BALTIMORE -- The O's drafted their second southpaw of the night during Monday's Day 1 of the MLB Draft, selecting left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther out of Xavier University with their third pick, No. 74 overall.Lowther broke out as a sophomore in 2016, leading the Big East Conference in strikeouts and
BALTIMORE -- The O's drafted their second southpaw of the night during Monday's Day 1 of the MLB Draft, selecting left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther out of Xavier University with their third pick, No. 74 overall.
Lowther broke out as a sophomore in 2016, leading the Big East Conference in strikeouts and outpitching Dodgers supplemental first-rounder Jordan Sheffield to beat Vanderbilt in the NCAA regional playoffs. He continued to raise his profile in the Cape Cod League, which he led in strikeouts (54), whiffs per nine innings (13.6) and K/BB ratio (13.5). This spring, he set a Xavier school record for strikeouts (115) and ranked third in NCAA Division I in whiff rate (13.4) entering the playoffs.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Baltimore also selected left-handed pitcher D.L. Hall (No. 21) with its first overall pick. Canadian shortstop Adam Hall was the club's second-round selection.
• Orioles' 21st overall pick: D.L. Hall
• Orioles' 60th overall pick: Adam Hall
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Lowther, listed at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds has a fastball that runs in the 87-89 mph range but is able to command it well and has enough deception in his delivery to generate uncomfortable swings.
A native of the Cleveland area, Lowther emerged as Xavier's Friday starter during that 2016 season, and held the distinction again in 2017. He's the highest drafted player in the school's history and was one of the key parts in Xavier's increasing baseball prominence over the past two years.
"[Lowther] is a power guy," Xavier coach Scott Googins told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "He doesn't have a funky delivery, but it's deceptive because the ball gets on guys quick. You can tell by the way that guys swing at his ball that they don't pick it up."
With Lowther anchoring the Musketeers' pitching staff, Xavier won back-to-back Big East conference championships. And in each of the past two seasons, the school also reached the final game of an NCAA regional, falling to Louisville in 2017 and UC-Santa Barbara in 2016.
As his profile grew over the past year, Lowther remained a key cog for Xavier.
"I know if I just kind of hang on and do my thing that I've been trained and worked hard to get to where I need to be, and not really focus on that [the attention]," he recently told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
According to MLB.com: "Lowther pitches off his fastball well, increasing the effectiveness of a curveball and changeup that range from fringy to average. His control hasn't been as sharp this spring as it was a year ago, though he has been more unhittable than ever. He'll have to prove that his modest arsenal will work in pro ball, though his track record suggests that it would be foolish to bet against him."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.