Orioles select Politi in Rule 5 draft (updated)

SAN DIEGO – The Orioles maintained their streak of being active in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft, selecting right-hander Andrew Politi from the Red Sox organization.

Politi, 26, was a 15th-round draft pick in 2018 out of Seton Hall. He made 50 appearances this year between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester, including two starts, and registered a 2.34 ERA and 0.966 WHIP with eight saves. He struck out 83 batters in 69 1/3 innings.

In four minor league seasons, Politi has posted a 4.14 ERA and 1.250 WHIP with 16 saves in 125 games. He’s averaged 7.4 hits, 3.8 walks, 11.1 strikeouts and 0.8 home runs per nine innings.

Politi struck out 132 batters in 94 2/3 innings at Seton Hall. Baseball America ranked him as Boston’s No. 23 prospect in 2020 and No. 30 last year.

Baseball America’s 5.0 Rule 5 preview included the following about Politi:

“The pride of Long Valley, N.J., Politi is an undersized right-hander with a high-effort delivery. He features a three-pitch mix led by an average four-seam fastball that sits 93-95 mph and touches 97 mph at peak with cut and a flatter approach angle and an upper-80s slider. Politi features a low-80s curveball with good depth and two-plane break.

"All of Politi’s pitches play as average but he’s seen success in the upper minors over the last two seasons, proving he can miss bats, throw consistent strikes and generate ground balls. Politi made 38 appearances for Triple-A Worcester in 2022, compiling a 4-0 record with four saves, a 2.41 ERA, a 28.3% strikeout rate and a .191 opponent batting average. Politi looks ready for a major league role in some capacity in 2023, it’s just a matter of a team feeling he has enough upside to carry him for the entire season.”

The Orioles passed in the second round. They didn’t lose anyone in the major league phase.

The 40-man roster holds 39 players.

The club has made a selection every year since 2006, except for 2021 with the cancellation of the Winter Meetings.

The activity was brisk in the Triple-A phase, with the Orioles selecting right-hander Alfred Vega from the Yankees' system, left-hander Trey McGough from the Pirates and catcher Randy Florentino from the Rangers.

Vega, 21, was taken from the Florida Complex League roster. He has a 3.10 ERA and 1.234 WHIP in 41 games (26 starts), with 46 walks and 137 strikeouts in 139 1/3 innings.

Vega allowed two earned runs (three total) with four walks and 22 strikeouts this year in 15 1/2 innings in the FCL.

The Pirates drafted McGough in the 24th round in 2019 out of Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Md. He's registered a 3.31 ERA and 1.133 WHIP in 50 games (24 starts) over three seasons, with 38 walks and 144 strikeouts in 163 1/3 innings.

McGough allowed six runs with four walks and 13 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings at Triple-A Indianapolis this year, appearing in only eight games (five starts) due to multiple stops on the injured list. He was 9-15 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.682 WHIP in 40 collegiate games, including 29 starts.

Florentino, 22, is a left-handed hitter who's slashed .240/.357/380 with 15 home runs in four seasons. He spent this year at Single-A Hickory and batted .242/.332/.353 in 51 games.

He's thrown out 23 percent of runners attempting to steal.

The Orioles lost three players in the Triple-A phase: pitcher Héctor Pérez to the Rays, infielder Jonathan Araúz to the Mets and catcher Cody Roberts to the Phillies.

Araúz appeared in nine games with the Orioles this summer and went 5-for-28 with a home run before injuring his thumb.

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