Tap-In Question: Which internal option - besides Gausman and Bundy - do you trust most for the 2018 Orioles' rotation? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Which internal option — besides Gausman and Bundy — do you trust most for the 2018 Orioles’ rotation?

Thanks for patronizing the Tap Room today, and thanks for not complaining about the lack of holiday decorations in this joint.

It’s still November. I’m not falling for the whole “holiday commercialism thing” yet. At least not in here.

At my house, we already have the Christmas lights up ad the tree in the front window. It goes against my “not before December” tradition. But the only way my son, who was home from college this week, could participate in tree trimming with the family was to buy the tree this weekend.

So, one tradition outweighed the other.

I was thankful to have him home, and, really, I was thankful for the whole week. My father had heart surgery earlier this month, so the focus on family was even more important this year.

As my Thanksgiving present to you guys, we waited a day before we ran Dean Jones Jr.’s piece on the top internal candidates for the Orioles’ 2018 starting rotation. I wanted you to digest your turkey before digging into Dean’s offering. It was an excellent piece, but not exactly encouraging reading for O’s fans.

What it shows – as if you didn’t already realize – is that the Orioles need to bolster their rotation from outside the organization this year via trades or free agent signings because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of immediate help in the upper levels of the farm system. One or two solid fliers, but nothing to count on.

We put the options in order of preference, and we think Miguel Castro is the best bet to help the Orioles as a starter to begin 2018. He’s an unknown in that capacity, of course, but he’s young and talented, so he gets the edge.

Gabriel Ynoa showed some glimpses of being serviceable in 2017 and so did Alec Asher. And we can’t forget big-armed Mike Wright, who no longer has minor league options remaining, so it is sink or swim next spring. There are a couple of high-ceiling lefties that were mentioned: Chris Lee and Tanner Scott, but they don’t seem like they’ll be ready to step into a big league rotation in April (or even later in 2018, at least in Scott’s case).


The reality is one of these guys is probably going to be needed to make a chunk of starts for the Orioles next season (depend on more than one, and the team is likely in serious trouble) to join Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and a couple yet-to-be acquired starters. So, my question is, of the pitchers detailed in our piece, who would you be most comfortable with being a part of the regular rotation in 2018? Give me just one name and your reasoning (and cross your fingers).

Tap-In Question: Which internal option – besides Gausman and Bundy – do you trust most for the 2018 rotation?



  1. Marshall

    November 27, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Castro is the lead horse. I think Asher has shown a bit more than Ynoa from the games I watched. I’d like to see Chris Lee have a strong spring.

    Wright would have to be amazing in spring. He’s just an organizational body at this point. But hey, it all changes after pitchers and catchers report.

    For buy low candidates, I wonder what the Mets would take for Matt Harvey…

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 8:37 am

      I think Asher is a valuable arm. So long as he has options he can help on the shuttle. But I agree Castro is the lead horse.

  2. bigdaddydk

    November 27, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Is a pitching machine an option?

    If not, then Castro is the one I’d go with for now. He has good stuff, a rubber arm, and a lot of poise. Not sure if he can throw 160+ innings, but you did say internal options.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 8:37 am

      Exactly. Thanks for staying the course.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 27, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I’m going with Alex Wells even though he didn’t make Mr. Jones list of finalists. Reason(s)?

    a) He’s left handed
    b) I’ve seen the rest of these guys pitch.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Hey Boog: Dean mentions why Wells didn’t make the cut. He hasn’t been above Low-A Delmarva. That’s way the heck down there, especially for a control artist. He needs to show success at higher levels and then he has a chance to be promoted to The Show. But that timetable doesn’t work for 2018 — or at least the first part of it for sure.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 27, 2017 at 9:28 am

        I recognize all the above … but that’s my guy and I’m sticking to it.

  4. TxBirdFan

    November 27, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Based on what we’ve seen it has to be Castro. I’ve not been encouraged by Wright. He’s had multiple chances to break thru as a regular starter and just hasn’t done it. I️ hope I’m not saying that about Castro next year.

    Since I️ live in Dallas it’s interesting that the Rangers are in the very same pitching predicament as the O’s with only 2 returning starters. They just signed Doug Pfister who doesn’t sound like a great pick up, but they are also targeting Cobb, Lynn and Cashner. It’s a race for mediocrity.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 9:06 am

      There are so many teams that need rotation help. That’s why I’m not optimistic the O’s land one of their top choices. A lot of competition for the same guys. Many of whom are pedestrian.

  5. bigdaddydk

    November 27, 2017 at 9:12 am

    We are leaving out Chris Davis. Yes, small sample size, but he has an ERA of 0.00 and strikes out 9 per 9 innings. Who else do we have that can do that? /sarc

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 9:46 am

      I imagine he could work hitters too. He understands the strike zone.

      • bigdaddydk

        November 27, 2017 at 9:56 am

        If he was good for 200 Ks on the mound, I could put up with 200 Ks at the plate.

  6. 54orioles

    November 27, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Have you been hitting the holiday cheer?

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Not yet. Still November.

  7. garyintheloo

    November 27, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I wrote you earlier about the failure of the Norfolk-Baltimore shuttle last season so I don’t think there is anyone this year. Castro is a desperate measure and I think he is better served as a multi-inning reliever. Sort of a Peter Principle thing.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Yeah. That’s how Showalter felt this year. Question is can they fill his role and then see what he can do as a starter? He’s so young it makes sense to try on some level.

