One of Dan Duquette’s top priorities in rebuilding the Orioles organization has been to concentrate on developing pitching.
Through the first two days of his first draft as Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations, 10 of the club’s 15 selections were pitchers.
Among them are an interesting set of college arms that have significant experience as power relievers.
Second-round pick Branden Kline, a right-hander from Virginia who attened Frederick’s Thomas Johnson High School, made a successful transition to start during his junior year, but he was a reliever his first two seasons at U.Va., including a sophomore year in which he was 4-1 a 1.88 ERA and 18 saves with 56 strikeouts in 43 innings as the Cavaliers’ closer.
Samford left-hander Lex Rutledge, the Orioles’ sixth-round pick, is intriguing because he seems to have high-quality stuff with a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball. He’s struggled with his control and pitched to a 6.81 ERA this spring, but Rutledge was 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 11 saves as a freshman.
Seventh-round pick Matthew Price, a key reliever for South Carolina’s back-to-back national championship teams, has saved 40 games in his three seasons with the Gamecocks. He had a 1.83 ERA with 20 saves during last year’s championship season.
Through two days, the Orioles have selected six right-handers and four left-handers.
Here’s a quick look at all 14 Orioles picks from Day 2 of the draft.