Orioles select two pitchers, lose two in Rule 5 draft (Snyder quote)

The Orioles again made two selections in today’s Rule 5 draft and they again focused on pitching.

The fifth overall pick turned into right-hander Mac Sceroler, the nephew of former Orioles pitcher Ben McDonald. The Orioles took right-hander Tyler Wells in the second round to fill out their 40-man roster.

Sceroler, 25, came from the Reds organization, where he posted a 3.69 ERA and a 1.111 WHIP in 26 games (20 starts) at high Single-A Daytona in 2019 and averaged 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s 9-16 with a 4.07 ERA and 1.285 WHIP 56 minor league games, including 47 starts, and averages 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Reds selected Sceroler in the fifth round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of Southeastern Louisiana.

Wells, 26, comes from the Twins system, where he’s gone 20-13 with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.060 WHIP in 50 games (46 starts). He’s struck out 288 batters in 255 2/3 innings and has reached the Double-A level.

Wells, a 15th-round draft pick in 2016 out of California State, didn’t pitch in 2019.

Players must remain on the major league roster for the entire season. They can be optioned to the minors only after passing through waivers and being offered back to their organizations.

Teams claimed unprotected players today for a $100,000 fee.

Orioles bags.jpgThe Orioles have made a selection every year since 2006. They chose pitchers Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker last winter and returned them to the Astros and Cubs, respectively, on March 6.

Baseball shut down less than a week later and teams were allowed to expand their rosters.

Two of the Orioles’ Top 30 prospects per MLBPipeline.com were exposed in today’s draft - pitchers Cody Sedlock (No. 27) and Brenan Hanifee (No. 28). They weren’t touched.

However, the Orioles lost pitchers Zach Pop and Grey Fenter to the Diamondbacks and Cubs, respectively.

Pop came to the organization in the Manny Machado trade with the Dodgers. He rehabbed from Tommy John surgery in 2019.

Fenter, 24, wasn’t selected last year. He went 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings with Single-A Delmarva in 2019.

Update: The Orioles selected right-hander Rickey Ramirez, 24, from the Twins organization in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft. He’s a 15th-rounder in 2017 out of Fresno State who’s gone 4-5 with a 4.44 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 60 relief appearances. He hasn’t pitched above the high Single-A level.

Ramirez has allowed only four home runs.99 1/3 innings.

Update II: The Orioles also selected 24-year-old catcher Chris Hudgins from the Royals system. He’s a former 16th-round pick in 2017 out of Cal State-Fullerton who has slashed .261/.327/.457 with 27 doubles, five triples, 17 home runs and 83 RBIs in 120 games. He hasn’t played above the high Single-A level.

Hudgins also has some experience at first and third base.

The Orioles selected right-hander Ignacio Feliz, 21, in the third round from the Padres. He also was in Indians organization. He’s 9-11 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.395 WHIP in 36 games (35 starts) and hasn’t pitched above the low Single-A level.

The Orioles passed in the fourth round.

Update III: Director of pro scouting Mike Snyder talked about Sceroler and Wells in a Zoom conference call with the media.

“Both of these guys fit an attractive archetype as strike-throwing starting pitchers with a deep repertoire. In both cases we have excellent performance and a very appealing pitch mix,” Snyder said.

“For Sceroler, we were attracted to the four-pitch mix. It’s a good fastball, good traits and flashes of power. He leverages the curveball downhill. Throws the slider for strikes and for chases and he can get a lot of awkward swings on a plus-splitter. So he brings a lot to the table.

“Tyler Wells is an interesting case. There are some similarities to Sceroler in that we’re drawn to the full assortment of weapons he has in his bag, both with lefties and with righties. He’s a 6-8 monster. He’s a starter who works all four quadrants of the zone with the fastball. He features two interesting breaking balls and a plus-changeup. He executes them well and throws them for strikes.

“For him, he missed the 2019 season. He had elbow reconstruction in May of 2019, so 2020 would have been largely a lost season for him anyway and in that respect the shutdown probably wasn’t as detrimental to him as it might have been for the development of some other players. So with both these guys, we’re excited for the chance just to acquire two starting pitchers who feature an impressive combination of bat-missing ability and a proclivity for throwing strikes.”

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