Although the Orioles went into today without a second or third round pick, they succeeded in adding significant talent to the organization. Their draft budget may ultimately be even larger than most teams, a testament to the quality of players they have selected on day one of the amateur draft.
One of the top talents in the entire draft, Wieters is the complete package. He will be a tough sign, but the Orioles would not have made him the fifth overall selection if they weren't aware of his asking price and were willing to meet it. The Wieters selection is a good indication of how highly thought of Director of Scouting Joe Jordan is within the organization. With Jordan at the helm, you can be sure that Peter Angelos isn't going to call any audibles at the line, as he did in 2004 during the Wade Townsend fiasco.Power: Wieters has plus raw power from the left side and gap-to-gap power from the right side, where he prefers to spray the ball around.
Batting Average: Wieters hit .366, .355, and .358 in his three years at Georgia Tech, never striking out in more than a sixth of his at bats. Early in the season, Wieters appeared jumpy at the plate, appearing to be overanxious with all the attention his draft status caused. Later in the year, however, he calmed down and there was never any doubt about who the top collegiate position player was in this year's draft. He projects to hit for high batting averages in addition to his plus power, a true middle-of-the-order threat.
Plate Discipline: One of the few hitters to walk more times than he struck out at a high level of play, Wieters' plate discipline has the potential to be special. He does an excellent job working the corners of the strike zone and shows no fear against advanced breaking balls. His top-flight plate coverage will allow him to acclimate very quickly in professional baseball.
Speed: Don't get greedy; Wieters has below-average speed. As a 6'5'' catcher, however, that's to be expected.
Defense: Wieters has a cannon for an arm; he was even used a the closer for Georgia Tech, racking up 16 saves in his three year career with a fastball that easily topped 90 MPH. His footwork and instincts all grade out well, though there is some concern that his size will hinder his lateral agility. Coaches praise his work ethic and leadership qualities, which are especially important for a catcher. As a big catcher, Wieters will always face some level of concerns about his durability, but he hasn't given anyone reason to think he doesn't have what it takes to be a plus major league catcher.
RHP Tim Bascom- No School
In 2006, Tim Bascom was the staff ace of the Central Florida Knights. He was rewarded with a sixth round selection by the San Diego Padres and they were close to agreeing on a contract when Bascom's right knee caused him to fail a physical. By that point, Bascom's contact with his agent made him ineligible to return to CFU. Fortunately, after surgery to repair his ACL and a torn meniscus, as well as a few rehabilitation starts for the Bradenton team in the independent South Coast League, he was actually able to improve his stock, at least in terms of draft position. With very little leverage at this point, Bascom should be a quick, cheap sign.
Repertoire: During his sophomore campaign, Bascom routinely dialed his fastball up to 94 MPH. It was down a few ticks during his junior season, due to his knee injury. He was touching 90 MPH earlier this year, but the Orioles obviously believe that his velocity will improve as he gets back to pitching more frequently. He has a downward breaking ball and a stiff changeup that both sit around 78-81 MPH.
Command: The now 22 year old right-hander posted a 90:25 K:BB ratio in 80 innings in his final college season. Coaches praise both his ability to find the strike zone and effectively work within it.
Conclusion: His ceiling may not be huge, but, fully healthy, Bascom could move fast. He is comparable in a number of ways to 2006 selection Jason Berken and profiles as a back of the rotation type.
RHP Jake Arrieta – Texas Christian
Sure, the Orioles made a major play in the first round, but why stop there? Jake Arrieta was widely considered a first round talent as recently as a few months ago. An up and down season cost the preseason All-American a premium draft spot, but the Orioles will likely have to spend well above slot-money to convince him against returning for his senior year. He is also represented by Scott Boras.
Repertoire:Average. That's the word that comes to mind when describing nearly all of Arrieta's four pitches. He throws his fastball around 89-91 MPH and has touched 93 MPH this season. His fastball is down from consistently in the low-90's from a year ago. His curveball is more in the mid-70's and he throws a slider/cutter around 80 MPH. His changeup also sits around 80 MPH.
Command: While none of his pitches stand out, Arrieta's command is impeccable at times. He can spot his fastball on the inside or the outside of the strike zone and does a good job of keeping batters off balance at the plate. His command also improved as the season wore on.
Conclusion: Arrieta is a durable workhorse with an ideal pitcher's frame (6'4'' 225 lbs.). Again, he doesn't have ace potential, but his command made many feel he was one of the safest picks in the draft just a few months ago. He profiles as a potential middle of the rotation pitcher who can rack up 200+ innings.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com