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Orioles continue pitcher run with fifth-rounder Hess


David Hess had just gotten up for a minute. He figured his name wasn't about to be called anyway, so this was an opportune time.

Just as he was about to open the door, he heard a familiar name from the computer at his home in Tullahoma, Tenn.

"I had to run over to the computer to make sure I heard it correctly," Hess said.

He was right. The Orioles had chosen the Tennessee Tech pitcher in the fifth round of the 2014 Draft. He was the third pitcher Baltimore had taken in as many selections, and the second righty.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

Hess was initially caught off guard, but it doesn't mean he doesn't expect to contribute. He's not sure yet what his role will be, but he's willing to join the club as either a starter or relief pitcher.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound righty throws four pitches, including a fastball that he says was clocked as fast as 98 mph last year. Typically it sits between 91-93 mph when he starts and 93-94 when he comes out of the bullpen.

He also uses a changeup, curveball and a slider that the self-proclaimed "strikeout pitcher" used for dozens of his 104 strikeouts in 2014. During his sophomore season, he ranked 15th nationally in strikeouts per nine innings

Before this season, Hess was primarily a relief pitcher, but in 2014, he started 16 games and went 9-3 with a 3.24 ERA. He still has one season of eligibility left with the Golden Eagles, but said he'd like to sign as long as the O's would help pay for his final couple of semesters of college.

"I'm leaning towards taking the offer and getting started with my professional career," he said.

David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["draft_central" ,"prospect" ] }
{"event":["draft_central" ,"prospect" ] }
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