We kick off our countdown of the top 30 prospects in the Baltimore Orioles organization with No. 30 overall, right-handed pitcher Gray Fenter!
Gray Fenter was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of West Memphis High School in West Memphis, Arkansas. He is listed as 6’0″, 200 lbs.
Fenter came into the league after his selection in the draft, and entered into the Gulf Coast League. In nine games (eight starts), Fenter had a 1.66 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched.
The following year, Fenter faced the unfortunate reality that was the procedure known as Tommy John surgery, after dealing with some elbow pain in Florida.
The operation was performed by Dr. James Andrews on April 7, 2016, and ultimately set back Fenter until June 2017, when he returned to the Gulf Coast League. In total, Fenter missed a year and a half of action.
Fenter would say this about his missed season:
“Not being able to play is probably the worst thing ever. And then there comes frustration with wanting to be who you were before surgery as compared to after. That is very frustrating. You want to be that guy, but you realize you are not that guy anymore and you have to learn to pitch with what you have.Orioles’ No. 30 overall prospect, Gray Fenter
Fenter would not pitch a full season until 2018, where he pitched out the bullpen for the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds to build up innings. In 14 games (two starts) with Delmarva in 2018, Fenter struggled with a 6.75 ERA in 26.2 innings.
Although spending most of the 2018 season on the Delmarva Peninsula with the Shorebirds, Fenter also pitched in 13 games (11 starts) with the Low-A Aberdeen IronBirds. Fenter was significantly better in Aberdeen, putting up a 3.95 ERA in 57 innings.
Following an up and down year, Fenter looked to get back to his regular routine, spending the entire 2019 season with Delmarva.
Thankfully, Fenter would not have another disappointing season. In fact, Fenter was a key factor into Delmarva’s playoff season.
Finishing the season with an 8-2 record, Fenter pitched to a minuscule 1.81 ERA in 22 games (17 starts) for the Northern Division First Half Champion Shorebirds. He also struck out an impressive 123 batters in his 94.1 innings of work.
Fenter impressed Shorebirds manager Kyle Moore so much, that he earned the starting nod in Game 2 of the Northern Division Championship Series, where he pitched the best game of his young career.
I was there at that playoff game and got to witness Fenter’s outing first hand, and let me say that he shined.
The 23-year-old struck out a career-high 13 batters in his all-time performance, including seven in a row from the third through fifth innings. Fenter would finish the game with 6.1 scoreless innings, giving up just four hits and walking none in what was ultimately a Shorebirds loss.
Fenter’s repertoire includes a 4-seam fastball, a changeup, a cutter/slider that he’s continuously developing, and his go-to pitch- his curveball.
“Curveball is my go-to. Use it as a strikeout pitch and will also use it early in the count or even behind in the count. It’s my whenever I want it pitch.”Orioles’ No. 30 overall prospect, Gray Fenter
Although Tommy John surgery put his career on hault, it ultimately helped the former USA Baseball Alumni hang on to a promising career in the Orioles organization.
I can tell you that this young man has all the tools to become an elite starting pitcher in the near future for the Baltimore Orioles. And that’s why he is the Orioles’ No. 30 ranked prospect!
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