HT: 6-3 WT: 220 POS: SP
Delmarva Shorebirds - (23 G, 23 GS, 131 ip, 3.37 ERA, 145 K, 38 BB, 12 HR, 1.08 GO/AO)
The Orioles were determined to get Kyle Schmidt, drafting him for the second time in the 14th round of the 2004 draft. A variety of injuries derailed a promising college career after he transferred from Georgia Tech to South Florida, but the O's liked his arm strength and ended up getting their man. He's had some injury concerns as a pro as well, but Schmidt has been effective when healthy and he did throw 131 innings this season. He might just be the best O's player available in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings, but he's far enough away that the organization believes he'll go undrafted.
Schmidt has a three pitch repertoire that starts with an average fastball that sits in the low-90's. Though it can be insonsistent at times, his best pitch is a sometimes-plus high-70's curveball that generates a lot of swings and misses. His changeup is a usable third pitch and the further refinement of it will likely dictate his ability to stick in the rotation at higher levels.
The Orioles have taken it slow with the 24 year old right-hander, but they like his long-term potential. If he can stay healthy, make advances with his changeup and become more consistent from start to start, he has the ability to stick towards the back of a major league rotation. More likely, he'll end up in a relief role, perhaps as a multi-inning middle relief guy. He's eligible to be taken in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, but the O's do not believe it is likely that he's ready to stick on a major league roster in 2008. He'll begin the season in high-A Frederick and don't be surprised if 2008 ends up being the year that Schmidt begins making significant progress up the organizational ladder.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com