The Orioles were without a 2nd round draft pick in 2010, a they were forced to give it up to the Braves as a result of signing Type A free agent Mike Gonzalez. But, the Orioles somewhat made up for this when they drafted UCLA righty Dan Klein in the 3rd round and signed him to a $499,000 bonus, which is equivalent to second round money.
Klein was red-shirted in his sophomore season due to shoulder surgery. He came back for UCLA in his junior campaign as the club’s closer, experiencing quite a bit of success in that role.
Although he was used strictly as a reliever at UCLA, the Orioles plan to stretch him out and eventually make him a starter. His balanced 4 pitch arsenal gives him good chances to find success as a starter.
Klein could be fast tracked to Baltimore’s bullpen by late 2011, but the Orioles seem intent on developing him as a starter, due mainly to his impressive 4-pitch repertoire featuring a sinking fastball that sits in the low 90s, a hard biting slider, an average, rolling curveball, and a developing changeup.
While Klein probably won’t be a strikeout machine, he will induce a good amount of ground balls and he flashes above average command of four pitches. Because Baltimore will have to ease Klein into a starter’s workload, his development will likely take longer than most polished college pitchers. Still, if he remains healthy, he could profile as a mid-rotation starter in a park that plays well for ground ball pitchers. He’ll open 2011 as a member of Frederick’s bullpen.