In every Draft, players slide because of signability issues tied to strong college commitments. Baum could’ve been one of those players in the 2016 Draft after a strong high school career in Florida, but he removed his name from the Draft because he was set on attending the University of North Carolina. He spent three solid, though unspectacular, years as a starter for the Tar Heels, showing enough promise for the A’s to draft him in the second round of the 2019 Draft and he made his pro debut in the Short-Season New York-Penn League.
Baum doesn’t have eye-popping stuff, but he does have a four pitch mix at his disposal. He’ll touch 94 mph with his fastball, throwing it with good armside run. He has two distinct breaking balls thrown from his high-three-quarters arm slot, with his upper-70s curve a bit ahead of his harder, more lateral-breaking low-80s slider. His changeup gives him a fourth at least average pitch, an offspeed offering that has some fade to it.
Baum’s strike-throwing improved during his junior year at North Carolina and it carried over during his pro debut. Though there’s some crossfire in his delivery, the improved command gives him a better chance to start, as a No. 4 type in a rotation, long term, though his fastball-breaking ball would play up should he have to move to the bullpen.