One month into the New York-Penn League season Baltimore Orioles prospect Dallas Litscher is emerging as the leader of the Aberdeen rotation.
The Aberdeen Ironbirds, the Baltimore Orioles Short-Season A affiliate, have a 15-13 record as they enter play on Sunday. Starting pitchers have accounted for seven of those 15 wins and one in particular, right-handed pitcher Dallas Litscher, is becoming the leader of the staff. His three wins are more than the win total (two) of the other four starters combined.
Drafted in the 10th round (295th overall pick) of the 2018 MLB Draft out of the University of St. Katherine in San Marcos, California, Litscher entered the Baltimore organization on the heels of a senior collegiate season that saw him produce an 8-1 record over 17 appearances (16 starts) spanning 73.2 innings. He pitched to a 3.05 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with two complete games, 105 strikeouts, 53 walks allowed and a .155 batting average against for the Firebirds.
Litscher’s professional debut in the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) was a bit rocky, either due to fatigue or the adjustment to professional life. He made 12 appearances, 8 of which were starts, for the GCL Orioles with his shortest outing lasting just two-thirds of an inning and his longest, 6.0 innings. Over a total of 36.0 innings pitched he produced an 0-4 record with a 5.00 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.
The relatively small sample size in the GCL did not paint a good picture of what the 23-year-old hurler brings to the table.
Through five starts for the Ironbirds, Litscher has a team-leading 3-0 record over 24.2 innings pitched. He has pitched to a 1.82 ERA while striking out 29 and walking 10, and his WHIP sits at 1.01 while holding New York-Penn League batters to a .172 batting average. Litscher has yet to surrender a home run this season and is generating 1.39 groundouts for every fly out he allows. His strikeout total is third-best among Ironbirds pitchers, but on the flip side, his walk total is the most allowed so far by the pitching staff.
Litscher is striking out 29.6% of the batters he faces and has a strikeout/9 innings pitched rate of 10.6. He is striking out almost three times as many batters as he walks as well. Not only is he stingy with the hits based on his low batting average against, but 81% of those that do reach base are stranded there.
The key to Litscher’s success is the fact that he is keeping the ball down: just about 50% of the balls put in play against him are on the ground, and he induces a ball on the ground nearly twice as many times as he allows one to be put in the air. A high ground ball rate and strikeout rate are good things for any pitcher, especially one with designs on pitching in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Want your voice heard? Join the Birds Watcher team!Write for us!
It is early in the Aberdeen season, but there is a lot to like in Litscher’s total presentation; Orioles fans would be well-advised to take notice.