If you’re reading this, and you’re a Baltimore Orioles fan, you might want to stop right here. This article is written in an alternate universe where Darren O’Day is not a member of the O’s. Heartbreaking, I know, but it is absolutely a possibility for the 2016 season. Could the team survive a loss like this? Pitching prospect Mychal Givens would like to think so.
Let’s start by talking about the future of Darren O’Day. In his 3+ years in Baltimore, O’Day has been the setup man of Orioles fans’ dreams. He currently showcases a career-high 1.31 ERA, a statistic that he has not allowed to jump over 2.28 throughout his whole Oriole career.
At 32-years-old, O’Day will become a free agent this offseason, and will be sure to garner a lot of interest from clubs with dilapidated bullpens.
*points finger at Detroit*
The O’s will certainly make a run at keeping O’Day under contract, but if a team wants him as their closer and offers him Jim Johnson money, the Orioles may just be out of luck.
Now we move to Exhibit B: Mychal Givens. Givens has been in the Baltimore Orioles’ system since 2009, and if you’ve listened to any of the team’s games, Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer have made you very aware that he began his career as a shortstop.
Having converted to pitcher going into the 2013 season, Givens has been one of the biggest surprises in the Baltimore Orioles’ minor league system. His ERA’s in his first two years were 4.22 and 3.24, respectively. Then, flash forward to early 2015, and Givens totally flipped the script, pitching in 55.1 innings for AA Bowie, while posting a 1.70 ERA and striking out 77.
Coach Buck Showalter and GM Dan Duquette must see something special in the team’s 6th rated prospect, because at the July 31st deadline they shipped away proven relief man Tommy Hunter to make room for Givens on the 25-man roster.
Givens, who makes an O’Day-esque sidearm delivery to the plate, has already appeared in 4.0 innings for the O’s.
In these four innings, he’s allowed just one hit, zero runs, and has struck out six of the batters he’s faced. Small sample size? Absolutely. But you have to be encouraged if you’re a fan.
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We’d like to think that the Orioles will continue to get Mychal Givens into games as they move towards their September playoff push. For now, Darren O’Day is the guy the Baltimore Orioles will turn to in the 8th inning of close and important games — and for great reasons.
However, if Givens continues to put up solid numbers in the pen, he might be the guy Buck Showalter is pointing towards at the ends of close games in 2016. All we can do now is sit back and patiently watch.