Part of the reason that the Baltimore Orioles made their run to the playoffs last season was their young talent emerging, namely Adley Rutschman. Boasting the best farm system in baseball this spring, it was expected that top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez would be included on the team's opening day roster.
Top prospect Grayson Rodriguez not expected to be included on Orioles opening day roster
However, we'll have to wait a little longer to see Rodriguez in action at the major league level. Andy Kostka of the Baltimore Banner reported that the Orioles don't plan on including Rodriguez on their 26 man roster to open the season.
Currently, manager Brandon Hyde has only confirmed the top two spots in the starting rotation. Kyle Gibson will start on opening day and Dean Kremer will pitch game two. After that, how the rest of the rotation shakes out is a mystery, but now that Rodriguez won't make it, one spot is more open than it was before. Kyle Bradish and Cole Irvin look like near locks to fill two of those spots.
The last spot is now a bigger mystery. Tyler Wells is the first name that jumps to mind, as he was in the rotation last season and had a decent season, making 23 starts. Austin Voth also is a candidate for that final spot due to his resurgence in an Orioles uniform. Spenser Watkins, DL Hall, and Bruce Zimmermann are out, as they have been sent to minors camp.
This has a ripple effect on the bullpen as well. With Rodriguez opening the year in the minors, that adds one of Wells or Voth to the rotation, which in turn eliminates one of them from the bullpen conversation. That added to the news that Mychal Givens could start the season on the IL, makes it more likely that Andrew Politi and/or Joey Krehbiel could crack the bullpen on opening day.
This is absolutely big news for the Orioles, and it affects more than just the starting rotation itself. The roster is starting to become clearer now as opening day gets ever closer.