”

The assigned slot value of the 17th pick is $4,169,700, and the Orioles have until Aug. 1 to sign Bradfield.

For the first time in draft history, the first two overall picks hailed from the same school: Louisiana State. The Pittsburgh Pirates took right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes with the top selection before the Washington Nationals made outfielder Dylan Crews the No. 2 pick.

The Orioles have had uncommon success with developing hitters since Elias joined the organization in 2018. Of the club’s eight top-100 prospects, per MLB Pipeline, seven are position players, and two — Colton Cowser and Heston Kjerstad — are outfielders.

Elias also leans heavily toward collegiate players with top picks. With the selection of Bradfield, four of the O’s last five first-round picks have been college standouts.

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The Orioles will be back on the clock later Sunday evening with the Nos. 53 and 63 picks. Day 2 of the draft begins with Round 3 Monday at 2 p.m.

paul.mancano@thebaltimorebanner.com

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