On Saturday the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels swapped a pair of pitching prospects. The Orioles sent minor league right-hander Damien Magnifico to the Angels in exchange for minor league right-hander Jordan Kipper. Here’s a quick take.
Damien Magnifico, RHP: Magnifico was originally in the Milwaukee Brewers system, drafted in the fifth round in 2012 from the University of Oklahoma. A mediocre starting pitcher at the lower levels, he converted to the bullpen in 2015 and improved quickly, dominating Double-A in 2015 (1.17 ERA, 20 saves) and holding his own in the difficult Pacific Coast League in 2016 (4.06 ERA, 18 saves).
He appeared in three major league games with the Brewers last year, giving up two runs in three innings with three walks, then was traded to the Orioles for “future considerations” this spring. He was off to a slow start for Triple-A Norfolk this year, giving up 13 hits and eight runs in 6.1 innings of bullpen work.
Magnifico is listed at 6-1, 195, born May 24, 1991 in Dallas, Texas. He throws quite hard, with a four-seam fastball at 93-98 MPH, peaking at 100, but his slider is mediocre and lack of a change-up prevented success as a starter. His arm strength is impressive but his command is still very much a work in progress.
Jordan Kipper, RHP: Kipper was drafted by the Angels in the ninth round in 2014 from Texas Christian University. After a poor 2015 in the California League, he was more effective in the 2016 Texas League, posting a 3.35 ERA in 153 innings with an 85/41 K/BB. Returning to Double-A this year, he posted a 1.74 ERA in 31 innings for the new Angels affiliate in Mobile, with an 18/8 K/BB and 21 hits allowed.
Kipper is 6-4, 185, born October 6th, 1992 in Phoenix, Arizona. He is very different than Magnifico, with a fastball at 88-92 MPH, occasionally a tad higher, but with good sinking action and much better command of the heat. He also has a slider/cutter, combining with the sinking fastball to give him a high ground ball rate.
Kipper’s curveball and change-up are mediocre and his low strikeout rate is a caution flag, but he throws strikes and keeps the ball down. He could be a useful back-end starter or (more likely) a middle reliever.