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Orioles Draft Report

By Roch Kubatko
June 4, 2002

In the end, the Orioles couldn't resist the lure of another lefthander.

The Orioles grabbed Canadian Adam Loewen, 18, with the fourth overall pick in Tuesday's draft, marking the first time in Tony DeMacio's four years as scouting director that he didn't take a college pitcher with his first selection. Last year, the Orioles used the seventh pick on lefthander Chris Smith, who still hasn't pitched because of a sore shoulder.

Loewen, a 6-foot-6, 220-pounder from British Columbia who pitched for Canada's national junior team the last three years, became the highest-drafted Canadian ever.

"We felt like Adam Loewen has a chance to be a No. 1 or 2 starter," DeMacio said. "He has a great breaking ball and throws in the low 90s. We think he's going to throw even harder based on where he's come from. We just didn't think we could pass on that type of an impact pitcher."

Loewen's high school doesn't have a baseball team, but DeMacio said, "He's faced great worldwide competition. He has played up, not down, to competition."

The Orioles coveted high school shortstop B.J. Upton, who went to the Devil Rays with the second pick. Once Upton was off the board, the Orioles targeted Loewen.

"I don't think it's any secret that we really wanted Upton in the worst way. We wanted a position player that we thought would be an impact guy," DeMacio said.

General manager Syd Thrift said Loewen would likely begin his professional career at short-season Aberdeen if he signs soon enough. The Aberdeen IronBirds, owned by Cal Ripken Jr., begin play in the New York-Penn League later this month.

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