Last week, we looked at possible candidates for the Orioles’ starting rotation in 2022 who were on the 40-man roster and had major league experience. Now, let’s look at some of the top candidates who are on the 40-man roster without major league experience and a few who aren’t.
Background: Bradish, a 25-year-old right-hander, came to the Orioles as part of the four-player package from the Los Angeles Angels for starting pitcher Dylan Bundy in December 2019.
Bradish’s 2021: After three strong starts at Double-A Bowie in which he allowed just seven hits in 13 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out 26 and walking five, Bradish was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. Bradish was 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 21 games with the Tides. He struck out 105 and walked 39 in 86 2/3 innings and earned a spot on the 40-man roster.
Outlook: Bradish is likely to see time with the Orioles but is expected to begin the season at Norfolk.
Background: The 23-year-old left-hander was the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2017 and is considered the second-best pitching prospect in the organization behind Grayson Rodriguez.
Hall’s 2021: After a solid beginning to his season, Hall suffered a left elbow injury in June and didn’t pitch again. In seven starts at Bowie, Hall was 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA. He struck out 56 in 31 2/3 innings while walking 16.
Hall was added to the 40-man roster in November.
Outlook: Hall fell behind Rodriguez because of the elbow injury. Although it’s possible that he returns to Bowie to start the season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hall with the Orioles in the latter part of the season.
Background: Smith is a 24-year-old left-hander who was acquired from the New York Mets in August 2020 as part of the deal for relief pitcher Miguel Castro.
Smith’s 2021: Like Bradish, Smith had a strong beginning to his season at Bowie. He was 0-1 with a 1.04 ERA in six games. Smith struck out 37 and walked 10 in 26 innings.
At Norfolk, Smith was 3-6 with a 6.23 ERA. He struck out 68 in 56 1/3 innings but walked 49. He was added to the 40-man roster in November.
Outlook: In order for Smith to earn a spot with the Orioles, he’ll have to improve his control.
Background: Brnovich, a 24-year-old right-hander, came from the Angels along with Bradish, Isaac Mattson and Zach Peek in the Bundy trade.
Brnovich’s 2021: In eight starts at Aberdeen, Brnovich was 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA. He struck out 48 and walked 11 in 34 1/3 innings. After his promotion to Bowie, Brnovich was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. He struck out 75 and walked 15.
Outlook: Because Hall and Rodriguez have attracted so much attention, Brnovich’s 2021 was overlooked. His strikeout to walk ratio of 4.73 was excellent, and he seems like a possibility to start with the Orioles later in the season.
Background: The 21-year-old right-hander was the Orioles’ top draft pick in 2018. He’s considered the top pitching prospect in baseball.
Rodriguez’s 2021: Rodriguez began the season at High-A Aberdeen and was 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA in five games for the IronBirds. He allowed just 11 hits while striking out 40 and walking five in 23 1/3 innings.
After his promotion to Bowie, Rodriguez was 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 79 2/3 innings, allowing just over five hits per nine innings. He struck out 121 and walked 22.
Outlook: Rodriguez should begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk and should earn a promotion to the Orioles, perhaps as early as June.
Background: Rom is a 22-year-old left-hander who was the Orioles’ fourth-round pick in 2018. He had a 1.76 ERA in 10 games at Gulf Coast in 2018 and a 2.93 ERA in 21 games at Low-A Delmarva in 2019.
Rom’s 2021: Rom was 8-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 14 games for Aberdeen, striking out 73 and walking 17 in 67 2/3 innings. At Bowie, Rom was 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA in nine games, striking out 47 and walking nine in 40 innings.
Outlook: Rom also has been overlooked because of Hall and Rodriguez and has quietly put together a strong minor league resume. Like Brnovich, he had a strong strikeout to walk ratio, 4.62 in 2021. He could return to Bowie or begin at Norfolk and is also a possibility to pitch for the Orioles late in the season.
Summary: The players who don’t need to be put on the 40-man roster yet make this candidate list a strong one.
I didn’t include three other starters in the organization — Blaine Knight, Ofelky Peralta and Cody Sedlock — because they’re eligible for the Rule 5 draft, which has been delayed by the Major League Baseball lockout.
Orioles’ mini-camp: The Orioles are holding a mini-camp in Sarasota this week for 14 pitchers who joined the organization as draft picks or undrafted free agents last year. The camp, which is being run by Justin Ramsey, who will be Triple-A Norfolk’s pitching coach; Joe Haumacher, a Florida Complex League coach; and Ryan Goll, who was Aberdeen’s development coach last season, will run through Saturday. The Orioles will conduct mini-camps throughout the month.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions later this week. Please leave yours in the comment box or email them to: [email protected].