Rule 5 pitchers Mac Sceroler, Tyler Wells make Orioles, along with Urias and Valaika - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Rule 5 pitchers Mac Sceroler, Tyler Wells make Orioles, along with Urias and Valaika

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

With their first game just three days away, the Orioles have decided to add both Rule 5 pitchers, Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, to their roster. The right-handed pitchers, who appeared to be long shots to make the team, impressed the Orioles enough for them to begin the 2021 season with them.

Sceroler, who was drafted out of the Cincinnati Reds organization, had a 6.43 ERA in seven spring innings. Wells, from the Minnesota Twins organization, allowed one earned run in nine innings.

“I’m excited to give the news to those two guys, and congratulations to both of them,” manager Brandon Hyde said Monday. “Excited to have both of those guys, and we’ll see how it goes.”

The Orioles won’t be able to option the right-handers to the minor leagues, and that could make things difficult. “I think that’s the challenge of any Rule 5 pick you have,” Hyde said.

In 2019, the Orioles began the season with two Rule 5 infielders, Drew Jackson and Richie Martin. They kept Martin, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Friday, throughout the season. Jackson was sent back to the Los Angeles Dodgers early in the season.

Hyde thinks the sacrifice to keep Martin, who batted just .208, was worth it.

“Hopefully, that happens with both these guys as well,” Hyde said. “I like their stuff. They both have different weapons, and that Sceroler is more of a starter profile, a four-pitch mix. Hasn’t pitched much at the upper levels. We like the shape of his pitches, so he’s going to go in the ‘pen and be a long man for us.

“Tyler Wells has really pitched well in camp with an overpowering fastball at the top of the zone. He showed really good secondary stuff in his last time out against New York, and talking to him this afternoon, that was really an over-the-hump moment for him, going in to face some good middle-of-the-order bats with the Yankees, realizing that he could pitch against those guys.”

Hyde also informed infielders Ramón Urias and Pat Valaika that they had made the team.

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The Orioles will carry 14 pitchers. Hyde’s starting rotation is John Means, Matt Harvey, Bruce Zimmermann¸ Jorge López and Dean Kremer.

Adam Plutko, who was acquired on Saturday from Cleveland, and Wade LeBlanc are likely to be used in long relief and as spot starters. That leaves five relievers to choose from.

Right-handers Shawn Armstrong and César Valdez don’t have options, and left-hander Tanner Scott has exceptional stufff. The final two pitchers could come from left-hander Paul Fry and right-handers Travis Lakins, Cole Sulser and Dillon Tate, all of whom were on the roster in 2020 and have options remaining.

“I thought our bullpen guys did a fairly nice job last year,” Hyde said. “We’re trying to create depth in the organization and depth in the upper levels. Just because you don’t start on the team April 1st doesn’t mean you’re not going to be on the team on April 7th.

“Anything can happen. We’re going to use a lot of players this year, a lot of pitchers. Hopefully, not a ton of position players, but I see a lot of pitchers being used. We’re going to need depth at Triple-A. We’re going to need all these guys that are on the roster.”

Félix Hernández’s requested release left 35 players in camp. Outfielder DJ Stewart is expected to begin the season on the 10-day injured list because of a hamstring injury. That leaves eight players to cut.

Pitchers Thomas Eshelman, Conner Greene, Eric Hanhold, catchers Nick Ciuffo and Austin Wynns and utilityman Stevie Wilkerson remain on the camp roster, but they’re all on minor league contracts and would have to be added to the 40-man roster.

Barring any other moves before the team leaves for Boston on Wednesday, the optioning of two relievers is the final order of spring training business. The team also will take five taxi squad players to Boston.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Kjbsball

    March 29, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Has there been mention of who will be closing?

    • 33d St

      March 29, 2021 at 6:02 pm

      In the rare event of a late lead, they usually just go with whichever guy hasn’t pitched yet that night.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 29, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    Do I remember predicting this team had a chance to win 80?

    • CalsPals

      March 29, 2021 at 5:49 pm

      :)…go O’s…

    • Eastern Sho Joe

      March 29, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      Kudos on the optimism. After the moves made this past week, don’t expect me to be chiming in against you when you bash management this year, I may even join you.

      I hope there’s things going on that I don’t understand.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 29, 2021 at 7:31 pm

        My optimism is waning as well ESJ.

