Baltimore Orioles Add Another Left-Handed Pitcher To Bullpen
By Nick Stevens
On Tuesday afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles claimed LHP Josh Osich off waivers.
As announced by the Baltimore Orioles, the O’s have claimed left-handed pitcher Josh Osich off waivers from the San Francisco Giants, adding another bullpen piece to the equation ahead of the start of spring training games on Saturday afternoon.
To make room for Osich on the 40-man roster, the Orioles have designated infielder Hanser Alberto for assignment. Alberto’s spot on the roster was in jeopardy after the recent signing of Alcides Escobar. With Richie Martin, Drew Jackson, and Escobar all battling for the starting shortstop role and Steve Wilkerson and his “10 gloves” practicing around the field, it became clear that Alberto would be the first to go with any new addition.
Osich, 30, has spent his entire career with the San Francisco Giants organization since the team used a 6th-round draft pick on him in 2011.
In parts of four seasons at the major league level, Osich is 6-5 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. Opponents have hit .262 against the lefty across 120 innings while working 61 free passes (compared to 105 strikeouts).
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Osich hasn’t been able to match his rookie year performance, but he appeared to be turning a corner during spring training last year. In 11 appearances, spanning 11 innings, Osich did not give up a single run and posted a 16/3 K/BB ratio. Then the regular season happened.
He’s coming off an abysmal 2018 season in which he logged just 12 big league innings, spending the majority of his time in AAA. In those 12 innings, Osich gave up 11 earned runs on 20 hits (8.25 ERA) and opponents hit .385 against him.
Osich brings with him a four-pitch mix, including a four-seamer, cutter, changeup, and curveball. The changeup has been his most effective pitch, at the major league level. Across his four seasons, opponents are hitting just .102 against the changeup and are whiffing on the pitch at a near 50% clip.
There is also potential with his fastball. Averaging 95 mph and topping out at 97.3 mph last season, Osich’s fastball has been hit hard and often, but his average spin rate of 2300 rpm ranks in the upper half of left-handed pitchers in baseball (per Baseball Savant) and his swing and miss rate with the pitch nearly doubled last season (up to 8.9%).
The upside with this acquisition isn’t fairly high, but there are tools to work with. According to MLB Roster Resource, Osich does have an option remaining, possibly making him more attractive to Mike Elias as he can stash him away in AAA Norfolk if he has a successful spring and the organization believes he can be a contributor.
In other news, we are only three days away from the first Baltimore Orioles spring training game. Are you going to watch? Of course you are!