The nature of Major League Baseball is summed up pretty easily: prospects are promoted to the big club(in this case, the Baltimore Orioles), they play, and they get sent back to the minors again.
Many new faces have shown up in the Baltimore Orioles dugout this week, and just like that – they’re gone again. If you’re like me and decided to hang around and watch the extra-inning game on Friday night unfold against the Rays, you were treated to a new round of baby O’s making their MLB debut.
In the early moments of the top of the 12th inning, my eyes caught a tall southpaw taking the mound for the first time in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. Could it be Nick Vespi? Well, it didn’t take long for young Mr. Vespi to prove that he’s a big league-caliber pitcher.
Through the 12th and 13th innings, Vespi threw well-controlled sliders and cutters that seemed to baffle a slew of Rays batters, including chalking up three K’s. Additionally, no radar-gun destroying fastballs were being hurled off the mound.
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Nick Vespi: Welcome to the Baltimore Orioles & See ya Soon
What Vespi seems to lack in velocity, he more than makes up for in control and pitch placement – a finesse pitcher, as it seems. Vespi did get himself in a bit of a jam in the 13th inning with Wander Franco as a ghost runner trying to make it home, but the arm of Austin Hays and a great tag from Anthony Bemboom kept the game tied (to his credit, Franco couldn’t slide with a sore quad and had to come in hot standing up.) Vespi finished up the night with his first official Major League “W” courtesy of a walk-off homer by Rougned Odor.
Despite the great outing that helped the O’s break a 15-game losing streak against the Rays, Nick Vespi found himself packing his bags and heading back down to Norfolk yesterday. Vespi has posted excellent numbers in AAA with 21 punchouts, a .64 WHIP, and 14.1 scoreless innings at Norfolk. Yeah, this is all part of Mike Elias’ plan to get these baby O’s some time in the Show to get them really ready for a more permanent call-up. I am confident we haven’t seen the last of Nick Vespi.