ESPN’s Keith Law on the top pitchers in the draft

In his mock draft from May 18, ESPN’s Keith Law had the Orioles taking Oklahoma high school pitcher Dylan Bundy with the fourth pick in Monday’s draft.

In his mock draft out yesterday, Law now projects University of Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen to be the O’s pick.

He has Pittsburgh taking UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole with the first pick before Seattle takes Anthony Rendon of Rice and Arizona selects UCLA hurler Trevor Bauer.

Law was a guest on my radio show this week on 105.7 FM in Baltimore and sized up the draft’s highest-rated pitchers.

“Cole is clearly the best of all of them. He hasn’t performed the best. Hultzen and Bauer have performed better in college this year. But for me, Cole’s stuff is top of the charts. He’s only the second pitcher that I’ve ever personally clocked at 100 or better. The other was Aroldis Chapman.

“I’ve seen (Stephen) Strasburg in person but never actually clocked him over 100. Plus Cole has a knockout changeup that I’ve comped to Clay Buchholz, who has one of the best right-handed changeups in the big leagues right now.

“Hultzen to me is really polished, he will probably sit about 90-93 (with his fastball) when he is going every fifth day. He’s got a good changeup and some feel for a slider, but it’s never going to be a knockout pitch for him. He’s got good feel and command, but he’s not a number one starter for me.

“Bauer is a different animal. His numbers are out of sight. He throws this knockout curveball that college hitters swing and miss at all the time. He’s throws it out the zone a lot. I saw him last Saturday, 95 in the first and ninth, he was the same guy for 130-something pitches,” Law said.

He talked further about Bauer and his outlook for the pro ranks.

“He spins curve after curve in the dirt and gets swings and misses. By the time he gets to Double-A he will have to make adjustments because hitters will lay off that pitch. He also has had very high workloads in college and he has some effort in that delivery. All of that makes me wonder how much mileage is already on the car and how much mileage does it have left before the next service.”

Law thinks for the Orioles it may come down to a choice between three pitchers in Hultzen, Bundy and Bauer.

“I think they would choose Hultzen over Bauer and Bundy but Bundy over Bauer. If you drafted Hultzen today he’d probably be in the big leagues for you in a year or so where Bundy is probably two years away.

“That seperates Bundy for me. Most high school pitchers are at least three years away and some probably four. In Bundy’s case, he is probably two years or less away because he is so physically developed, especially his lower half and polished right now.

“He generates velocity by using his lower half and strong legs and there is not as much stress on the arm, which you would like to think gives him a better chance to stay healthy.

“He has a tremendous pitching plan. He pitches like he is 25. You see some 18-year-olds and they fall in love with the gun or off-speed pitches. Dylan Bundy just has a great pitching plan and has four or five weapons that he can use to get hitters out and he mixes them up like a veteran pitcher,” he said.

Law said some have projected Bundy as possibly the best talent in the entire draft.

“I’ve had scouts tell me that Bundy might be the best prospect in the entire draft. But no high school right-hander has ever gone number one and I don’t think that would change this year. But the Orioles could get not only the best high school pitcher in the draft for sure, but the first or second-best player on a lot of scouts’ boards,” Law said.

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