With the 11th overall pick in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, the Baltimore Orioles have selected Central Heights (TX) High School pitcher Grayson Rodriguez.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 5, 2018
Gray-Rod (you heard it here first) was a 2018 Rawling-Perfect Game First Team Senior Preseason All-American and a Texas-All Region First team selection. He helped his school win the Texas 3A State title in his junior year where he went 14-1 with a 0.38 ERA.
Rodriguez has made tremendous strides over the past year to get him to this moment. A year ago, his fastball was hovering in the lower 90’s, but there must be something in the water down in Texas because the kid put on about 20 pounds of muscle and is now pushing about 98 mph. He has also broken down his slurve-ball and turned it into two distinct breaking ball pitches (a slider and a curve).
“The ball just felt different coming out of my hand,” Rodriguez said. “I really don’t know how to describe it. It was just jumping out of my hand. It feels like half the effort it did before to throw it as hard as I wanted to. I definitely didn’t have to try to throw hard. It just came a lot more natural.”
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get too excited about this pick.
Joe Wedra from Camden Chat noted a tweet from Executive Editor for Baseball America JJ Cooper that there were plenty of prospects on the board, and the O’s may have reached a bit on this pick.
11. Orioles. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP. The pop-up pitcher of this class, but didn't see him as the 2nd HS RHP off the board. VG stuff, but if I have the pick, I take the more polished Cole Winn.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 5, 2018
Winn was selected by the Rangers with the 15th pick after the O’s picked Rodriguez. According to his scouting report “Cole Winn is a 6’2”, 195 lb. Righthanded pitcher from Lutheran High School in Orange, California. Before his senior season, Winn had been living and playing Colorado, where he was named the state High School Pitcher of the Year, but transferred to Lutheran for his senior year, and has moved up the draft boards with a strong spring. Winn features a mid-90s fastball and a solid breaking.”
Seems like the O’s reached on this one, but we’ll see what the future holds.