As I wrote Monday, this appears to be a three-pitcher race among Mike Wright Jr., Nestor Cortes Jr., and Miguel Castro. Gabriel Ynoa was always the trailer, and he took a step backward Sunday. Hunter Harvey may be the best of the group, but since he hasn’t pitched much as a pro, the club will be patient – relatively speaking – with their top pitching prospect as he continues to surge back from elbow surgery. Cortes, a Rule 5 pick who must stay with the Orioles all year or be offered back to the New York Yankees, is the only lefty among the fifth-starter candidates (and the four who already have a spot). Castro has the best combination of upside and big league success, but he also has a minor league option remaining and probably could benefit from starting some at Triple-A. That leaves Wright, who has had success starting in the minors but can’t maintain any consistency when he gets to the Orioles’ rotation. He didn’t make a start with the club last year, but likely will be afforded that opportunity in 2018. He is out of minor league options, so it’s sink or swim time for the big fella.
My projected winner: Wright