The Orioles selected Sebastian Vader in the 18th round of the 2010 MLB draft. The 6′ 4” righty received a fairly hefty signing bonus of $150,000, which shows the Orioles feel he has potential. They are hoping that this 18th rounder could be a diamond in the rough.
Vader has a lot of good things going for him. He’s one of the more athletic pitchers you will see. He played quarterback in high school and has a good pitcher’s frame. To sum him up, he has all the “looks” of a good pitcher. Topping off things to like with him is the name. I wish my name was cool like Sebastian Vader.
I was able to see Vader pitch on Friday (7/13/12) and what follows are my observations.
The outcome of the game was a 10-0 loss for Aberdeen, so it was not the most exciting game in the world. In fact, the Ironbirds only totaled one hit the entire game. However, Vader made the trip worthy. His final line on the day was 5.0 innings with 9 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 K, 1 BB allowed. That doesn’t sound too flashy, but at this stage of a pitchers career, it’s all about looking for positive gains.
It’s very important to remember that Vader is very raw as a prospect, and much time and work is still needed to be done. He is simply not on the same level as a Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy. He is a guy to sit back and wait on.
The best thing about Vader is how smooth his delivery is. I could watch him pitch all day. He might have one of the better deliveries in the Orioles system, and he’s probably a guy you don’t have to worry much about on the arm injury front. Although injuries can be fairly unpredictable at times, Vader has a delivery that should at least decrease his chances from suffering an injury. This could change in the future depending on how they alter his mechanics (if at all).
Vader’s fastball is really deceptive. It’s probably one of the more impressive things to notice when he is pitching. For any Orioles fans, it kind of reminds me of the deception Wei-Yin Chen has. While Chen does not throw entirely hard, he seemingly keeps hitters off-balance and “fools” them with the deceptive velocity on the fastball. It’s the same with Vader.
He continuously was getting hitters to be late on the fastball. Of course, he also was struggling to locate it at times. His change up was a work in progress, and he bounced it more often than not. His slider was Jekyll and Hyde all day. While he spun a few that I thought were above-average, he also hung one that was obliterated for a 2 run HR over the LF fence.
Overall, the fastball was clearly his best pitch and that is not really surprising at all. He needs to work on his fastball/change up arm slot. It was a little noticeable when the change up was coming.
Getting back to his final line (5.0 innings with 9 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 K, 1 BB allowed), it’s what I like to call the “Jake Arrieta” game. Six of those hits were grounders right up the middle. Only about three of them were truly hit hard. BABIP was not on his side on this day.
Also there was a play where the RF should have caught the ball, as it bounced off his glove while he attempted to catch it on the run. It was ruled a triple, but I would have ruled it an error. Again, in the NYPL you cannot rely on defenses and in general cannot analyze a player truly on a box score and stats.
Overall, Vader showed his smooth delivery and deception, while also showing where he needs more development. In conclusion, remember that Sebastian Vader is a young pitcher with a boatload of talent. However, he is still very raw and there is still plenty of room for growth and development. We could be looking at a solid pitcher two years down the road if he can harness and master any of the raw talent he has bottled up.