I am fortunate to have family in Sarasota, and am usually able to catch a few GCL Orioles games each year when visiting.
The GCL Orioles roster was not quite as exciting as it has been in past years, but there were still some very talented players on the roster.
Josh Hader was easily the most impressive pitcher I saw in the GCL. His low arm slot gives all of his pitches lots of movement, and when you pair that with his deception you can see how he strikes out so many hitters.
Hader was a 19th round selection this past year and is already looking like a steal. His velocity has jumped from the high 80s in high school into the 89-91 mph range as a pro, and he still has some projection left.
Improving his changeup and the consistency of his breaking ball will be key as he faces more advanced hitters.
Although he was pitching out of the bullpen for the IronBirds, it was pretty clear that Hader was too advanced for the NYPL. He could begin 2013 as a member of the Delmarva bullpen and later be eased into their rotation.
Jhondaniel Medina heads this year’s class of GCL international pitchers. The Venezuelan righty works with an 89-91 mph fastball, slider, and changeup.
Medina’s arsenal is solid all around, and he has good command of all his pitches. Adding a tick or two of velocity to his fastball would go a long way, but he may be just about filled out physically.
He’ll likely open 2013 in the IronBirds’ starting rotation.
I made it to three GCL games during my time in Sarasota. In each game, Adrian Marin did something to make himself stand out. He was impressive and easily the best player on the field for the Orioles.
Marin looks like a natural when watching him play because he does so many things well. He uses all fields, has smooth actions at SS, a strong arm, above-average speed, is a heads up player, and really understands the game.
On top of all that, Marin demonstrated the ability to wait on pitches and showed good pitch recognition.
Marin is ready to handle Delmarva and looks set to open 2013 as the Shorebirds’ starting shortstop.
Simply put, Hector Veloz hits the ball hard. He has a pretty good eye when it comes to balls and strikes, but doesn’t have the best pitch recognition.
Veloz has tremendous power to all fields and I saw him hit home runs to the deepest parts of Ed Smith Stadium.
His actions are a bit stiff at third base, although his arm strength is above-average. He’s a better fit at first base going forward, but him playing 3B in the future isn’t completely out of the question if he improves with repetition.
He’ll open 2013 as part of Aberdeen’s roster.