In what has change into a yearly custom throughout Orioles spring coaching, followers wait with bated breath to see if a Rule 5 draft choose from the earlier December will make the 26-man roster. This yr, they’ve bought two younger pitchers to regulate in that regard.
No, it’s not the sexiest competitors to observe as spring coaching unfolds, however come on, it’s the Orioles. Dabbling within the Rule 5 draft is what they do. And never simply the present mind belief led by GM Mike Elias, however earlier administrations too.
I’ll admit that I personally had change into jaded in regards to the efficacy of the Rule 5 course of, having witnessed so many gamers come and go together with the O’s; gamers being hidden on the energetic roster, shuffled onto and off of the injured listing, after which in the end disappearing into baseball oblivion.
However then Anthony Santander had his breakout season in 2020, proving that the funding of time and power in a Rule 5 man might truly repay. Granted, Santander didn’t make a right away affect by any means.
The switch-hitting outfielder was snatched from the Indians again in 2016, and he solely appeared in 13 main league video games in 2017 resulting from a proper forearm harm. That harm meant the Orioles might maintain him within the group resulting from a loophole that permits a Rule 5 draftee to be stashed on the IL.
Santander was a part-timer within the huge leagues the next two seasons earlier than his glorious but injury-shortened 2020, when he registered a formidable .890 OPS and was a Gold Glove finalist in proper area.
So right here we’re, greater than midway by means of spring coaching 2021, and there are nonetheless two Rule 5 pitchers in Orioles camp. Based mostly on Grapefruit League numbers alone, one stands a a lot better probability of heading north with the O’s than the opposite.
Let’s begin with the nice. Tyler Wells is a right-handed pitcher who checks in at 6 ft 8 inches tall and 255 kilos, in keeping with Baseball Reference. The 26-year-old has had restricted spring motion (three video games).
In 4 innings pitched in Florida, Wells has allowed 5 hits, one earned run, hit one batter, walked two, and struck out three. That shakes out to a 2.25 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, and .294 BAA.
The Twins drafted wells within the fifteenth spherical of the 2016 Draft, and he’s been a starter over the course of three minor league seasons (50 appearances, 46 begins), compiling a 2.82 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 0.5 HR/9, 10.1 SO/9, and three.84 SO/W.
The very best stage of the minor leagues for Wells is Double-A, the place he’s thrown 32.2 innings whereas placing up a 1.65 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 0.3 HR/9, and 10.7 SO/9. A bit vulnerable to permitting walks, he did common 3.9 BB/9 over that point as effectively.
Now for the not-so-good facet of this Rule 5 competitors. Mac Sceroler, a right-handed pitcher drafted by the Reds within the fifth spherical of the 2017 Draft, has a 19.29 ERA, 3.86 WHIP, and .364 BAA in three video games this spring. He’s pitched a complete of two.1 innings, permitting 4 hits and 5 earned runs (together with two dwelling runs) to associate with a 1:5 SO/W ratio.
Over the course of three minor league seasons, Sceroler has a 4.07 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1.0 HR/9, 9.5 SO/9, and three.36 SO/W. He pitched in excessive Single-A in 2019, placing up a 3.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a powerful 4.38 SO/W in 117 innings.
The O’s roster crunch is a fluid scenario, as evidenced by the current accidents to a few outstanding pitchers. Felix Hernandez is on the shelf with a sore elbow, and together with his age and the variety of profession innings on that arm, it’s unsettling to see such an harm with spring coaching greater than midway over.
Hunter Harvey is one other pitcher who has succumbed to the harm bug. Actually, the Orioles positioned him on the 60-day injured listing resulting from an indirect harm, which is all the time onerous to guage when it comes to restoration time.
This brings us again to the 2 younger right-handers. It’s onerous to think about the Orioles will maintain multiple of their Rule 5 gamers primarily based on spring efficiency. And it’s straightforward to see which one has carried out higher. Whereas each guys have been beginning pitchers throughout their transient minor league careers, neither has toed the rubber to begin a sport but this spring and so their finest probability might be to catch on within the bullpen.
However with the way in which the O’s work the injured listing and the chance for lots of labor to go round for the pitching employees this yr, the Rule 5 determination is much from being settled. So keep tuned.