3. Despite early struggles, Grayson Rodriguez is ready to make an impact
The early struggles for Grayson Rodriguez have been two-fold. First, he struggled in Spring Training this year and in his first start in Norfolk last Friday. Rodriguez also struggled early in his Major League debut Wednesday as he gave up two earned runs in the first inning. However, once the first inning ended, Rodriguez pitched masterfully in his debut while completing 5 innings and allowing only two first-inning runs. Rodriguez also struck out five batters and walked only one. The high-velocity fastball that has allowed Grayson to become the best pitching prospect in baseball was on full display as he routinely pitched fastballs 97 mph+ with pinpoint command and struck out four batters with that fastball. His first strikeout came on a sweeping breaking ball that Ezequiel Duran chased after to end the second inning.
Rodriguez's struggles in Spring Training stemmed from an inability to get outs in key moments. He continued to strike out batters as he struck 19 in 15.1 innings pitched in Sarasota while allowing 7 walks and 3 homers. The first-inning struggles on Wednesday were similar in that Rodriguez could not get key outs when it mattered but once he shook off the first-inning jitters he showed his full potential. Grayson will likely make his Camden Yards debut next week against the Oakland Athletics and that should be a sight to behold as the Orioles look to continue playing well as they start a 7-game stretch in front of the home crowd.