LOS ANGELES – The Baltimore Orioles took aim high with their 13th-round pick.
A full seven feet – and that’s before the prospect of their new pitching hits the hill.
Saint Leo’s tall 7-foot-7 Jared Beck was selected with the first pick in the 13th round of the amateur baseball draft on Tuesday. If Beck makes it to the majors, he will surpass bowlers Sean Hagel and John Rauch at 6-foot-11 as the tallest player in major league history.
Beck hit 105 hits in 68 1/3 innings for St. Leo’s second division this season, scoring a 3.95 ERA. He also did summer ball for the Savannah Bananas, standing out for a secondary club that focused more on goofy entertainment than player development.
O’s Beck sees it as more than just odd, citing the fastball they clocked up to 95 mph. Baltimore project manager Brad Ciolic acknowledged Wednesday that there is work to be done to help Beck manage his extra-long limbs, and they plan to help him improve and alter his broken ball as well.
“Jared is a really interesting case,” Ciolek said. “Obviously he’s a bit bigger guy, and that could take a little bit more, I think, in terms of delivery, improving his mechanics. But we trust our player development team, our play coaches, that I’ll be able to make the most of his ability.”
There have been at least two Major League baseball players taller than Beck at 7-foot-1. Dutch bowler Loek van Mil played 10 seasons in affiliated ball, mostly with Minnesota, and Ryan Doherty pitched parts of three seasons in the Arizona system. Before moving on to professional beach volleyball.
Here are some other noteworthy picks from the third and final day of the draft, which covered Rounds 11-20:
RHB Marquis Grissom Jr., Washington: Grissom’s father was a third-round pick by the Montreal Expos in 1988 and played six seasons as a defensive player for the club, who moved to Washington in 2005. The younger Grissom was a thirteenth-round pick for the club. Same privilege after going 4-5 with 57 strikes in 61 rounds as Georgia Tech’s primary bowler.
3B Jackson Jaha, New York Mets: Jaha, the 15th round pick, is the son of former Big League player John, who played 10 seasons with Milwaukee and Oakland. Jackson is a high school player from Clackamas High School in Oregon and committed to the University of Oregon.
RHP Caden Dana and Casey Dana, Los Angeles Angels: L.A. chose Caden, a high school pitcher, in Round 11, then chose his brother Casey, a UConn defensive player, in Round 16. Caden is committed to Kentucky for college and may require a huge signing bonus. Finding a job for his brother, a fifth-year student with huskies, may help with these negotiations.
RHB Jared Carus, Los Angeles Dodgers: Eric Carrus played 12 seasons at Dodger Blue, winning Rookie of the Year in 1992 as the first baseman. Jared went to UCLA like his dad, having a 3.33 ERA for the Bruins, good enough for the Dodgers to take him in the 16th round.
RHP/LHP Jurrangelo Cijntje, Milwaukee: Cijntje is a professional prospect with both arms, hitting 96 mph from the right side and 92 mph from the left. The Florida High School player lasted through the 18th round and might make his Mississippi State college commitment. If he decides to sign, he could follow Pat Vendet’s path as a super kicker for the league.