As Orioles fans speculate on the chances of the team resigning their top Free Agents, specifically Chris Davis, we only need to look to recent history to handicap the likelihood of retaining that talent…and it doesn’t bode well. So while the debates are well underway regarding Free Agents, it’s worth taking a look at some of the players that are already a part of the organization that might play a role in the Orioles 2016 season.
The first player that comes to mind is the much heralded, much maligned Righthander Dylan Bundy. Once a top 5 prospect in all of Baseball, Bundy is now somewhat of a forgotten commodity. The reason he is the first player mentioned is because he is out of options, so he must be on the Orioles 25 man roster in 2016.
Barring any more injury setbacks, Bundy will be ready to start the season in the Bullpen and work his way into the starting rotation. He’ll be 23 years old by the time the Orioles open things up against the Minnesota Twins and he’s still a superior talent. His fastball, curve, and change up are all above average and he can always break out that devastating cutter we’ve all heard about but never seen. I saw him pitch his first game at AA Bowie in 2012 when he was just 19 and was impressed with his make up and how he generates his power from a solid core and strong legs. His work ethic is already legendary and most of all, he expects to be a great pitcher.
All of the adversity Bundy has faced is only going to make him more determined to reach his potential and after watching Jake Arrieta blossom into a super star for another team in 2015, the Orioles will be more patient with their young phenom, allowing him to learn on the job in the Major Leagues in 2016. That patience will be rewarded as Bundy will finally begin to grow into the top of the rotation pitcher that so many predicted he’d become.
Givens has already endeared himself to Oriole fans with his strong finish to 2015, doing his best Darren O’Day impression. The knock on Givens has been his ability to control his mid 90’s fastball but in 30 innings this season, he struck out more than 6 batters to every Base on Balls (38 K’s to 6 BB). He finished with a 1.80 ERA and only surrendered one Home Run while inducing ground ball outs at a Zach Britton like rate. It is possible that the Orioles pass on O’Day in order to sweeten an offer to Chris Davis and pencil in Givens for 8th inning duty.
Wilson seems precisely like the type of consolation prize Dan Duquette will offer up to fans if he is unable to lure a high profile starting pitcher to Baltimore. Although it will incense fans, Wilson should not be overlooked as a bottom of the rotation option. He’s got a heavy fastball that results in a lot of ground ball outs (are you seeing a trend?) and he has very good command of the strikezone, averaging an efficient 14.4 pitches per inning. He’s praised for his hard work ethic and his pitching make up.
As the Orioles Front Office prepares for Free Agency, with a stated commitment to improving the pitching staff, there is hope that success in 2016 will be impacted by Bundy, Givens, and Wilson. The organization’s confidence in these three players, or lack thereof, will have a big impact on how the team will spend it’s resources in the offseason.