O's draft 7-footer, would be Majors' tallest player ever

July 19th, 2022

The way the Orioles have replenished their farm system in recent years, it has felt as if they've been towering over the competition. The way they drafted on Tuesday, they literally are.

Baltimore selected left-hander Jared Beck out of Division II Saint Leo University in the 13th round of the 2022 MLB Draft. Listed at 7 feet, he would be the tallest player to reach the Majors.

Only two players -- pitchers Jon Rauch (2002-13) and Sean Hjelle ('22) -- have made the Majors while listed as 6-foot-11. Hjelle, the Giants' No. 26 prospect, joined the record books in May, debuting three years after he was drafted.

Beck is not just a towering figure on the mound, but one in the box score as well. Pitching primarily as a starter, Beck struck out 105 batters in just 68 1/3 innings for Saint Leo this past season against 31 walks. His selection continued a pitcher-heavy 2022 Draft for the Orioles, a club that believes it can home in on the specific skills of arms in its revamped pitching lab.

Brandon Verley, the Orioles' area scout in South Florida, saw Beck ramp up from the 88-91 mph range to 95 -- from the left side -- by year’s end.

“Jared’s a really interesting case,” said Orioles Draft director Brad Ciolek. “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.”

On Tuesday, the Orioles spent seven of their 10 picks on arms. Several, like Beck, come from vastly different backgrounds, including well-regarded prep arm Zack Showalter (no relation to former O's manager Buck Showalter) and University of Miami closer Andrew Walters.

Beck was the headliner of the bunch, quite simply because he towers over the rest. Only one of Baltimore’s other 21 draftees comes within six inches of him.

In an interview with his Saint Leo’s media department, Beck said he has played basketball in his past, as well as golf and tennis in high school. Had he played for the Lions’ basketball team this past year, he would have been the tallest player on the roster.

“A sports family in general,” Beck said of his background. “We have the height for it, so it kind of helps there.”

Around his time at Saint Leo, Beck pitched last summer for the Savannah Bananas, a collegiate wood bat league team known for its social media antics, where his height became a topic of conversation, naturally.

But beyond the razzle-dazzle of his selection, the Orioles believe they have an intriguing case in Beck. They are, after all, getting a pitcher who struck out 13.8 batters per nine innings last season, and one who was All-SSC second team this past campaign.

Plus, Beck’s favorite pitcher is said to be Randy Johnson, one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball history, let alone one coming from the tallest of statures. One area where Beck has already surpassed the Hall of Famer? Height. Beck has the Big Unit beat by two inches.