NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the Triple-A phase of today's Rule 5 draft, the Orioles selected right-handed pitcher Tom Boleska from the Minnesota Twins organization. The 26-year-old native of Montreal was originally drafted out of High Point University by Pittsburgh in Round 35 of 2007.
Last year, Boleska pitched in the independent American Association for Fargo-Moorhead, going 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA over 46 relief appearances. In 46 innings, he gave up 37 hits with 11 walks to 58 strikeouts.
In his six-year professional career, Boleska is 14-13 with a 2.47 ERA. Over 182 games, three starts, he has fanned 268 with 70 walks.
Boleska had been signed by the Twins after the 2012 season, but was left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft. If Boleska had still been with his independent league club, the Orioles could have just signed him as a free agent and wouldn't have used this draft to get him.
Even though he was selected in the Triple-A phase of the draft, the Orioles can place him at any level of their minor league system next season.
Mike Snyder, the Orioles' assistant director of scouting and player development, provided a scouting report on Boleska.
"We've seen him in independent ball. Continues our pursuit in the independent leagues. We also saw him at Germany at the World Baseball Cup qualifiers. Little bit of our international program showing through there, too. Fastball is 90 to 95 mph, sitting somewhere low 90s. Also throws a curveball and slider. Has a good repertoire and we like his stuff," Snyder said.
The Orioles are continuing to mine the independent leagues for talent. They recently signed pitchers Logan Mahon from the Frontier League and Chase Johnson from the American Association and now they add Boleska.
"It's a bit of an untapped market and we're really just trying to pursue any avenue we can to pursue every player possible," Snyder said.
The Orioles lost one player today, not in the major league phase of the draft but the Triple-A phase, when the Los Angeles Angels selected outfielder Robbie Widlansky of the Orioles' Double-A Bowie roster.
In 128 Bowie games in 2012, Widlansky hit .316 with 35 doubles, eight homers, 83 RBIs and an .850 OPS. The Orioles selected the 28-year-old Widlansky out of Florida Atlantic in Round 11 of the 2007 draft. They could have protected him by placing him on their Triple-A roster.
"Yeah, he had a good year and he'll do well for them. Sometimes it's just (a matter of) roster space. Sorry to see him go," Snyder said.