Baltimore Orioles EVP/GM Mike Elias has repeatedly reiterated his desire to pick up at least one more pitcher before the club heads to Spring Training and on Thursday, Elias made good on his word. The Orioles announced that they have acquired 28 year old starting pitcher Cole Irvin from the Oakland Athletics in return for shortstop prospect Darell Hernaiz. Also headed to Baltimore is 6-foot-7 inch pitching prospect Kyle Virbitsky.
The left handed Irvin has been a fixture in Oakland’s rotation over the past two seasons, wherein he’s posted a 4.11 ERA over 359.1 innings. Irvin is an exemplary contact pitcher who uses above average command to get outs with a fastball that lives in the low 90’s, though he does give up the occasional long ball (1.24 per 9 innings).
Baltimore Orioles Acquire SP Cole Irvin and P Kyle Virbitsky from Athletics for SS Darell Hernaiz
Kyle Virbitsky doesn’t appear on Oakland’s top prospect list according to both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline, but he’s a classic Mike Elias pitching target. The 2021 17th round draft choice out of Penn State has a big, projectable arm with a penchant for strikeouts - 140 in 126.1 innings over two levels in 2022, to be exact. It’s no surprise that Elias insisted on his inclusion in this transaction.
The Orioles have done well to acquire Irvin, who is under team control for four seasons. Irvin does have stark home/road splits and was a beneficiary of Oakland’s cavernous ballpark. Camden Yards has become a pitcher’s haven in its own right though, thanks to the new left field wall that should curb some of Irvin’s home run proneness. Darell Hernaiz is a fast-rising shortstop prospect who will be missed but as the old cliche goes, you have to give up something to get something in return. The Orioles have no greater minor league depth than they do in the middle infield and Elias was wise to use this area of need to acquire a pitcher who should fare quite well in his new home ballpark behind a defense that’s more than capable of aiding him.