Name: Vince Voiro
Draft: 2012, 15th round out of University of Pennsylvania
While no one will ever confuse the Northeast corridor as a hotbed for baseball talent, the Oakland A's have found success drafting players from that area in recent years. Andrew Bailey, Vin Mazzaro, Sean Doolittle, Andrew Carignan, Chris Bostick, Tyler Vail, Shawn Haviland and Max Perlman are some of the A's picks over the past decade who were either raised in and/or attended college in the Northeast. A's Assistant General Manager David Forst knows the region well, having played his college ball at Harvard.
Voiro is another member of this growing group. Born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Voiro was a four-year player at the Ivy League's University of Pennsylvania. His role with the team grew each year, and by his junior season, the right-hander was a co-captain for the Colonials. Voiro posted a 4.28 ERA with a 57:24 K:BB ratio in 61 innings that season. That season was good enough for Voiro to draw the attention of the San Diego Padres, who drafted him in the 47th round of the 2011 draft.
Voiro competed in the Virginia-based Valley League, a summer wooden bat league, after being selected by the Padres. He pitched well in the league, posting a 2.04 ERA in 57.1 innings. He struck-out 60 and walked 22. At the end of the summer, Voiro elected to return to Penn for his senior season.
That proved to be a wise decision. Voiro put together his best season as a senior. In 66 innings, he posted a 2.45 ERA and a 59:14 K:BB ratio. He was named Honorable Mention All-Ivy League and he threw five complete games. Voiro saw his draft stock improve dramatically, and his name was called by the A's in the 15th round.
Despite having four years of collegiate experience, Voiro was sent to the Arizona Rookie League after signing with Oakland. He would pitch the entire short-season in the AZL and he was one of the AZL A's top pitchers. In 37.1 innings, Voiro had a 41:8 K:BB ratio and a 3.62 ERA. He allowed only one homerun and induced more than two groundouts for every flyout.
Although Voiro wasn't invited to the A's fall Instructional League, he was hardly off of the organization's prospect radar. The A's made Voiro one of only 16 minor league pitchers to be invited to the team's spring minor league mini-camp. For the past three weeks, Voiro has been working out with the A's minor league pitching instructors and he has stood out for his work in the program.
"Vince has been impressive," A's minor league pitching coordinator Scott Emerson said via e-mail. "He has been fun to watch."
It was Voiro's command that stood out last season when he was with the AZL A's. Thus far this spring, Voiro has continued to show excellent command, especially with his fastball. According to Emerson, Voiro's fastball has not only been hitting its target, but it has also had good movement. Voiro isn't simply a command pitcher, however. His fastball sits in the low-90s and he can occasionally touch 94 MPH.
Emerson also noted that Voiro has good arm speed with his change-up, a pitch that is a major point of emphasis within the A's organization. Voiro has been working in mini-camp on a breaking pitch.
"He has a cutter that at times looks like a slider," Emerson said. "We just have to identify if it's going to be a cutter or a slider."
At 6'3'', 195 pounds, Voiro has the build to be a starting pitcher and he stayed in that role throughout most of his collegiate career. Last season in Arizona, he split his time between the rotation and the bullpen. With his command, Voiro is likely to stay in the rotation if his breaking ball can be an effective pitch.
In college, Voiro was considered a leader on the Penn squad and Emerson has been impressed with Voiro's poise on the mound this spring.
As a senior draft pick, Voiro is working at a disadvantage, being that he was already 22 years old when he was drafted. He recently turned 23, so he will need to move relatively quickly to reach the big leagues during his prime years. That being said, the A's have a solid history of getting senior draft picks to the big leagues, with Andrew Bailey and A.J. Griffin being two relatively recent examples.
Although Voiro didn't pitch in the New York-Penn League last season, he is still a strong candidate to jump to a full-season league on Opening Day. He is likely to start the year with Low-A Beloit, but Voiro could make the jump to High-A Stockton by mid-season if he can continue to throw strikes and induce groundballs like he did with the AZL A's in 2012.