Baltimore Orioles: Early Assessment Of The Starting Rotation
By Nick Stevens
Baltimore Orioles starting rotation- The Favorites.
Here is where things get interesting. There are a handful of pitchers in competition for a final rotation spot, with a few showing positive early returns. Let’s quickly dive into each of these guys, in order of who is leading the race, per my opinion.
Yefry Ramirez- Ramirez has made three appearances (one start) and is tied with Mike Wright for the team lead in innings pitched with seven. He’s allowed two earned runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts (2.57 ERA, .154 BAA, 0.86 WHIP). Outside of a moonshot home run he surrendered on Saturday, Ramirez has been effective and shown improved control. Getting a good look at him across four innings will tell us a lot more, but he’s off to a positive start.
David Hess– Hess is reportedly working on incorporating a two-seamer and has been touted as the favorite to take a spot in the rotation. His early spring results have, thus far, been in line with what he has shown in the past. When Hess is locked in, he looks like a pitcher who can have a long career as a backend of the rotation option. But when things get bad, they can unravel quickly. He has given up two earned runs on six hits (one HR) in four innings, walking two and striking out just one. Opponents are hitting .354 against him.
Josh Rogers– A rare left-handed option for the rotation, Rogers has worked five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and one walk in his three outings. He works quickly and efficiently, relying on his defense to make plays versus sitting down hitters via the strikeout. One strikeout in five innings means a lot of balls in play, yet hitters are posting a .180 average against him. That speaks to the quality of his pitches. I’m eager to get a longer look at Rogers, someone who is a darkhorse rotation candidate that you might want to pay attention to this spring. He will find his way into the rotation at some point, if not to begin the year, well before the All-Star break.
Mike Wright- With no minor league options available, Wright has to not just impress his new coaching staff, but blow them away. As we discussed yesterday, Wright has allowed plenty of baserunners, but has yet to allow a single one to cross home plate. Eventually, those runners are going to start scoring. Unless he can keep the bases clear, it’s difficult to find a spot for him, even in the bullpen. There are younger long-relief options who deserve a good look and Hyde will have to give short-stint guys like Branden Kline an opportunity.