With their third pick in the 2016 draft - and their second pick in the second round - the Orioles selected right-handed pitcher Matthias Dietz from John A. Logan Community College in Illinois.
The Orioles received this pick as compensation after they failed to sign their second round pick last year, Jonathan Hughes. This is the final pick the Orioles will make on Thursday night. When the draft resumes on Friday afternoon with the third round, they will pick at #91 and at regular intervals thereafter.
After the pick was made, the MLB Network analysts proclaimed that Dietz is the best junior college pitching prospect in the draft, so that's something the Orioles can hang their hats on with taking him. The draft telecast suggested he could be destined for the bullpen. That's OK too for a late second round pick.
This is a bit of a reach pick relative to the various prospect rankings, though not too much of one. ESPN’s Keith Law likes Dietz the most, putting him 83rd. Baseball Prospectus had him at 97th while both MLB.com and Baseball America rated him 102nd.
As a draft-eligible sophomore, Dietz is a year younger than the college junior pitching crop. The 6’6" righty gets this report from ESPN:
For a huge man, Dietz generates impressive arm acceleration and deception. His secondaries are relatively unimpressive ... he doesn't have a viably deep repertoire to start. ... Pro instruction will need to tighten up at least one of his secondary pitches if Dietz is going to profile as any kind of big leaguer.
The reference to arm deception is likely in large part because Dietz uses a three-quarter arm slot. The Orioles bullpen has some successful pitchers at present with funky arm slots, so it’s possible that they see Dietz as potentially being able to fill that role in the future.
Though MLB.com ranked him a bit lower, they’re actually a bit more sunny on the potential of his offspeed pitches:
Dietz’s slider has gotten harder and sharper, showing flashes of becoming a solid pitch. He also has made strides with his changeup, enhancing his chances of remaining a starter.
Although the late second round doesn't sound like it’s too far down the draft, by this point you don’t expect much. Dietz sounds like about the level of player you'd want to take a chance on here and see what you can turn him into. Best of luck to him in his professional career. Hopefully we see him in an Orioles uniform a couple of years down the road.
The pick value for this slot is $934,400.