The Orioles are likely evaluating these players right now.
The Orioles are using October to gear up for free agency, and the process likely involves following contributors currently in the playoffs. The team pro scouts and evaluators surely paid attention to the Wild Card Series and the Division Series. Naturally all four teams have plenty of talented players, but only two of them have players who could realistically join the Orioles this winter. Much like the previous two rounds, I will be highlighting individual performances, followed by some longshot names to keep in the back of your mind.
The Padres bowed out in only five games, but they won when Blake Snell started Game 2. He pitched much better than his line implies since most of the five hits he allowed were softly hit, including a lazy fly ball that Juan Soto lost in the sun. The Phillies scored four runs in the second inning, and it should have been less. But Snell gave up nothing else across five solid innings, striking out six and only walking one.
If you look at his pitch chart from the game, his wildness was more effective than usual. Snell threw his fastball everywhere, both high and low and well off the plate. More crucially, he had better command of his curveball and slider, keeping them on the edges instead of leaving them over the heart of the plate. He buried some of both in the dirt, but most sliders landed down to his glove side. The Padres will probably hang onto Snell at this point, but Mike Elias should be calling up AJ Preller to try and make a trade.
If you had any doubts about Justin Verlander after his dud against the Mariners, those have surely gone away. Just as the rest of the Astros pitching staff did, Verlander shut down the Evil Empire. He looked like the Cy Young favorite in Game 1 when he only gave up one run in six innings, striking out eleven while allowing only three hits and one walk. Five balls in play were hit hard, most notably Harrison Bader’s moonshot.
Verlander got taken deep on the slider, but the rest he kept out of harm’s way. He threw most sliders down to his glove side off the plate, and the ones in the zone were mostly effective. Verlander threw his fastball and curveball around the zone and showed why many teams now coach pitchers to simply throw the ball over the plate. He threw lots of fastballs and a few breakers down the middle and did not get punished. His stuff is so great that the Yankee hitters could only swing through or foul off appealing pitches. It is time for the Orioles to open the checkbooks.
Bounce back candidates: Mike Clevinger, Wil Myers, Trent Grisham, Alec Bohm
Tough ask: Lou Trivino, David Robertson, Jean Segura