Orioles Select Four in Rule Five Draft

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The Orioles used their number two selection in the draft to pick Astros RHP Brandon Bailey. A five pitch starter profile OH’s Luke Siler had this to say about him pre draft

From Luke

  1. BRANDON BAILEY – RHP (ASTROS) https://www.orioleshangout.com/2019/12/11/lukes-2019-rule-5-draft-preference-list/
    Bailey can do a lot of things. He’s a 5 pitch guy, with a fastball, cutter, slider, curveball and changeup. He can really spin the ball, and I believe his fastball has the highest Bauer Units (RPM/MPH) of any available pitcher. This give the pitch big vertical hop and allows it to miss bats at the top of the zone despite only being a fringe average pitch velocity-wise. The problem is that he has fastball command issues and the pitch can really get squared up in the bottom half of the zone. All of his offspeed pitches can miss bats but his feel for each comes and goes. He’s being developed for a multi-inning relief role and I think if he’s used as a once through the order guy with a simplified repertoire, he could make the jump from AA.

Luke explains the high Bauer units like this… “[It doesn’t] single handedly make a pitcher good. But if you ascribe to the notion that hitters like to be comfortable, and similar is comfortable, he is on the multiple standard deviations above the mean on this one. 

What it means is that his fastball falls much less than the average fastball in his velocity range. So hitters encounter movement (or in this case lack of movement) that they aren’t used to. It leads to lots of swings under the ball if used properly. It’s one of the explainers for what used to be called an invisible ball.”

“So picture a baseball that has bullet spin, and just goes straight in the direction it’s thrown, not affected by gravity. 

If you compare that pitch with a pitch that has perfect backspin, at a 12 o’clock angle, it will arrive directly above the first pitch, the amount of rise will be dependent on the rate which it spins. The more spin the more rise. 

Now in real life, all pitches are affected by gravity so instead of rise, it just falls less. Also most 4S fastballs don’t have perfect backspin, they usually spin at a 12:30 to 2:30 o’clock angle for RHP if you are watching from behind the mound. Which imparts both rise and armside movement.

In 2016 Koji Uehara averaged 87.3mph on his fastball but had a 2409rpm average spin rate.

The higher the velocity, the higher the average spin rate, so that’s why the term Bauer Unit is used, it relates spin rate to velocity. 

So Uehara had 27.6 Bauer Units on his fastball, which would be 15th out of 598 MLB pitchers in 2019. 

Bailey’s is even higher than that. “

CBS Sport had this pre draft as their number one proposed selection.

Brandon Bailey, RHP, Houston Astros

Brandon Bailey is the answer to a trivia question: who did the Astros receive in return for Ramon Laureano? That trade doesn’t look so hot for the Astros two years later — Laureano has since established himself as a well-above-average center fielder — Bailey still has a chance to put together a big-league career of his own. His game is one of checks and balances. He’s short (5-foot-10 officially) and doesn’t throw hard or get good extension out in front. He does, however, impart good spin on his fastball and complements it with a quality changeup and breaking ball. To keep with the theme: Bailey has struck out at least a batter per inning in each of his four professional seasons; alas, he’s also walked around four per nine in the past two years. If he’s chosen — there’s industry buzz suggesting he will be — his best role will likely be as a hybrid type who can run through a lineup once or twice.”

Fangraphs loved the Oriole second selection of the draft.


Michael Rucker, RHP (from CHC)
We’ve been on Rucker for a little while because his deceptive delivery (he hides the ball well) helped enable an otherwise fringy fastball to play. Rucker pitched his way into the Double-A rotation in 2018 but was put back in the bullpen last year and his velocity jumped. He’s now 92-95, touching 97, and his curveball and changeup are both average, while the curve flashes above. “

Luke Siler on Rucker

#Orioles Rule 5 draft pick Michael Rucker This name was completely off my radar, but I’ve had a chance to watch some video and here’s my thoughts. Fastball in the sitting 93-95 t97 late in the season with some riding action but the release is a bit inconsistent and Sometimes he seems to overpronate it, killing some of the vertical action and imparting more armside. It might be a 2S, but I couldn’t tell for sure. Directional command but far from pinpoint. Curveball 80-84mph is his best pitch, above average at times with near 12-6 shape Tight break with average depth. Slider is 83-86, too similar to the curveball and that will likely be something that the O’s will try and tweak to get more movement and velocity separation between the pitches. Also a low 80s split change, excellent velocity separation but It doesn’t seem to fool hitters, who are on time when it’s in the zone and lay off it when it’s down. Could be a good pitch, the action is good but something is giving it away. Holds velocity thru 50 pitches, better chance to start than Bailey IMO. But needs tweaks to stick. “

The final two selections were in the AAA phase meaning they are now part of the organization.

Again a Fangraphs quote

Minor League Phase Guys I Care or Know About
The Orioles popped two players, first baseman Cristopher Cespedes and second baseman Wilbis Santiago, from Cleveland’s lower minors. Cespedes had the second-highest average exit velo in the minors last year at a whopping 96 mph on average, but he’s a first base-only guy who’s been in rookie ball for several years. I love Santiago’s swing and think he’s been a victim of Cleveland’s terrific middle infield depth in the lower minors, which is why he’s been quite old for his level. “

On Cespedes we hear again from Luke Siler

” If you’re going to pick someone in rookie ball, it better be someone who hits the ball harder than Aaron Judge! (Oh wait, he does) “

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Michael Williams
Orioles fan since my grandfather scored some Chef Boyardee tickets to watch Frank and Jim and Earl and Brooks and Boog. My Dad loves the Orioles more than me and so does my wife. That's saying a lot. I live, down by the River. No van.