Orioles News: O's ink former Athletics reliever to minor league deal

The Orioles have come to terms on a minor league deal with RHP Vinny Nittoli
Kansas City Royals v Oakland Athletics
Kansas City Royals v Oakland Athletics / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

As reported by Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports on Tuesday evening, the Orioles have come to terms with right-handed reliever Vinny Nittoli on a minor league contract. Nittoli will report to Triple-A Norfolk and serve as a depth arm for the time being.

Nittoli has had a bit of success this year, both with Oakland and with their Triple-A club. He'd pitched to a 2.25 ERA in 8 innings with the big league club and had posted a similar 2.70 ERA in 23.1 innings down in the minors.

Despite the results, the A's DFA'd Nittoli back on June 21 and he was signed to a minor league deal by the Cubs a few days after. However, the Cubs summarily DFA'd him, making it twice in a week that Nittoli had been dumped.

How does Vinny Nittoli fit into the Orioles bullpen mix?

Nittoli relies primarily on his cutter and sweeper, but will mix in a curve, a sinker, and a change sparingly. He lives in the low-90's with the cutter and sinker, just below the league average for fastball velocity these days.

The lower velocity is likely a part of why his stuff hasn't translated well to the major leagues. He's had good results with the 2.25 ERA but he's pitched to a less impressive 4.28 FIP, largely due to an inability to miss bats.

It's a bit curious how poorly Nittoli's strikeout rates have translated to MLB. Nittoli has posted a 36% strikeout rate at Triple-A Las Vegas this year. In his brief stint in Oakland, that mark fell to just 15.6%.

Some pitchers do have success inside that velocity range, but teams typically tend to favor high velocity bullpen arms over command and control guys, especially right handed ones.

It'll be interesting to see what the Orioles' pitching development team can do with Nittoli. If he's going to have success in the majors, he's going to have to improve on his ability to induce whiffs. If the Orioles can help him build on his repertoire and get the off-speed pitches dialed in, Nittoli might turn out to be a solid addition for Mike Elias and the O's.