Friday, August 19, 2022

MLB Draft 2022: Four most intriguing final day picks, including Brewers taking switch-pitcher

Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft wrapped up Tuesday following three days’ and 20 rounds’ worth of selections (check out all the picks here). While the nature of the draft meant that there weren’t any high-grade prospects chosen on Tuesday in Rounds 11-20, there were a few players grabbed who have interesting backstories or circumstances.

Consider the following four players, presented in their order of selection.

No. 327, Tigers: Joe Miller, LHP, Penn

If you’re not familiar with the Savannah Bananas, they’re an independent league team in the Coastal Plain League best known for zany and elaborate antics. Miller is a left-handed pitcher who appeared in 10 games with them last season as a means of making up for the innings he lost in Penn’s COVID-19-truncated schedule. He was able to get a full season’s worth of work in this year with the Quakers, and he’s since thrown in four games in the Cape Cod League. The Tigers clearly liked what they saw, popping him early in the 11th round.

No. 377, Orioles: Jared Beck, LHP, St. Leo University

Beck, who also pitched with the Bananas last summer, is listed at 7-foot, meaning that in the event he ever reaches the majors, he’d become the tallest pitcher in MLB history. (That distinction currently belongs to Sean Hjelle and Jon Rauch, both listed at 6-foot-11.)  He made 13 starts for the Lions this season, tallying a 3.95 ERA and a 3.39 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 68 innings. Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo tweeted that Beck has an 89-to-91 mph fastball and a “surprisingly clean” delivery for someone of his unusual height, traits that were attractive to the Orioles.

No. 495, Dodgers: Jared Karros, RHP, UCLA

Karros, the Dodgers‘ 16th-round selection, was the Bruins’ 2021 Opening Day starter but has not pitched since March of that year because of an undisclosed back injury. The Dodgers chose him, perhaps at least partially as a nod to his father Eric, the 1992 National League Rookie of the Year winner who played 12 of his 14 big-league seasons with the organization. (He’s now part of their broadcast team.) It’s worth noting that Jared played at UCLA alongside his brother Kyle, who appeared in more than 40 games as the Bruins’ third baseman. It’s to be seen if the Dodgers select Kyle someday down the road as well.

No. 552, Brewers: Jurrangelo Cijntje, SHP, Champagnat Catholic School (FL)

Yes, folks, Cijntje is a switch-pitcher. The Brewers waited until the 18th round to nab one of the most intriguing prospects in the class. According to Jim Callis, Cijntje throws 94-96 mph with his right hand, and 88-92 mph with his left. (He’s a natural southpaw, oddly enough.) He has a commitment to Mississippi State, but if Cijntje were to make it to the majors, he’d become the second ambidextrous pitcher in league history, joining five-year big-league veteran Pat Venditte.

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