Is it too risky to draft a high school pitcher?

The debate will rage on at least for a few more days.

Should the Orioles shy away from drafting a high school pitcher with the fourth pick in round one of Monday's First-Year Player Draft? Should they take a college player or pitcher that is likely closer to getting to the majors?

The last three times the Orioles drafted a high school pitcher in Round 1, they took Matt Hobgood in 2009, Adam Loewen in 2002 and Richard Stahl in 1999.

Only Loewen ever made the majors and Hobgood is rehabbing an injury and has not played above the South Atlantic League yet.

Jim Callis, Baseball America executive editor, said none of that should keep the Orioles from taking a high school pitcher Monday night if they deem that to be the best player available when they select.

"I don't think Hobgood is relevant at all," Callis said. "I know they said he was the best pick there, but Hobgood was not purely a talent pick. He was taken to sign for slot money and they didn't want to go way over slot. The team is never going to come out and say that but I believe that.

"(Dylan) Bundy, we have him number two on our prospect list, ahead of all the college pitchers, and you could argue he's number one. If you are worried about a high school pitcher as a top pick, I would tell people this guy is so exceptional it's almost like he's a college pitcher.

"He's not just some guy that is raw and throws hard and you wonder about his other pitches. Dylan Bundy can do it all. His resume is ridiculous."

Bundy pitched for Owasso High in Oklahoma and went 11-0 this year with a 0.20 ERA. In 71 innings he walked just five and fanned 158.

"He's a 92-95 guy that touches 98 and maybe flashes triple digits every once in a while," Callis said. "His hammer curveball you could argue might be better than his fastball. He's got a cutter that really at times is almost like a 92 mile per hour slider. He has an advanced feel for a changeup with a very clean delivery."

Bundy has a commitment to the University of Texas, but he is not expected to honor that and is considered very likely to sign. That is despite a rumored bonus demand that it seems no one in the sport is taking seriously.

"They have thrown out an asking price of six years and $30 million," Callis said. "But that is twice what (Stephen) Strasburg got and so out of the realm of reality, you don't take that seriously. I think they are trying to steer him to specific clubs. You are going to wind up offering this guy so much money, there is no way he turns it down.

"The record for a high school pitcher is a $7 million major league contract by Josh Beckett and Rick Porcello. I think he is going to be in that neighborhood. They may be making noise about $30 million, but it would flabbergast me if they turned down six or seven million."

blog comments powered by Disqus