Baltimore Orioles draft 7-foot pitcher, would be tallest ever in MLB

Associated Press

Los Angeles — The Baltimore Orioles aimed high with their 13th-round draft pick.

A full seven feet — and that’s before their new pitching prospect gets on the mound.

Jared Beck struck out 105 batters in 68 1/3 innings for Division II Saint Leo this season, posting a 3.95 ERA.

The O’s selected 7-foot left-hander Jared Beck from Saint Leo University with the first pick in Round 13 of baseball’s amateur draft Wednesday. If Beck makes it to the majors, he’d pass 6-foot-11 pitchers Sean Hjelle and Jon Rauch as the tallest player in major league history.

Beck struck out 105 batters in 68 1/3 innings for Division II Saint Leo this season, posting a 3.95 ERA. He’s also pitched summer ball for the Savannah Bananas, where he stood out on a minor league club focused more on wacky entertainment than player development.

The O’s see Beck as more than an oddity, citing a fastball they clocked up to 95 mph. Baltimore draft director Brad Ciolek acknowledged Wednesday there’s work to do helping Beck manage his extra-long limbs, and they plan to help him improve his breaking ball and changeup, too.

“Jared’s a really interesting case,” Ciolek said. “Obviously, he’s a little bit of a bigger guy, and that might take a little bit more, I guess, in terms of delivery, refining his mechanics. But we have faith in our player-development staff, our pitching coaches, that they’ll be able to get the most out of his ability.”

There have been at least two minor league baseball players taller than Beck at 7-foot-1. Dutch pitcher Loek Van Mil played 10 seasons in affiliated ball, mostly with Minnesota, and Ryan Doherty pitched parts of three seasons in Arizona’s system before transitioning to professional beach volleyball.