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MLB Draft 2019: Oakland A’s select Tyler Baum with No. 66 overall pick

A right-handed pitcher out of University of North Carolina

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s selected Tyler Baum in the 2nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft, with the No. 66 overall pick. The 21-year-old is a right-handed pitcher from University of North Carolina.

Here’s a scouting report on Baum from MLB Pipeline:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45

He could have gone in the top three rounds in 2016 had he been signable as a Florida high schooler, but Baum withdrew his name from the Draft because he wanted to attend North Carolina. He has performed capably for three years with the Tar Heels, though he never has dominated as much as hoped. He ascended to the front of UNC’s rotation this year but got knocked around in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Baum can display four pitches that earn solid or better grades at their best. As a starter, he works at 90-92 mph and reaches 94 with his fastball, creating some armside run with some crossfire in his delivery. He uses his high-three-quarters arm slot to stay on top of an upper-70s curveball that is often his best pitch, and he also can manipulate it into a harder, more lateral-breaking slider in the low 80s.

Baum also has at least an average changeup with some fade and is doing a much better job of throwing strikes in 2019, enhancing his chances of remaining a starter in pro ball. He has a high floor as a potential No. 4 starter with a fallback of becoming at least a seventh-inning reliever. He has reached 97 mph with his fastball coming out of the bullpen and could have a more consistent plus curveball in shorter stints.

Pipeline ranked Baum at No. 100 on their pre-draft big board, so this might have been earlier than expected. The selection of Baum means that both of the A’s first two picks are college players from the Carolinas, after they chose Clemson (South Carolina) shortstop Logan Davidson in the 1st round.

Here are Baum’s college stats, playing in the ACC, which is one of the better conferences for baseball (mostly as a starter):

2017 (Fr): 2.57 ERA, 63 ip, 47 Ks, 27 BB, 6 HR
2018 (So): 4.57 ERA, 65 ip, 74 Ks, 32 BB, 6 HR
2019 (Jr): 3.91 ERA, 73⅔ ip, 82 Ks, 22 BB, 3 HR

And his numbers from the Cape Cod League (mostly as a starter), against hitters using wood bats:

CC ‘17: 2.72 ERA, 43 ip, 41 Ks, 10 BB, 2 HR
CC ‘18: 0.75 ERA, 12 ip, 12 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HR

Melissa Lockard of The Athletic offers a quick take:

His school offers this highlight video:

The A’s have drafted a couple other players out of UNC recently, as well as elsewhere in the Carolinas:

  • UNC: OF Skye Bolt (4R, 2015) and OF Tyler Ramirez (7R, 2016)
  • Wake Forest: RHP Parker Dunshee (7R, 2017) and 2B Nate Mondou (13R, 2016)
  • N.C. State: LHP Will Gilbert (8R, 2016)
  • Clemson: IF Eli White (11R, 2016) and LHP Pat Krall (28R, 2017), plus RHP Daniel Gossett (2R, 2014)
  • ... among a few other names from UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Greensboro, and University of South Carolina. And back in 2012, RHP Ryan Dull in the 32nd round out of UNC-Asheville.
  • And of course, most notably they pulled OF Austin Beck from a North Carolina high school in the 1st round in 2017.