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Duquette uses Draft to provide influx of talent

BAL View Full Game Coverage TIMORE -- When executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette took the reins of the Orioles' franchise last November, he set out to give the Minor League system an infusion of young talent.

With the 2012 First-Year Player Draft in the rearview mirror, Duquette has made significant progress toward that goal.

"I think we have succeeded in adding some solid pitching depth," Duquette said. "We were looking at our Major League team, and we thought we could get some pitching depth that could help us the next couple years, particularly starting pitchers that would be a good complement to the guys that we have."

In all, the Orioles selected 20 pitchers and 20 position players, although 12 of the first 17 picks were hurlers.

Of those 20 arms, seven were lefties and 13 were righties, including first-round pick Kevin Gausman from Louisiana State University and second round pick Brandon Kline from the University of Virginia.

Thirteen of the pitchers were taken out of college, six were drafted out of high school and one -- 35th round pick Charles Porter -- was listed with no school.

The selections ranged from proven relievers, like seventh-round pick Matt Price from the University of South Carolina, to talented power arms with command issues, such as sixth-round pick Lex Rutledge from Samford University, and on to high upside youngsters, like fifth-round pick Colin Poche from Marcus High School in Texas.

Some, such as Kevin Grendell -- an 11th rounder out of San Pasqual Calif. High School with a 20-strikeout game on his resume -- or Josh Hader -- a 19th round pick out of Old Mill Senior High School in Maryland who once threw consecutive no-hitters -- have huge accomplishments to their names.

Others, like Derrick Bleeker -- a 37th-round pick out of the University of Arkansas who was drafted as a pitcher but has recorded only four outs as a Razorback -- and Dennis Torres -- a 28th-round pick out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who was cut from his high school team four times -- have a lot left to prove.

Somewhere in that bunch, the Orioles hope to find a slew of arms capable of filling out every level of their organization.

While the focus was on pitchers, Baltimore also selected a pair of position players on Day 2 of the Draft.

Shortstop Adrian Marin from Gulliver Prep School in Florida was selected in the third round, and first baseman Christian Walker from the University of South Carolina was taken in the fourth.

Director of scouting Gary Rajsich said Marin was a speedy five-tool player with the potential to play anywhere up the middle. Rajsich added that Walker was a proven bat with power and on-base skills.

Marin was one of four players selected from Florida, which Duquette said was no accident. Neither was the selection of Baltimore area products Hader and Ryan Ripken -- the son of Orioles icon Cal Ripken Jr. -- in the 19th and 20th rounds, respectively.

"We think that's important and we made it a priority when we drafted, kids out of Baltimore and also kids out of Sarasota, [Fla.]," said Duquette, citing the team's Spring Training home as well.

In addition to juggling talent and location factors, Duquette and his staff had to pay greater attention to price tags and signability as a result of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

With new regulations of contract bonuses accompanied by potential fines and the loss of Draft picks, the O's made sure their top 10 picks were likely to sign for a reasonable price.

"The new rules affected everyone," Duquette said. "I just think that it forced teams to have a more disciplined approach."

When all was said and done, after the O's took Ray Hunnicutt out of Central High School in Illinois with pick No. 1,212 overall to end their day, Duquette and the Baltimore scouting team came away pleased with a new batch of talent.

Baltimore Orioles