The number 23 prospect on the preseason top 30 prospects list for the Baltimore Orioles is Gray Fenter. Number 24 on the list was Austin Wynns who was profiled yesterday. Gray was selected out of high school in the seventh round of the 2015 amateur player draft by the Orioles.
Fenter had committed to play at Mississippi State, but the Orioles offered him a $1 million signing bonus to sway him. That bonus was significantly higher than what the pick was valued at. The 223rd overall pick in the 2015 draft had a value of $178,300.
Coming out of high school, Fenter was a highly regarded prospect according to perfect game. He was the number one overall recruit in Arkansas, number 73 nationally, and the 25th best right handed pitcher nationally.
After leaving high school, Gray reported to Sarasota to take part in the 2015 Gulf Coast League season. He impressed in his first pro season. Fenter appeared in nine games, starting eight, and pitched a total of 21.2 innings. In those innings he put up a stingy 1.66 ERA allowing no home runs.
He missed the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, but returned to the GCL in 2017. He made a strong return to the GCL starting in 11 games. Though His ERA rose to 3.45, he also pumped his k/9 up from 7.5 in 2015 to 10.1 in 2017 as well as raising his k/bb ratio from 3 to 3.4. He also kept the ball in the ballpark, only giving up one home run in 28.2 innings.
Fenter gets the most out of his stocky frame to produce a plus fastball that reached 95 mph late in the season. The pitch typically sits in the low 90s with sinking action that fuels his ground-ball tendencies. Fenter has good feel for spinning a curveball, giving him a second above-average pitch, and he also mixes in a fringy slider. He threw both sparingly upon returning from surgery, and the same goes for a fading changeup that should continue to get better with greater usage.
Fenter has a strong frame and repeats his delivery well, though there is effort to his delivery. The Orioles will carefully manage his workload while continuing to develop him as a starter, though some evaluators believe the right-hander might be a better long-term fit in the bullpen given the strength of his fastball-curveball pairing.
MLB.com scouting grades (20-80)
Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 45 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
MLB ETA: 2021