  3. Bman

    March 29, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Closing by committee (like Valdez, Scott, etc) till Harvey returns. Excited to see if Wells and Scerlorer can make it the whole year. Makes the loss of Pop not quite as bad.

  4. willmiranda

    March 29, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    To complete the Richie Martin Rule 5 analogy, in two years these guys will be pitching in Norfolk, giving us depth.

  5. BarstoolSleeper

    March 29, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Carrying 1 rule 5 player on the roster all season is hard enough. Carrying 2 is nearly unheard of. With those 2 guys and Urias on the team, the O’s essentially have 3 minor league players on the 26 man roster… looks like we’ll get a top 3 pick in next years draft also.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 29, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      Are you intimating that they’re Tanking?

      Normally I’d agree, but I’m not so sure with this one. We may not have better pitchers than the 2 rule 5 guys, and frankly, as soon as they possibly can, Urias will be in Norfolk.

      Now keeping Rio around…THAT is tanking.

      • willmiranda

        March 29, 2021 at 8:47 pm

        Thanks, Boog, for reminding us that even tanking can be relative. (no sarc here)

    • Icterus fan

      March 29, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      Sure, having Harvey back will be great, but let’s hope he can handle some innings and get through a season without yet another injury setback.
      We should probably be thinking more toward rubber armed middle relievers, not closers. Valdez may fit the bill; gobbling up innings during the inevitable blow outs coming our way.
      And Tanner Scott looks supremely confident these days sporting 100 mph+ stuff and good differential on off speed pitches.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      March 29, 2021 at 9:46 pm

      BRR I’m not saying they’re tanking, I’m saying they’re terrible. If 2 rule 5 -(should be) minor league pitchers are better than what we have, that’s not good. Might as well keep the 2 pitchers and hope they can turn into something for the team in the future. I was on the 75-80 win camp early this spring but now I’m thinking we’d be lucky to not lose 100 games. Our starting rotation is questionable at best and if 1 or 2 get hurt for an extended period, this team is doomed.

      • BrooksPJs

        March 29, 2021 at 10:09 pm

        Why are so focused on the Rule 5 pitchers and so sure they are going to be awful? Also who would you have replace them and really how much better are the two you would have replace them? All hail the unending negativity of the BB commenters!! Hail! Hail! Hail!

    • BarstoolSleeper

      March 30, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      BPJ, are you telling me that you’re excited with this starting rotation?

  6. Eastern Sho Joe

    March 29, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    I understand the need for more pitching depth, but the said strategy of the rebuild from the beginning has been to acquire strong middle defenders to support the pitchers.

    Now we have numerous pitchers who could be ready to come up later this year and next, and we DFA Sanchez, a Gold Glove 2B.

    Unless there’s something I’m not understanding, which is quite possible, this contradicts what they said their strategy was going to be and I won’t support things like this. Say what you’re going to do, but do what you say.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 29, 2021 at 10:11 pm

      This is primarily Mike Elias you are speaking of…it’s just not possible for him to do what he says and say what he’s going to do? Bwaaaahahahaha

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        March 29, 2021 at 10:27 pm

        Yes, I’m referring to Elias. I’ve not seen too many things that he’s done so far that deviated from the strategy he laid out upon arrival, but DFAing Sanchez blatantly goes against the strategy (again, unless there’s something I don’t understand).

        Are you aware of any other significant moves he’s made that goes against what he said he was going to do?

        • VICTORTEE

          March 31, 2021 at 9:52 am

          But he has lied when he has said guys are competing for jobs in spring training and then sent down the players who have performed better. And signing retread has been pitchers and never was/.never will be pitchers is sure not building for the future.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 30, 2021 at 1:09 am

      ESJ … why in the world are we upset about releasing Yolmer Sanchez? One gold glove does not Roberto Alomar make. Elias dumped him for the same reason I said he’d never break camp with the team back when they signed him. The guy simply isn’t a good player. Less than average is the best rating I’d give him.

      And to take Mike Elias at his word? Please.

  7. dlgruber1

    March 30, 2021 at 12:17 am

    To hell with the pitching right now. I just noticed that Santander didn’t play again for what, the 5th straight game is it? The season is 3 days away and he’s still sitting. The oblique injury is why he missed almost half of last season and now it’s back again. What is it with these guys and oblique injuries? So damn frustrating!!

