The Baltimore Orioles traded Miguel Tejada to the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline in 2010, receiving one player in return: Wynn Pelzer. Pelzer was recently rated the number six prospect in the Baltimore farm system heading in to the 2011 season, but for some reason the Orioles left him unprotected from the Rule 5 draft.
The right hander has been a starter in his career, but profiles best as a reliever, due to the lack of a third pitch. He does have a good fastball and slider, which make him an ideal reliever. His fastball sits at 91-94 MPH, touching 97, and has good life. His slider is major league average, and shows flashes of being a plus pitch.
Pelzer spent the 2010 season at the AA level between the San Diego and Baltimore farm systems. He combined for a 4.25 ERA in 114.1 innings, with an 8.1 K/9 and a 5.0 BB/9. His control numbers were bad, but improved after going to Baltimore, where he was moved to a relief role. As a starter in the San Diego system, he had a 7.9 K/9 and a 5.3 BB/9. Working mostly as a reliever with Baltimore, he had a 9.0 K/9 and a 3.2 BB/9.
Pelzer would be making the jump from AA to the majors as a Rule 5 pick, which might be difficult as he didn’t exactly dominate the AA level in 2010. That said, it’s rare to be able to grab a top ten prospect from another team for free, which is basically what any team would be doing by drafting Pelzer. He has the potential to be a strong back of the bullpen guy in the short term, and if he can ever develop a changeup he could try to make it as a starter.
The Rule 5 pool doesn’t offer many guys who could be a starting pitching option, with most players looking like relievers with an outside chance of starting. Pelzer is in the same category, although his tools put him ahead of the rest of the Rule 5 class as a potential reliever, making him a strong candidate for the Pirates with the first overall pick.