Baltimore Orioles: First September Call-Up Moves Made

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 25: Branden Kline #52 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the San Diego Padres at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 25, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 25: Branden Kline #52 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the San Diego Padres at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 25, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Orioles have made their first set of September roster moves ahead of their series finale against the Kansas City Royals.

If you’re expecting to see a few top young and exciting prospects join the Baltimore Orioles active roster now that it’s September 1st and rosters have expanded, you may be a bit disappointed. On Sunday afternoon, the Orioles announced their first round of roster moves, recalling three players from Triple-A Norfolk and bringing a bullpen arm off the injured list.

More moves will be made over the next few days after the Norfolk Tides end their season on Monday, but the major question on everyone’s mind is whether or not we will see Ryan Mountcastle, the International League MVP, make his major league debut this month. Mountcastle must be added to the 40-man roster ahead of this year’s Rule 5 draft, but that can happen after the season if the Orioles elect to call it a season for Mountcastle. For now, let’s look at the four guys returning to the active roster.

RHP Shawn Armstrong is back in the bullpen after a trip to the Injured List with a forearm strain. The 28-year-old waiver claim has been fairly decent for Orioles this season, striking out 49 across 41 innings and holding opponents to a .228 average. A few unfortunate outings have ballooned his overall numbers, but overall Armstrong has provided value to the Orioles.

The three players re-joining the roster are LHP Tanner Scott, RHP Branden Kline, and OF Dwight Smith Jr.

Scott’s 2019 has been largely the same story as last season. Despite an electric fastball and potentially lethal slider, Scott has struggled with command and has accumulated a lot of miles on the Baltimore-Norfolk shuttle. In 15 appearances with the big league squad, Scott is 1-0 with a 5.29 ERA, 2.18 WHIP, and .313 average against. His 23 strikeouts in 17 innings are impressive, but his 16 walks have been highly disappointing, but not surprising.

He’s been much better with the Tides, owning a 2.98 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and .211 average against in 45.1 innings. Scott has given up just three runs in nine August outings, all of them coming in the same appearance. Since the All-Star break, Scott owns a 23/4 K/BB ratio and has yet to allow a home run. If he wants to begin 2020 in the Baltimore Orioles bullpen, here is his opportunity to show he belongs.

Dwight Smith back after an injury put him on the shelf for a bit, resulting in the Orioles keeping him in Triple-A after his rehab assignment. We discussed Smith not too long ago here and how he needs to end the season on a high note if he wants to avoid the Joey Rickard treatment in 2020 and spend the season on the Baltimore-Norfolk shuttle.

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He will get his first opportunity on Sunday against Kansas City as he’s batting seventh and starting in left field for Brandon Hyde. In nine games with Norfolk over the last two weeks, Smith is hitting .351 with two runs and a .400 OBP.

Last but not least we have RHP Branden Kline, a local fan-favorite among Orioles fans. Kline has split his time between the Orioles and Norfolk this year, posting a 6.86 ERA and 1.90 WHIP in 21 Triple-A innings and a 7.44 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 32.2 major league innings.

Kline made four appearances with the Orioles in August, giving up eight earned runs 10 hits in three appearances against the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.

His first season in the big leagues hasn’t been very kind to him, but the fact that the former UVA standout is pitching in a major league uniform is an impressive feat. Kline will look to end the season with some success before fighting for a full-time bullpen job in spring training next season.

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Stay tuned next week as more roster moves are sure to be announced and the minor league season comes to a close.