The Cubs drafted these two college right-handers with back-to-back picks, #21 and #22. They both excelled out of the bullpen in 2012, and were the top two leaders in innings pitched for the 2012 draft class.
Eddie Orozco, RHP, 22nd round, pick #674 UC-Riverside
No Cubs pitcher taken in the 2012 draft appeared in more games (20), threw more innings (28.2) or recorded more strikeouts (33) than Eddie Orozco.
A starting pitcher tossing nearly 100 innings his senior year at UC-Riverside, the Cubs moved the California native to the bullpen and he excelled. The 23-year-old signed on June 18 and seven days later was on the mound in Arizona making his pro debut in the Rookie League against the Indians. He worked one scoreless inning allowing a hit while striking out a pair and got the win. Orozco wasn't in Arizona long, heading to Boise and making his Northwest League debut, a scoreless inning, on June 28 against Spokane. The right-hander didn't allow a run in his first five relief appearances for the Hawks picking up his first NWL win on July 16 vs. Yakima. By the end of July, Orozco was moved into the closer role and ended the year with six saves, including a stretch of five games, all saves, where he lowered his ERA from 1.84 to 1.16 with 8.2 innings of shutout baseball. Orozco's ability to close games in August helped propel Boise to the second half crown and in the deciding game of the Eastern Division title against Yakima, he was called upon with the tying run on third and one out in the eighth inning. He struck out the first hitter, got a groundout to preserve the lead, and then retired the Bears in order in the ninth to start the celebration. In the deciding game three of the NWL finals against Vancouver, Orozco relieved Tyler Bremer in the eighth inning with the Hawks leading 7-5 but Boise made some costly errors, Vancouver got three hits off Orozco, and by the time the inning was over the Canadians had scored seven times and won 12-9. Despite the way the season ended, Orozco established himself as the Boise closer as opponents hit only .190 against him and he ended his first year with a WHIP of 1.08.
In his senior year at UC-Riverside, Orozco went 5-7 with a 2.84 ERA appearing in 15 games, 14 as a starter. He racked up 98.1 innings with 106 strikeouts and only 23 walks with a BAA of .276. His best game of the year was a 1-0 shutout over Sacramento State as he allowed just three hits and fanned a career-high 15. A two-time Big West Conference honorable-mention pitcher his final two years, Orozco made 4 starts as a freshman year but redshirted the next season. He returned to the lineup in 2010 in 11 games with a 8.71 ERA. As a junior he threw 70.2 innings starting 11 games going 5-2 with a impressive 2.29 ERA. Orozco's WHIP was 1.29 as he walked 30 while fanning 60 with a .241 BAA. He attended Mount Robidoux High School in Riverside, California, and was a four-year letterwinner in baseball, earning first-team all-league honors three times. He was drafted by the White Sox in the 31st round of the 2007 draft but elected to attend UC-Riverside.
Oroczo will likely start 2013 with Kane County and is the odds on favorite to be the closer. I wouldn't be surprised if he moved up a few rungs on the minor league ladder this summer, considering experience and early success.
Stephen Perakslis, RHP, 21st Round, pick # 644, Maine
The Massachusetts native signed shortly after the draft and on June 21 made his pro debut against the A's in the Arizona Rookie League. He got off to a rough start allowing a hit to the first batter and before the inning was over, a throwing error and a wild pitch allowed two unearned runs. Even though he got the credit for his first two pro wins, Perkaslis wasn't fooling hitters, allowing 10 runs his first six games in 9.2 innings. The season turned for Perakslis on July 23 when he closed out the Brewers for his first pro save. He worked the final 2.2 innings allowing four hits but pitched out of trouble in the 8th and 9th. The August heat of Arizona didn't seem to faze the right-hander as he finished the season in impressive fashion allowing just one earned run over his final 12 innings in the AZL. On Aug. 1 against the Indians, Perakslis fanned five of the seven batters he faced and finished the month with 14 strikeouts and one walk. In the final weekend of the season he was promoted to Peoria and made his Midwest League debut at Kane County but yielded three hits and a run in an inning. He pitched 26.1 innings with a .250 BAA and a WHIP of 1.22 in his first pro season. On March 17, he pitched in a spring training game with the big league club against the A's. He allowed a homer to Adam Rosales, a two-run shot, and then got a groundout to end the inning.
A standout high school career playing for his dad, Steve, at Abington High School in Abington, Massachusetts, Perakslis was a two-time South Shore League MVP and led his team to the 2009 Division 3 State Championship with a 13-0 record, 0.25 ERA and hit .523. He attended Maine University after graduation and went 4-4 his freshman year in 14 games and also had career-high 11 strikeouts in a win over Georgetown. He made 10 starts (18 games) in 2011 working 69 innings and pitched in two games in the NCAA Regional against North Carolina and Florida International. Perakslis finished his sophomore season at 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA and had 55 strikeouts. In his final college season, he led the team with 14 starts, pitched 87.1 innings, and went 5-5 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
Perakslis' fastball was clocked at 91-95 in Arizona last year and he also features a slider and change-up, but is primarily a fastball pitcher. He has good command of the strike zone and isn't afraid to pitch inside. He will be battling this spring for a trip out of town to Kane County and could end up in Daytona before the season is over.
This is the second of a series featuring the 17 pitchers the Cubs drafted and signed in 2012. It takes a look at their career before the draft, how they pitched after turning pro, and where they may start 2013. Its also serving as a free look at future subscription only stories that NorthSidersReport will start running soon.