Josh Michael: Three top 10 2018 draft picks are pitching well

The Orioles are in the midst of a rebuild, and have done a pretty good job restocking their farm system already, but their work is far from done. This year’s draft was also a great step forward, and today I am going to highlight three top 10 arms that are performing well since being selected.

Before I highlight those three, it needs to be mentioned that first-round pick Grayson Rodriguez is not in this piece only because I wrote about him last week here on MASNsports.com. To update you, he has yet to allow a run in five appearances and nine innings pitched.

Now to the task at hand.

First up is Orioles’ fourth-round selection, left-hander Drew Rom. He was selected out of Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Ky., and is 6-foot-2, 170 lbs. Rom signed for a $650,000 signing bonus, which was more than $160,000 over slot.

Rom is pitching for the O’s Rookie-level affiliate, the Gulf Coast League Orioles, and has done pretty well to begin his career. He currently owns a 2.37 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP over six starts and 19 innings. He has held opponents to a .229 batting average and has struck out 15 against just three walks.

Another thing to note is that he is recording 1.41 ground outs per air outs, which is always a good thing to see from any pitcher in the system. From what I have seen of Rom in some small videos here and there, he has a feel for his two off-speed pitches and can throw his fastball in the high 80s to low 90s.

Eighth-round selection Ryan Conroy, a right-hander, was selected out of Elon and signed for a $150,000 signing bonus, which was just over $20,000 below slot.

After making his professional debut with the GCL Orioles and struggling a little bit, he has made his last seven appearances with the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds and has shone. Conroy owns a 2.35 ERA and has struck out nine over 7 2/3 innings with the IronBirds. Five of his seven appearances with Aberdeen have been scoreless.

Conroy is more of a two-pitch pitcher in my eyes and could be destined as a reliever. He has a fastball that sits at 89-92 mph and has a pretty good slider. His fastball does have some good sink to it and it helps him induce a lot of ground balls.

Last, but certainly not least, is the ninth round pick, left-hander Kevin Magee. He was selected out of St. John’s University and signed for a $6,000 signing bonus, over $140k below slot.

The 6-foot-2, 210-lb. Magee made a couple of appearances for the GCL Orioles, where he allowed one run over 2 1/3 innings, and then moved on to the IronBirds, where he has been even better. Over seven appearances with the IronBirds, Magee is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP over 17 innings. He has struck out 13 batters thus far for Aberdeen and has held opponents to a .238 batting average.

What I like most about Magee isn’t his fastball, which sits 87-91 mph, but his changeup, which can be filthy at times. Some scouts have told me that his changeup has plus potential if it’s not there already. That changeup makes his fastball play up.

It’s very early in their careers and obviously very small sample sizes, but it’s nice to see some of the arms selected in this year’s draft performing well to begin their professional careers.

Josh Michael blogs about the Orioles for Baby Birdland. Follow him on Twitter: @BabyBirdland. His opinions on the Orioles will appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s longstanding initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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