The Baltimore Orioles had many successes in 2012, especially when it came to pitching. Some of that pitching came from unlikely places such as 25-year-old Steve Johnson and 28-year-old Miguel Gonzalez. Neither had any major league experience coming into the 2012 season. The good fortune came while waiting for the likes of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, and Chris Tillman to be healthy and mature. Meanwhile, they got everything and more they could have hoped for out of 2011 1st round pick Dylan Bundy. In addition they added another punch to the arsenal by drafting LSU stud Kevin Gausman at the same position (#4 overall) that they picked Bundy last season. They won’t be picking that high in 2013 and the O’s faithful are just fine with that.
AAA Northfolk Tides
Steve Johnson, RHP – Age 25 - 2005 13th round draft pick by the Dodgers. Went 4-8, 2.86 ERA, 86/31 K/BB ratio over 91.1 innings in his 2nd season at AAA. Johnson performed quite well in his major league debut, going 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA and a 18/4 K/BB ratio over 38.1 innings. He pitched well in the pen and in his 4 starts with the O’s. Depending how things shake out on the hot stone, Johnson could easily remain in the pen or start at the end of the rotation. There’s good reason to think that he will start the season in Baltimore and be asked to go between the pen and the rotation.
Miguel Gonzalez, RHP – Age 28 - Made his pro debut in 2005 and bounced around the minors and Mexican League for 8 years. Went 3-2, 1.161 ERA, 53/10 K/BB over 44.2 innings, which was spread out over 8 relief appearances and 6 starts. He made a couple of appearances out the Orioles bullpen between late May and early July, while being shuttled back and forth from Northfolk in his big league debut. He had an outstanding season as a 28-year-old rookie, going 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA, 77/35 K/BB ratio over 105.1 innings. There’s enough here to believe that he will be in the middle of the O’s rotation even if they make a splash in free agency this off-season and promote Dylan Bundy.
AA Bowie Baysox
Dylan Bundy, RHP – Age 19 - 2011 1st round draft pick (4th overall). Went 9-3, 2.08 ERA, 119/28 K/BB ratio over 103.2 innings at 3 levels. His pro debut in the Sally League was a joke, as he laid waste to hitters at an alarming rate, not allowing an earned run over 30 innings. We’ve gone on in previous articles, prior to the 2011 draft, ad nauseam about Bundy being the best player in the very talented 2011 draft. In his pro debut, he didn’t prove us wrong. He was rewarded with a couple September innings out of the bullpen for the Orioles. He should start the season off at Bowie, but there’s little doubt he will get a shot this spring to be apart of the rotation.
Jacob Pettit, LHP – Age 26 - 2010 42nd round draft pick. Went 11-3, 3.86 ERA, 86/24 K/BB ratio over 123.2 innings. Average stuff, but gets the job done. Problem is that in his 3 seasons he’s been way to old for each stop and the Orioles don’t seem to be in a hurry to move him up. He should get a chance to start 2013 at AAA. Though the O’s have had recent success with older minor league pitchers breaking through to the next level, Pettit is likely headed for a career in the bullpen.
Bobby Bundy, RHP – Age 22 - 2008 8th round draft pick. Went 2-11, 6.25 ERA, 64/35 K/BB ratio over 80.2 innings. The Elder brother of Dylan, won’t ever be confused with little brother as far as top-tier stuff, but he still has a shot at making it to the majors. 2012 wan’t a step in the right direction though. He dealt with an ankle sprain in May that sent him to the DL and then was shut down completely on July 9th with elbow soreness. He should start the season at Bowie again in 2013.
Mike Wright, RHP – Age 22 - 2011 3rd round draft pick. Went 10-5, 4.06 ERA, 80/22 K/BB ratio over 108.2 innings at 2 levels. The 2012 season was really about 2 halves for Wright. He was quite good at High-A (2.91 ERA) and so-so at AA (4.91 ERA). In fairness, he dealt with a hamstring injury and missed about a month while at Bowie. He really didn’t look like the same pitcher. His struggles continue in the AFL as he’s 0-4, 6.88 ERA, and a 12/7 K/BB ratio over 17 innings for the Mesa Solar Sox. Next season should be a true test to see if he remains a starter.