  8. LarryBS

    November 27, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Keeping in mind I don’t pay as much attention as I should to the Orioles’ situation, other than this website/app, I don’t understand the exclusion of any conversation whatsoever about Tillman. Did I miss that he has no intention to ever pitch in Baltimore again, or that someone has determined that his recent problems are irreversible? Surely if neither of those are true, is he a worse option than many of the numerous mystery free agents the Orioles might spend money on. Have I missed something? Has Tillman said he doesn’t want to return?

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 10:39 am

      He hasn’t said that. In fact he has said the opposite. But he is a free agent and likely will be on a one-year deal and pitchers rarely choose Baltimore when they have other options and they need to make good in one year. Regardless this is a look at internal candidates and he no longer can be considered that since he is no longer employed by the organization currently. For the record, I do think it makes sense to bring him back on the right deal.

  9. Steve Cockey

    November 27, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not much of a Castro believer. A 97+ mph FB and ~5 K/9 just don’t inspire much confidence for me.

    If for no other reason than to be contrarian, here’s an internal option that likely isn’t even in contention. The guy started in the minors as recently as 2016 (10 starts, 3.72 ERA at AAA), and was truly stretched out as a starter as recently as 2015 (171.2 IP, 26 starts, 2.57 ERA & 62+% GB rate between AA and AAA).

    He’s been in the majors the last two years, where he’s posted a 1.98 ERA in 86.1 relief IP , with a 65% GB rate. Both lefties and righties have OPSed under .685 against him.

    His name? Richard Bleier.

    I was dead set against Bleier starting before digging into his major and minor league numbers a bit more closely. But given how poor the other options are, I think he’d be my internal frontrunner.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 11:47 am

      We didn’t include him because he spent basically all year in the majors as a reliever. And I know Buck has kicked the idea around. I just don’t know if they’d pull the trigger and try it given what he meant to the bullpen. But like you said it’s not as if there are obviously better options for the rotation.

  10. mike3764

    November 27, 2017 at 11:00 am

    My guess is Castro is the only real option….can we please put the Mike Wright experiment in the bullpen as a reliever permanently yet? Ugh..

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Well, this will be the year that a decision has to be made. If he doesn’t make the team, he’ll be exposed to waivers. And someone will take a shot on that arm.

  11. HOF19

    November 27, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Gabriel Ynoa is the only one I trust…….We gotta…….gotta…….gotta sign Lynn and Cobb.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 11:49 am

      I doubt they’ll get one but it is possible. Two? No shot. They’d have to win two bidding wars. No way.

  12. phildell

    November 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Alec Asher. He’s been a big league starter. He’s young. Let him go through spring training pitching on a regular basis and see what he can do.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Makes sense. Tho we have all seen March fool us in the past. No way to replicate real lineups in the AL East.

  13. willmiranda

    November 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Chris Lee. First, he’s left handed. Second, his name sounds like a pitcher’s . Third, he may be related to Bill Lee and could prove to be very entertaining.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Entertaining always works for me. I’ll take a Spaceman 2.0 to cover. Tho being able to get MLB hitters out probably is the primary requirement.

  14. OsFanStuckInNY

    November 27, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Castro gets my vote, as well; though my expectations are low, I expect he will be better than any of the Terrible Trio he replaces, so at least he doesn’t have a high bar to hurdle.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      That, sadly, is true. At least one has to hope.


    November 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for your attempt to keep Christmas out of November. By the way, when did Black Friday become a national holiday?
    At any rate, Castro has to get a long look this spring. What happened to Logan Verritt. He was useful to the Mets as a fill in starter a few years ago.
    I am certain Mike Wright is not a big league pitcher. How many chances has he had already? He is just not a good pitcher. I think Tanner Scott needs to get a long look.
    It is really sad that this organization has gotten to this point. I know they have had terrible luck in terms of highly drafted pitchers getting hurt or not developing.
    I also think the Orioles need to take a chance on someone like Colon or Danks, a pitcher on the downside who may have something left in the tank.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      I hear ya on Wright, but for argument sake, wasn’t that the same thing said about Arrieta in 2012-13? They need to exhaust every possibility with Wright even if that means full-time relief for a spell. The guy has talent. So hard to give up on that.

    • Paul Folkemer

      November 27, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Verrett signed with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization a couple weeks ago.

  16. ZantiGM

    November 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    First i think Mike Wright will be included in a winter trade…Ynoa with a solid ST could open the season as our 5th starter-long relief….i like Ramirez, Hess and Means but all 3 will probably start season at AAA.Kipper is a name to file away for sometime during the 2018 season-could be a non-roster invitee to ST…I still think DD trades for one starter and signs two free agent starting pitchers possibly Vargas and Chatwood.Maybe a 3 for 1 trade for a 5th starter with Wright and two other prospects being involved-Stewart? Akin?

    • Dan Connolly

      November 27, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      I just don’t know what kind of return you get for those guys. Stewart has rallied offensively but teams probably want to see him do it again before interest peaks.

      • ZantiGM

        November 27, 2017 at 7:02 pm

        yes i would be very interesting to know what other teams think of Stewart, Mountcastle, Sisco, Akin, Hess and Sedlock…a team like Padres might have some interest

  17. ED-DIE

    November 27, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I like HH. Just a waste of time with all the others. The ones that were not Oriole draft picks were let go by other organizations for a reason. I am tired of always hoping for a longshot every year. I would also keep him on the roster the entire season if he does not completely tank. Do not pull another Gausman with him and ruin another high draft pick.

  18. cameronmcguire9

    November 28, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I have to go with Alec Asher. I like Castro in the bullpen and I don’t have much faith in Gabriel Ynoa. Asher showed some promise last year in April and May before he imploded. He’s not a great option but then again nobody else outside of Bundy and Gausman are.

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