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Draft spotlight: Trevor Bauer

First of all, a quick note to readers: We are having major technical difficulties with our blogs. For a while, we couldn't post. We can now, but you may not be able to. If you can't leave a comment, don't get discouraged. Just check back a little later. Our tech people are working on the problems. We don't know yet when they will be fixed.

Now to the matter at hand: Baseball's annual amateur draft starts Monday at 7 p.m. As we head toward it, I'll be featuring draft spotlights on several players whom the Orioles may take with the fourth overall pick.

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I tried to address many of the broad questions about the Orioles' draft considerations in our story today in the Sun. And, with it, I attempted to identify the players the Orioles are most seriously considering.

I narrowed it down to five, but honestly the Orioles are surely considering more. It's just that one of these five – UCLA right-handers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, University of Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Oklahoma prep righty Dylan Bundy – are probably the most likely to be tapped at No. 4.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates, who pick first, apparently are still deciding. My gut is that they take Cole or Rendon with the other one going to the Seattle Mariners at No. 2. That would leave Hultzen for the Arizona Diamondbacks at three and the Orioles to choose between Bundy and Bauer. Yes, high schoolers such as outfielder Bubba Starling from Kansas and shortstop Francisco Lindor from Florida have been mentioned as potential Top Five players, but I just don't think the Orioles will be going in those directions.

That's just a hunch in talking to people, though I am not sure how many of those are lying to me. So we'll just look at my five and speculate on where they fit with the Orioles.

We'll go in alphabetical order. Check back periodically this weekend for new entries.

TREVOR BAUER

Connolly's Take: Trevor Bauer, in my opinion, is the least likely of the five to land with the Orioles. Not that they don't like him – how can you not be impressed with his numbers? It's just that there is a perception he is a risk in that his mechanics and machinations are so unorthodox and he is slight of build, so there's a concern he will breakdown quicker than others.

That, of course, was why Tim Lincecum slipped to the San Francisco Giants with the 10th pick in 2006, and that worked out OK in the Bay Area.

My hunch is that the Orioles just feel a little more confident with some of the other options. But we'll see.

Here's my breakdown on Bauer:

Name: Trevor Bauer

Age: 20

Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 185

School/Class: UCLA/junior

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Hometown: Valencia, Calif.

Position: Right-handed pitcher

2011 stats: 12-2, 1.27 ERA in 15 games. 127 2/3 IP, 67 H, 18 ER, 34 BBs, 189 Ks

Skinny: Probably the most intriguing player in the draft. Has video-game stats -- almost three times as many strikeouts (189) as hits allowed (67) this season. … Uses an unorthodox delivery that some feel is violent, but adds deception to nasty repertoire. … Has six pitches he can throw for strikes, including a screwball variation. … His fastball is low-to-mid-90s and his plus-curve is a strikeout pitch. … UCLA career leader in strikeouts and wins. …. Is 33-8 at UCLA. … Nine of his 15 outings in 2011 were complete games, including one with 134 pitches. … Boasts a unique conditioning program which includes continual throwing and non-traditional arm strengthening exercises. Used to throw between innings during games, but his college coach said that practice has subsided. … Bauer is into maximizing his torque to increase velocity and studies pitch sequencing. … Graduated high school early to play at UCLA.

The quote: "He's a calculating guy, not a strange guy. He's a good teammate and knows baseball. He's as competitive as anyone I've had. In everything, he wants to be the best. People drop the words 'weird' or 'quirky' or 'unconventional.' He's just not old baseball. He is kind of this new wave of pitcher that has his own process. But you can't deny his talent. You just can't."

John Savage, UCLA head baseball coach

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