In Part One of this Draft Preview Series we looked at some positional players who could be available (and of interest) to the Orioles when they make selections #22 and #37 overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. In this installment, let's get familiar with some pitchers who could also be in the mix.
High School Pitchers
Connor Jones (RHP, Great Bridge HS, Virginia) is one of the most intriguing prep pitchers. A 6'3" righty who currently features a low 90s fastball, a solid changeup, and a slurvy breaking pitch that could be refined either way. Committed to the University of Virginia, Jones has already sent out a letter to MLB clubs asking them not to draft him, expressing his strong intent to fulfill his commitment and attend UVA. Such letters are not necessarily frequent, but they are far from rare. They sometimes serve as a further form of leverage for HS players looking to possibly extract the maximum amount of compensation for their skills. An approximately $2+ million check (the O's slot value for the 22nd overall selection) could convince him to forego college and commence a professional career. MLB.com scouting video
In his first mock draft for 2013, Keith Law projected the O's to take Devin Williams, a RHP out of Hazelwood West HS in Missouri. Williams would be a long-term project, as he is quite raw. But the athleticism and projection could be too tempting to pass up. MLB.com scouting video
Next up is the first lefty of note: Robert Kaminsky, St. Joseph HS, New Jersey. Though Kaminsky doesn't have great size (6'0" tall, 190 lbs) and doesn't project to fill out much more, he is one of the most polished prep pitchers in the draft. His plus command and control allow him to get the most out of his low 90s fastball, while he can keep hitters off balance with a plus curve and a solid changeup. He is commited to the University of North Carolina, a program with a strong history of developing major league arms. MLB.com scouting video
Hunter Harvey (RHP, Bandys HS, N.C.) features quality MLB bloodlines, as he is the son of former Angels star closer Bryan Harvey. His fastball currently sits in the low 90s, but has reportedly touched 97. His curve looks to be a 2nd plus pitch, but he'll need to work on his command & control while also developing a changeup. MLB.com scouting video
Other names to know: Matt Krook (LHP), Ian Clarkin (LHP), Trey Ball (LHP), Hunter Green (LHP)
The most intriguing name here is Sean Manaea (LHP, Indiana St.), considered as a potential number 1 overall pick coming into the season after an impressive performance in the wood bat Cape Cod League. However, Manaea has dealt with various injuries which have sapped him of his effectiveness. Standing at 6'3", 235 lbs, he has a tremendous build which, when healthy, he used to feature a fastball that touched 96 along with a solid slider and changeup. The only reason he could fall into the late portion of the 1st Round is because his 2013 college season has been pretty much a disaster. Only a junior, he may well choose to return to school for his senior season in hopes of securing a higher draft slot in 2014. Further complicating things, he is advised by Scott Boras, so he will be likely be seeking to be paid like the top of the draft talent he was coming into the year. Were the O's to gamble and take a very signable player under slot with their 2nd pick (#37 overall) and go overslot with Manaea they could cobble up roughly $3.3m or so, the value of the #7 overall slot in this years draft. Would that be enough? Would it be worth the gamble on a pitcher with demonstrated shoulder, hip, and ankle injuries? I, personally, would pass. MLB.com scouting video
With his brother Nik (1B, Delmarva) already in the O's system, the O's could look to take Alex Balog. The 6'6" RHP for the University of San Francisco has been receiving a fair amount of buzz over the past couple of weeks as the pundits see him possibly being taken in the back, or even middle, of the 1st Round. Baseball America's Jim Callis and Scout.com's Kylie McDaniel have linked the O's to Balog in their most recent mock drafts. MLB.com scouting video
Whereas Manaea and Balog offer high upside to go with their higher risk, Gonzaga LHP Marco Gonzales offers a high floor but not so much future projection. His fastball sits 89-90, but is played up by his plus command & control, which also benefits his curve and change. This could very well be one of the quickest players to reach the majors from this draft, possibly ready to help the back end of the O's rotation as early as next year. MLB.com scouting video
Bobby Wahl (RHP, University of Mississippi) has been a consistently good starter in college. The problem is that he is widely viewed as likely ending up in the bullpen. None of his pitches stand out as plus, though he has flashed 95 with the fastball, and he could see his stuff tick up a notch were he to work in short stints. He'd almost certainly be given an opportunity to start in the minors to see if he could stick. But if he were moved to the 'pen he could make his way to the majors in short order. Bonus fun fact: Wahl pitched for a travel team named the Tidewater Orioles. MLB.com scouting video
Other names to know: Ryan Eades (RHP, LSU), Chris Anderson (RHP, Jacksonville), Jonathan Crawford (RHP, University of Florida), Alex Gonzalez (RHP, Oral Roberts), Kevin Ziomek (LHP, Vanderbilt)
Jones and Manaea would offer the O's the most upside of this group, but also be the hardest to sign. Williams and Balog also offer significant upside, but shouldn't provide much trouble in signing. Marco Gonzalez and Wahl offer the highest floors and could help the O's in 2014, but both have limited projection remaining. There is a fair amount of depth available here, particularly in southpaw prep pitchers. While the bevy of college righties figure to have ceilings of 4th or 5th starters.