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Orioles go after college pitching on Day 2 of MLB draft

By Eduardo A. Encina

The Baltimore Sun

8:43 PM EDT, June 5, 2012

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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.  

Round/Pick  Name               Position  Ht-Wt        School                        Skinny
2/65           Branden Kline    RHP       6’3”-185    University of Virginia     Was 7-3, 3.56 ERA (94 K, 85 H, 43 K in 93 2/3 IP) in 16 games; 1.88 ERA as closer as sophomore.
3/99           Adrian Marin      SS         5’10”-165   Miami Gulliver Prep      University of Miami signee comes from a winning program, has good speed and developing top-of-the order bat.
4/132         Christian Walker 1B        6’-220        Univ. of South Carolina Led Gamecocks in average (.319), OBP (.447), slugging (.548), HR (11), RBI (53).
5/164         Colin Poche        LHP      6’3”-185     Marcus (Texas) HS       Signed to pitch at University of Arkansas, he owns a 90 mph fastball, solid upside.
6/192         Lex Rutledge      LHP      6’2”-205     Samford University       If he can refine his control, he has tools – with mid 90’s fastball and sweeping curve – to develop into late-inning arm.
7/222         Matthew Price     RHP      6’2”-215      Univ. of South Carolina Team’s closer was 3-3 with 3.63 ERA, 10 saves (78 K, 28 BB, 47 H in 67 IP). Had 1.83 ERA w/ 20 saves in 2011.
8/252         Torsten Boss      OF        6’-195         Michigan State            Third baseman could made transition to corner OF, hit .302/.419/.447 with 5 HR, 43 RBIs for Spartans.
9/282         Brady Wager      RHP      6’1”-200      Grand Canyon Univ.     Went 7-4 with 3.75 ERA (78 K, 80 H, 31 BB in  84 IP) in 13 starts this spring.
10/312       Joel Hutter         SS         6’1”-210     Dallas Baptist Univ.      Hit .338/.400/.556 with 11 HR and 72 RBI this season for D-I Patriots.
11/342       Kevin Grendell    LHP       6’2”-185     San Pasqual (Calif) HS  UC Irvine recruit was 7-3 with 1.48 ERA with eyepopping 122 Ks and 40 hits in 75 2/3 innings.
12/372       William Waltrip   LHP       6’2”-215     Seminole St. (OK) JC    Went 7-2 with 1.60 ERA with 91 K in and 44 hits in 67 2/3 IP.
13/402       Wade Wass        C          6’-210        Meridian (Miss.) CC      Hit .427 with 18 doubles, 23 HR and 67 RBI
14/432       Sean McAdams    RHP      6’6”-210     Sarasota (Fla) Mooney  Two-sport small-school standout has big frame and 89 mph fastball.
15/462/      Derick Velazquez RHP      6’3”-180     Merced (Cal.) College   Two-way player with high pitching upside  and three-pitch repitoire (fastball, curveball, change up)