O's land prized JUCO arm Dietz with 3rd pick

Selected No. 69 overall, righty considered top junior college prospect in Draft

O's land prized JUCO arm Dietz with 3rd pick

BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Wednesday that over half of Baltimore's draftees would be pitchers. The O's didn't wait long to put that to the test: drafting three arms in their three picks during Thursday night's Draft.

Baltimore used its 69th pick on right-hander Matthias Dietz from John A. Logan CC (Illinois), and he joined University of Illinois righty Cody Sedlock and Western Michigan lefty Keegan Akin as the O's crop of Day 1 selections.

27th overall: Cody Sedlock
54th overall: Keegan Akin

Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich said that was the goal and the team had some position players as safety valves just in case, but he was "very pleased" with the pitchers added on Thursday.

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10, and the O's will pick at No. 91. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

Thought to be the best junior college prospect in the Draft, Dietz was originally drafted by the Giants in the 29th round last year, but he didn't sign. Instead, he spent the summer adding strength, and he's seen big improvements in his stuff. He went 12-1 with a 1.22 ERA in 13 starts with 117 strikeouts over 103 innings in 2016, ranking third in wins, fifth in ERA and seventh in whiffs among national junior college pitchers entering the JUCO World Series.

Dietz was compensation after the Orioles were unable to sign their second-round pick last year, Jonathan Hughes.

Dietz, who topped out at 93-94 mph last year, now consistently sits at 91-94 mph with his fastball and has hit 98 in shorter outings. His slider has also improved, and he's made big strides with his changeup, which gives him a better chance of remaining a starter.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, the 20-year-old has a three-quarters delivery and creates a tough angle for hitters. According to MLB.com's expert reports, he "has no problem filling the strike zone, though he'll need to improve the command of his fastball and the consistency of his secondary pitches to make it as a big league starter. If he can't, he has promise as a late-inning reliever."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.