Kyler Newby, RHP – Age 27 - 2004 50th round draft pick by Arizona. Went 5-4, 2.40 ERA, 74/22 K/BB ratio over 56.1 innings. He also racked up 20 saves. Curiously, in 8 seasons of minor league ball he has never made a start, but the O’s are stretching him out currently in the Dominican Winter League. He’s 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA and has a 18/1 K/BB ratio in 14 innings over 3 starts. I guess we will see how this plays out next spring.
High-A Frederick Keys
Kevin Gausman, RHP - Age 21 - 2012 1st round draft pick (4th overall). Went 0-1, 3.60 ERA, 13/1 K/BB ratio over 15 innings l split between Rookie ball and High-A. He’s got a mid 90′s fastball and is an extremely polished pitcher. There’s a lot to be excited about in Baltimore with a Bundy/Gausman front line combo in the near future. We look forward to seeing him in a full season of minor league ball in 2013.
Tyler Wilson, RHP – Age 23 – 2011 10th round draft pick. Went 10-10, 3.84 ERA, 143/30 K/BB ratio over 143 innings between Low-A (32 innings) and High-A (111 innings) in 2012. He had three 10+ strikeout games over the final 3 games of the season. In that mini-blitz, he gave up just 3 earned runs while posting a 32/0 K/BB ratio over 22 innings. He was old for High-A, but this was his 1st season of full season ball after being drafted in 2011. He’s ready for a bigger challenge at AA next season and is worth keeping an eye on.
Trent Howard, LHP – Age 23 - 2011 7th round draft pick. Went 6-10, 4.28 ERA, 86/33 K/BB ratio over 124 innings in a similar path as Tyler Wilson, though nowhere near as dominant. He may end up as a lefty specialist out of the pen down the road, for now though the O’s will probably run him out as a starter at AA in 2013.
Tim Berry, LHP – Age 21 - 2009 50th round draft pick. Went 7-13, 5.04 ERA, 109/39 K/BB ratio over 128.2 innings in 3 stops. Berry is a classic case of needing to look beyond his record and ERA. After being drafted in 2009 he had Tommy John surgery and has been worked back into things slowly over the past 3 seasons. He could very well have 3 plus pitches in another year or so. His Fastball, Curve, and Change up have all looked very promising as his arm has built back up. Keep an eye on his progress.
Devin Jones, RHP - Age 22 - 2011 9th round draft pick. Went 8-7, 2.72 ERA, 80/23 K/BB ratio over 109 innings over an equal split between Low-A and High-A. He’s got an excellent sinker that results in a ton of ground balls. He should make his way to AA in 2013.
Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds
Parker Bridwell, RHP – Age 21 - 2010 9th round draft pick. Went 5-9, 5.98 ERA, 71/63 K/BB ratio over 114.1 innings. He’s still so very raw, but the upside is pretty amazing with Bridwell. If he can put some command together, he’s going to be a special pitcher.
Zachary Davies, RHP- Age 19 - 2011 26th round draft pick. Went 5-7, 3.86 ERA, 91/46 K/BB ratio over 114.1 innings. The Orioles started his pro career out in full season ball and he handled it well.
Miguel Chalas, RHP – Age 20 - 2010 International free agent, Dominican Republic. Went 9-8, 5.02 ERA, 76/43 K/BB ratio over 113 innings. He’s a little on the small side to be a dominant starter, but with a decent fastball and a “slurve” to go with it, he could turn into an asset out of the bullpen.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP – Age 19 - 2010 International free agent, Venezuela. Went 5-7, 3.70 ERA, 73/30 K/BB ratio over 107 innings. Still learning how to pitch. His arm action is smooth, though he falls off the rubber a bit too much towards third. He was a value buy for the Orioles at $175,000, who haven’t had a ton of success in Latin America.
