Baltimore Orioles: Don’t Overlook Cody Carroll This Spring
By Nick Stevens
As the Baltimore Orioles prepare for their first spring training game this weekend, don’t overlook relief pitcher Cody Carroll.
It’s only been a year and a half since the Baltimore Orioles shipped Zack Britton off to the New York Yankees for three minor league pitchers, but it is safe to say that the Yankees got themselves a bargain from their American League East rivals.
Coming back to Baltimore in return for Britton were LHP Josh Rogers, RHP Dillon Tate, and RHP Cody Carroll.
Rogers underwent his second Tommy John surgery last season and will miss all of 2020 (1-3, 8.65 ERA in 8 appearances with the Orioles) and Tate was roughed up a bit in his first stint in the major leagues (0-2, 6.43 ERA), but he performed better than what the standard numbers show and there’s certainly an opportunity for Tate to develop into a reliable reliever in Baltimore.
Carroll came to Baltimore with a 3-0 record, 2.38 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 41 innings (.184 average against/1.08 WHIP) in Triple-A with the Yankees and would make his major league debut after five appearances with the Norfolk Tides after the trade.
In his first taste of big league action, Carroll appeared in 15 games, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA, a .296 average against, a 2.00 WHIP, and almost as many walks (13) as strikeouts (16) in 17 innings of work.
It wasn’t the most ideal start to his career with the Orioles, but the 27-year-old righty out of Southern Mississippi is now healthy after missing essentially all of 2019 due to back surgery. Now, he’s in Sarasota attempting to emerge from a crowded group of pitchers and claim a 26-man roster spot for Opening Day.
Carroll was sent to the Arizona all League where he logged 8.2 innings, struck out 11, and allowed two runs. Combine that with his two innings in the Gulf Coast League at the end of 2019 and Carroll logged just 10.2 innings all season.
In need of more innings this spring to continue his climb back, Carroll is in camp with 35 other pitchers, with the possibility of adding another pitcher to the mix still being discussed. Getting his work on the mound in game action may be difficult to come by and lead Carroll to beginning the year in Triple-A with the Norfolk Tides, but he’s worth keeping an eye on when he does enter a game.
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Largely a fastball/slider pitcher, Carroll’s four-seamer averages just over 96 mph and his slider produced a whiff rate north of 31% in his 2018 major league stint with the Orioles.
Hitters were successful against his fastball, despite the pitch ranking in the 92nd percentile in terms of velocity. The pitch may be thrown hard, but it doesn’t move very much and miss bats. His slider, on the other hand, is an interesting pitch. Opponents hit .368 against the pitch with a .579 slugging percentage, and .418 wOBA. However, Baseball Savant shows an expected batting average of .249, slugging of .351 and xwOBA of .283. Maybe just a little bit of bad luck in his debut?
If Carroll can limit his walks, which have been an issue, and harness the power of his fastball, Carroll just might emerge as a bullpen option in 2020.