    • CalsPals

      March 30, 2021 at 6:33 am

      I’m guessing PJ has another obscure stat to explain the rash of oblique injuries…drumroll please…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 30, 2021 at 11:36 am

        Obligue Strain = (Shoulder spin rate x Rib Cage Tork-waist size) / barometric pressure squared+BMI

    • CalsPals

      March 30, 2021 at 11:37 am

      :)…go O’s…

  8. chico salmon

    March 30, 2021 at 7:56 am

    I encourage everyone to go back and look at Rule 5 selections of the past. Position players have a decent shot (Gibbons, Rickard, Flaherty, Santander) but pitchers have virtually no success rate. None. Rule 5 pitchers don’t have success (please don’t bring up the idea of “holding them for a year” and returning them to the minors for “organizational depth”). The really obvious truth here is that Rule 5 pitchers are a bad idea. They don’t get hitters out, and the poor manager is stuck with them. Think Jason Garcia.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 30, 2021 at 8:44 am

      T.J. McFarland was a fine choice and had a 2.76 ERA in 2014.

      • willmiranda

        March 30, 2021 at 10:22 am

        McFarland’s Rule 5 year was 2013, and 2014 was probably his best. Lifetime ERA 4.08. A capable middle reliever for about 8 years with a slightly negative career WAR. A “fine choice”? Only if you expect very little. As for keeping the two this year, the message, as it is every year at this time, is “We’re going to keep our own down on the farm for as long as we can just to let them know who’s in control.” Given the O’s talent level, roster decisions are pretty inconsequential, but their effect on individual players is not; and stalling their development can have long-term effects.

        • Rich Dubroff

          March 30, 2021 at 10:44 am

          It will be interesting to see how the Rule 5 pitchers are handled, if they can get through the season with one or both, but the pitchers sent down will surely be back up quickly because the team needs optionable pitchers.

          For the amount of money invested in McFarland, which I think was $100,000, it was a fine choice.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            March 30, 2021 at 4:34 pm

            I agree Rich. McFarland was a more than serviceable major league pitcher. We could use one like him now.

    • CalsPals

      March 30, 2021 at 9:12 am

      McFarland seems more the exception than the rule…go O’s…

      • Phil770

        March 30, 2021 at 9:54 am

        Chico said “none”, as in zero. Rich just introduced some balance. He could have also noted that 2021 is another odd year for baseball. The Os are not cutting pitchers from the organization. For the next month, two pitchers will go to the alt. Site at Bowie, while the team looks at both these guys for another month, before returning one of both. A far bigger issue is keeping these guys instead of a legitimate 2B and making lame comments about how 2B is covered. I’d rather they say they’re going to give Ruiz or Sisco a shot at 2B.

    • chico salmon

      March 30, 2021 at 9:33 am

      McFarland really is the exception. Alfredo Simon in 2006 struggled in Baltimore and, ultimately, became an All-Star. But that’s it! None of the other Rule 5 pitchers made it. Not only here – anywhere. Most never made it to the major leagues. Teams that make Rule 5 players eligible aren’t dumb. These players clearly are not players that their organization wants to invest in any longer. The Orioles act like Rule 5 pitchers is “found money”, like finding a $20 bill in an old pair of pants. Besides not being effective, you are blocking another (non-Rule 5) player’s development at the major league level. Rule 5 position players? Maybe take a chance. Rule 5 pitchers? Run, don’t walk, from those guys.

      • Rich Dubroff

        March 30, 2021 at 10:41 am

        Simon was drafted by the Orioles, but immediately traded to the Phillies, and didn’t find his way to the Orioles for another two years. Darren O’Day was a Rule 5 draft choice by the Mets, who waived him.

        Rule 5 players are generally taken from organizations who have strong farm systems and too many players to take. It’s to keep teams from hoarding players.

  9. Phil770

    March 30, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Agree that there should be alarm about Santander’s status. Hays will start in RF on Thursday, Santander could be the DH, if Hyde can be believed about his player health comments. Not a great track record there, either.

    • CalsPals

      March 30, 2021 at 10:51 am

      About Santanders health issues or Hyde being truthful?…lol… go O’s…

  10. Phil770

    March 31, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Englander health issues have always been at the end of a season, never finished a season with Os. Hyde is a junior version of Trembly, nice guy, but not up to all of the roles needed of a Big league manager.

    • CalsPals

      March 31, 2021 at 11:24 am

      Englander?…go O’s…

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