There are several young pitchers who were added to the Player Pool along with Rutschman.
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Considering that Means finished second in the 2019 ROY voting above hitters like Vladimir Guerrero Jr.and Eloy Jimenez, there is no doubt that a young pitcher could do it again. The same happened in the NL with Braves pitcher Mike Soroka finishing second to Pete Alonso, too. The only question is which one?
Could Keegan Akin get enough starts to qualify as a ROY candidate? According to Fangraphs, Akin doesn’t have lights-out velocity on his pitches, but his fastball has earned the name “invisiball” due to his easy arm action that doesn’t hint toward the speed it gets.
Dean Kremer could also get a chance to start a game or two. And, if he does well, he might get more of them. He saw success in Double-A in 2019 with an ERA of 2.98 in 15 starts, but he struggled when he moved up to Triple-A. Like Akin, Kremer’s pitching is more about placement than speed, but that’s worked for Cy Young pitcher Zack Greinke for years.
It may seem like a pipe dream that any Orioles prospect could reach Rookie of the Year status in 2020. But at one point, it seemed like a 2020 season would not happen. If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that anything could happen.