Bradfield Jr. headlines Orioles draft class

Speedy center fielder out of Vanderbilt selected 17th overall by Baltimore in 2023 Major League Baseball draft
Enrique Bradfield Jr.
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-10 16:54:47-04

BALTIMORE — There has been a steady stream of prized prospects funneling into Oriole Park at Camden Yards over the past couple years. Names like Rutschman, Henderson, Westburg and Cowser to name a few. Plenty more are making their way through the Orioles’ minor league system. Add one more star to the mix.

Vanderbilt center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. was selected 17th overall by the Orioles in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Sunday. The 21-year-old called it "a dream come true".

"It was meant to be. I am where I need to be. I’m glad the Orioles gave me the opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting to work with them," he said via a Zoom call on Monday morning.

He said the O’s are getting a competitor and added that he has been able to produce at every level he has played. He thinks pro ball will be no different.

"My love for this game is definitely next level and I feel like to have success at the professional level it needs to be like that. I’m always committed. I’m disciplined to get the job done. I know exactly how to process things and use my mind to be able to help me."

He also knows exactly how to use his legs. The guy they call E.B.J. stole a Vanderbilt program record 130 bases over his three year college career. He is touted as the fastest player in this year’s draft. That doesn’t only apply on the base paths. His phone number dialing skills are also off the charts. After his selection he didn’t wait for Mike Elias to call him. He called the Orioles general manager.

"My agent actually sent me over his number. So, I took that as, 'Hey let me give him a call'."

He has no shortage of confidence as he joins an Orioles farm system regarded among the best in baseball. It is one that has borne the sweetest of fruit.

"Watching the Orioles in the big leagues right now, they have a bunch of young guys out there who are playing really good baseball, really talented players. They are all home-grown players. So, the fact that the organization can really develop guys gives me a level of excitement for me to go in there and know that I’m going to get better every day and get to work."

If there is one knock on Bradfield Jr.’s game it’s his hitting. He batted .279 last season. On his offense he said he knows he’ll be able to adapt to the next level. He said going forward he is “going to be fine”.

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