Matt Taylor, LHP – Age 21 - 2011 5th round draft pick. Went 5-7, 4.33 ERA, 85/41 K/BB ratio over 95.2 innings in his first try at full season ball. Has a very unusual delivery. While he gets a good push with downward action to the plate, his delivery needs some retooling if he’s going to be a starter. He’s a great candidate for a move to the bullpen. He may very well fast track there.
Short Season-A Aberdeen IronBirds
Sebastian Vader, RHP – Age 20 - 2010 18th round draft pick. Went 1-8, 3.71 ERA, 49/24 K/BB ratio over 70.1 innings. After a pretty decent 2011 season in the GCL, the Orioles still decided to bring Vader along slowly with another season of Rookie Ball in 2012. His record is a bit skewed as he got very little run support in his outings, and after a shaky start to the season he settled into a 10 start stretch to end the season that saw him post a 2.65 ERA and a 40/14 K/BB ratio over 54.1 innings, including an 8 K, ) BB, 1 ER, 5 Hit, 6 IP finale – where he took yet another loss. He should carry that momentum to Low-A in 2013.
Sander Beck, RHP – Age 22 - 2011 33rd round draft pick. Went 4-3, 2.44 ERA, 59/21 K/BB ratio over 44.1 innings in his pro debut. The Orioles may still be deciding what to do with Beck. He was a starter at Maryland, but didn’t make a start in 17 2012 appearances, though many of them were 3 or more inning outings.
Rookie-A GCL Orioles
Janser Severino, RHP – Age 21 - 2009 International free agent, Dominican Republic. Went 1-5, 4.57 ERA, 42/12 K/BB ratio over 41.1 innings in his North American Debut. All 6’2″, 140 pounds of him.
Elias Pinales, LHP – Age 20 - 2010 International free agent, Dominican Republic. Went 3-4, 4.21 ERA, 64/22 K/BB ratio over 62 innings in his North American Debut.
Alexander Santana, RHP - Age 21 - 2009 International free agent, Dominican Republic. Went 6-4, 2.45 ERA, 74/24 K/BB ratio over 62.1 innings. He split the season between the DSL and GSL. He’s a converted outfielder who is 5’11 and really has 2 average pitches. He tops out around 90. He’s like a bullpen consideration soon.
Luc Rennie, RHP - Age 18 - 2012 16th round draft pick. Went 1-1, 3.04 ERA, 27/9 K/BB ratio over 26.2 innings in his pro debut.
Josh Hader, LHP - Age 18 - 2012 19th round draft pick. Went 2-0, 1.88 ERA, 48/9 K/BB ratio over 28.2 innings in his pro debut.
Kevin Grendell, RHP - Age 19 - 2012 11th round draft pick. Went 0-4, 7.27 ERA, 29/11 K/BB ratio over 17.1 innings in his pro debut. Will start the 2013 season suspended as he tested positive for DHEA in September. It’s a shame that the idiots surrounding this kid would advise him that this would be a good idea.
Rookie-A DSL Orioles
Miguel Garcia, RHP – Age 19 - 2011 International free agent, Argentina. Went 4-3, 2.82 ERA, 54/17 K/BB ratio over 73.1 innings. It’s unusual to see a prospect from Argentina and it wasn’t his DSL debut, though he only pitched 4 inning in his debut in 2011.
Cristian Alvardo, RHP – Age 18 - 2011 International free agent, Venezuela. Went 2-3, 3.68 ERA, 51/21 K/BB ratio over 66 innings in his pro debut.
Rafael Moreno, RHP – Age 17 - 2011 International free agent, Brazil. Went 2-3, 3.86 ERA, 59/22 K/BB ratio over 65.1 innings in his pro debut.
Wendell Floranus, RHP – Age 17 - 2011 International free agent, Curacao. Went 6-6, 4.69 ERA, 41/14 K/BB ratio over 63.1 innings in his pro debut.
That wraps up our report on the 2012 season for the Baltimore Orioles pitching prospects. Check back soon as we break down the year in review of another organization.
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