Orioles’ 7-foot draft pitcher would be MLB’s tallest ever

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles were aiming high with their 13th-round draft pick.

Seven full feet – and that’s before their new pitching prospect hits the mound.

The O’s selected 7-foot left-hander Jared Beck from Saint Leo University with the first pick in Round 13 of baseball’s amateur draft on Wednesday. If Beck makes it to the majors, he would surpass 6-foot-11 pitchers Sean Hjelle and Jon Rauch as the tallest player in major league history.

Beck struck out 105 in 68 1/3 innings for Division II Saint Leo this season, posting a 3.95 ERA. He also pitched summer ball for the Savannah Bananas, where he stood out at a minor league club focused more on goofy entertainment than player development.

The O’s see Beck as more than an oddity, citing a fastball they clocked up to 95 mph. Baltimore draft manager Brad Ciolek acknowledged on Wednesday that there is work to be done to help Beck manage his extra-long limbs, and they also plan to help him improve his breaking ball and changeover. .

“Jared is a really interesting case,” Ciolek said. “Obviously he’s a bit bigger guy, and it could take a bit more, I guess, in terms of delivery, refining his mechanics. But we have faith in our player development staff, our pitching coaches, that they will be able to make the most of his abilities.

There have been at least two minor league baseball players taller than Beck at 7-foot-1. Dutch pitcher Loek Van Mil played 10 seasons in affiliate ball, mostly with Minnesota, and Ryan Doherty pitched three seasons in the Arizona system before moving to professional beach volleyball.

Here are some other selections of note from the third and final day of the draft, which covered rounds 11-20:

— RHP Marquis Grissom Jr., Washington: Grissom’s father was a third-round pick of the Montreal Expos in 1988 and played six seasons as an outfielder for the club, which moved to Washington in 2005. The younger Grissom was a 13th round selection. for the same franchise after going 4-5 with 57 strikeouts in 61 innings as a starting pitcher at Georgia Tech.

– 3B Jackson Jaha, New York Mets: Jaha, a 15th round pick, is the son of former major league slugger John, who played 10 seasons with Milwaukee and Oakland. Jackson is a high school player from Clackamas High School in Oregon and is committed to the University of Oregon.

— RHP Caden Dana and OF Casey Dana, Los Angeles Angels: LA picked Caden, a high school pitcher, in the 11th round, then picked his brother Casey, an outfielder from UConn, in the 16th round. Caden has committed to Kentucky for college and could use a big signing bonus. Finding a job for his brother, a fifth-year senior with the Huskies, could help with those negotiations.

— RHP Jared Karros, Los Angeles Dodgers: Eric Karros played 12 seasons in Dodger Blue, winning rookie of the year in 1992 as first baseman. Jared went to UCLA just like his dad, where he had a 3.33 ERA for the Bruins, good enough for the Dodgers to take him in the 16th round.

– RHP/LHP Jurrangelo Cijntje, Milwaukee: Cinjtje is a pro pitching prospect with both arms, hitting 96 mph on the right side and 92 mph on the left side. The Florida high school player lasted until the 18th round and could honor his college commitment at Mississippi State. If he decides to sign, he could follow Pat Venditte’s path as an ambidextrous big league pitcher.


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