Orioles fans knew going into today that Mike Elias would make at least one selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, but the organization decided to select four young right-handed pitchers and a catcher this year.
Baltimore’s first selection of the first round (5th overall), was right-handed pitcher Mac Sceroler. Sceroler, 25, spent his early minor league career with the Reds organization. Some cool information is that Sceroler is the nephew of former Orioles pitcher and MASN broadcaster, Ben McDonald!
Sceroler spent his first half a season in rookie ball following being drafted in 2017, where he had a 0-4 record and a 3.26 ERA in 38.2 innings pitched. 2018 saw Sceroler’s first full professional season, where he pitched in 83 innings, finishing with a 4-8 record and 4.97 ERA.
2019 showed that improvement when Sceroler held a 3.69 ERA and 5-4 record in A+ ball. Aided by 127 strikeouts in 117 innings pitched, Sceroler started to keep the ball off the bat a little more, and his ERA and record both corresponded that.
Because Sceroler was a pick in the major league portion of the draft, he will be added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster, where he will have to spend the whole season on the major league club.
The O’s second pick in the Rule 5 Draft was another RHP, Tyler Wells, by way of Minnesota.
At 26 years old, Wells was drafted by the Twins in 2016. For his first full season in 2017, Wells was very impressive. He allowed a HR/9 ratio of .6 between rookie ball and A+. His 3.03 ERA isn’t even the best of his minor league career, and his 108 strikeouts in just 89 innings is exciting!
2018 was even better for Wells, when he posted an improved 2.49 ERA for a 10-6 record between A+ and AA. His HR/9 was lower at .5 in 32 more innings pitched in 2018, and he only allowed four more walks in that span as compared to 2019. These vastly improving numbers from year to year and through the levels of the minors is exactly what we want to see.
Wells did not pitch in 2019 but will be on the major league roster for the whole season, as he was also a pick in the major league portion of the draft.
Now entering the minor league portion, the next pick was yet another right-handed pitcher named Rickey Ramirez, who was also taken from the Twins organization. Another solid, young arm, Ramirez is another strikeout kid, who doesn’t give up a lot of long balls.
Ramirez felt his way around in 2018, going from rookie ball to Single-A. He had a 4.28 ERA for a 2-3 record. However, in 27 innings pitched, Ramirez allowed only one home run, netting 27 strikeouts.
2019 was a huge improvement for the young pitcher. Ramirez made his way from rookie ball all the way to A+, finishing with an improved 3.80 ERA. He still only allowed one home run, this time across 42.2 innings. His 50 strikeouts were an improvement also, as he finished with 10.5 K/9 and a 0.2 HR/9. Across his minor league career, Ramirez has only allowed a total of four home runs in 99.1 innings pitched.
As a pick in the minor league section, Ramirez will make his way directly to the Orioles farm system.
The next Orioles pick was the first and only non-pitcher taken. This pick was used on Christopher Hudgins, a catcher from the Royals organization. This one is more of a curious choice, as there’s no denying the intention of our picks in this draft is to add some arms.
Hudgins spent 2017 through the first half of 2019 in rookie ball, where he netted a slash line of .269/.331/.469 and a .800 OPS. The power is there, as he hit eight home runs in his time in rookie ball.
The majority of 2019 for Hudgins was spent in Single-A ball, where he played in 48 games. A slash line of .247/.322/.438 and a .760 OPS may look like a slight drop off from his time in rookie ball, but he stayed consistent with the competition. In 48 games in A ball, Hudgins had nine home runs, compared to eight between 2017 through the first part of 2019. That’s a vast improvement on the power.
Again, a pick in the minor league section, Hudgins will make is way to the farm system.
The final pick in this year’s Rule 5 Draft was Ignacio Feliz, another right-handed pitcher by way of San Diego. The youngest of these picks, Feliz is currently 21 years old.
2018 was spent in rookie ball, where Feliz made a splash at such a young age, when he was a part of the Indians organization. He finished with a 3.00 ERA. His 45 innings pitched saw 54 strikeouts to 15 walks. He did not allow a single home run and finished with a K/9 of 10.8.
Feliz found his way to the Padres system for the 2019 season, following a trade that sent him to San Diego in November of 2018. Feliz certainly struggled a little more in A ball in 2019. He finished with a raised 4.40 ERA and only one strikeout more than 2018, while pitching in 17 more innings.
His HR/9 rose to 1.1, while his K/9 dropped to 8.6. Still at 21, Feliz has a lot of time to grow as compared to the rest of the picks. And much like the other minor league picks, Feliz will make his way right to the Orioles farm system.
The Orioles gained five players, but lost just two in the process. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected RHP Zach Pop, and the Chicago Cubs selected RHP Gray Fenter.
The Orioles obviously hope Pop and Fenter return to the organization, as they really like both arms. They are counting on both teams not being able to carry them on their rosters through the entire season. Fenter hasn’t pitched above Low-A, as teams passed on him last winter in the Rule 5 Draft.
How do you think Mike Elias and the O’s front office did in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft? Let us know in the comments! And, make sure you follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter and Facebook!
Welcome to Birdland, Mac, Tyler, Rickey, Christopher, and Ignacio!