The Baltimore Orioles have been looking to develop pitching in the minor league system for sometime now.
With Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall a foot step away from the big leagues, the drop off in pitching talent is drastic for a club with one of the top farm systems.
After starting the draft veering away from pitching, the Orioles spent 12 of their final picks on bolstering their pitching depth for the minor league system.
Is there a hidden gem, the next Grayson Rodriguez or even a hidden Mike Mussina? As with any draft, it will be two to three years before we see what talent the picks possess.
Let’s get into who the O’s selected in the final day of the 2022 MLB Draft:
RHP Zack Showalter – Wesley Chapel HS
In no way related to Buck Showalter, Zack is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound righty has a large athletic frame, with room to grow.
Showalter has a low to mid 90’s fastball, as he works quickly through the strike zone. His ball comes out well, showing arm speed through the back side. He throws a 10-4 slider with good bite, reaching into the 80’s, and his changeup hits high 80’s.
This spring, he had a 0.78 ERA with high a strikeout rate. He will need to have better control of the zone, as his walk rate was high as well.
RHP Bradley Brehmer – Indiana University
Brehmer is no stranger to the Orioles, as they drafted the 6-foot-6, 205-pound righty in 2018. He elected to attend Wright State for three seasons.
Brehmer would earn Second-Team All Horizon League honors in 2019 and 2021. In 2022, he transferred to Indiana University.
Brehmer would go 5-4 with 77 strikeouts in 74.2 innings with a 5.30 ERA. He finished his career with a complete game upset victory over Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament.
LHP Jared Beck – Saint Leo University
What jumps out immediately is that Beck is seven feet tall. If he makes it to the majors, he would be the tallest player in major league history.
Beck, who posted a 3.95 ERA on the season, pitched 68.1 innings, striking out 105 batters. He also pitched summer ball for the Savannah Bananas.
Armed with a 95 mph fastball, Beck will need to improve his change and curve to be more effective. The Orioles will work with his extra long limbs to improve mechanics and secondary pitches.
C Adam Retzbach – Lehigh University
Retzbach was First-Team All-Patriot League after playing all 50 games this past season. Hitting .293, he led the conference with 11 home runs and was second on the team with 46 RBIs.
He would slug .590 with and OBP of .397, placing second on the team. His offense wasn’t all that was stand-out, as he had only three errors on the season.
Retzbach, who finished with a .991 fielding percentage, would also throw out a league leading 17 base runners. He collected 290 putouts with 40 assists in 333 chances.
Retzbach became the first Lehigh athlete selected as the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year.
RHP James Hicks Jr. – University of South Carolina
Hicks is a Crowder College (Junior College) transfer. He pitched in two games before injuring his elbow and requiring Tommy John Surgery.
Hicks has a power sinker and strong breaking pitch, which he showcased in seven innings of work while striking out seven.
RHP Graham Firoved – Virginia Tech
Firoved pitched in 27 games, predominantly as a reliever. He would pitch 51 innings, going 5-0 with a 4.76 ERA and 72 strikeouts.
Firoved also registered two saves on the year, though his walks were high, as he issues 28 free passes. Opponents had a .229 batting average against him.
Though he finished his career at 9-0 between three schools, his ERA was a little high, as he posted a 4.72 over his career.
SS Carter Young – Vanderbilt University
Originally projected as a first rounder a year ago, Carter struggled this past season, as he hit just .207.
He plays a plus defense and shows potential as a switch-hitter. The worry here is Young returns to school to increase draft stock, but the risk for the reward could be large.
RHP Andrew Walters – University of Miami
A strong fastball that sits in the high 90’s, Walters drawback is he throws that pitch 90% of the time.
Pitching to a 1.65 ERA with 14 saves, batters would swing-and-miss on Walters fastball 40% of the time.
He could be fast tracked as a reliever, but, like Young, worry is he could head back to school to increase his draft stock.
OF Alden Mathes – University of Richmond
A former second basemen and pitcher, Mathes will switch to center field to start his professional career.
Hitting .344 in the A-10, Mathes used his best season to turn heads and give him draft stock, as he was ranked 137th best player.
RHP Reese Sharp – Indiana University
The second Indiana pitcher taken by the Orioles in the final day, Sharp has the size for a strong pitcher, at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.
Though he struggled this season with a 6.42 ERA and 3-6 record, Sharp struck out 76 batters in 54.2 innings, holding opponents to a .233 batting average.
Sharp stranded 19 of 28 inherited runners, led Indiana with 11 games finished out of 22 appearances and tied for the team-lead with four saves.
The Mike Elias regime has analyzed, broken down and selected the players they feel will help keep the Orioles’ minor league system as one of the best in baseball. Time will tell if these selections will be a part of the future or pieces for another roll going forward.
We welcome the new Baby Birds to Birdland and wish all the best of luck as they step towards stardom.
Who stands out to you the most in this group? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SrHeckman