Voth makes pitch for Orioles' starting rotation; Politi is this year's Rule 5 hopeful; New rules take - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Voth makes pitch for Orioles’ starting rotation; Politi is this year’s Rule 5 hopeful; New rules take

Photo Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports


SARASOTA–What’s happening?—The Orioles haven’t named their starter for Opening Day, and they haven’t decided on one for the first Grapefruit League game on February 25th.

They have many choices for their game in Sarasota in a week against the Minnesota Twins. One possibility is Austin Voth, who’s one of the 12 candidates for the rotation.

“You need a lot of starters throughout a season,” Voth said. “You can’t just have five guys. You’re going to need seven, maybe eight guys. Guys are going to get hurt, guys are going to need rest. I’m going to go out and do what I always do when I come to spring training and that’s just compete and try to make the team.”


Voth was the only one of the six arbitration-eligible Orioles who did not settle by the January 13th deadline but came to an agreement on a 2023 contract for $1.85 million with a $2.45 million option for 2024, avoiding a hearing.

“You never want to go to arbitration,” Voth said. “You want to be on good terms with the team. I felt like I had to fight for myself and what I’m worth, but then we came to terms, and I’m here. I’m glad we got a deal done.”

Voth is one of the few Orioles who has been on a team that won the World Series, the 2019 Washington Nationals, though he didn’t play in the postseason. He’s hoping to play in the postseason this season.

“Ever year you come into spring training and you want to make the postseason,” he said. “That’s your goal. You want to win and make the postseason. That’s what we proved last season, We’re a team that can fight and we’re a team that can compete with the rest of the teams in our division in the big leagues. I think with the talent coming up that we haven’t even seen yet, that’s definitely a possibility.”

What’s happened?—Grayson Rodriguez threw to Adley Rutschman on the second day of official workouts. Spenser Watkins, another potential starter, also threw.

John Means, who’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, could throw off a half-mound early next week, but manager Brandon Hyde hasn’t confirmed that. A half-mound is half the height of a regular pitching mound but the same distance from the plate.

“He’s doing well in his progression,” Hyde said.

The Orioles are working on adapting to the new rules, but they haven’t yet used pitch clocks in their bullpen sessions.

“That will be coming pretty soon,” Hyde said. “We wanted guys to get comfortable first, then we’ll start implementing the pitch clock.”

 What’s up with? Andrew Politi was the Orioles’ Rule 5 selection last December. Politi, a 26-year-old right-hander, was drafted from the Boston Red Sox organization and was 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA and eight saves with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester in 2022.

Politi expected to be taken in the draft.

“I had a good amount of teams that were pretty interested going into it,” he said. “Not many guys get taken in this. I knew there was a chance. I knew my name was being thrown around there. I’m just glad it happened.”

The Orioles have taken a player in the Rule 5 draft in every year since 2006.

“I didn’t really have a specific team in mind that I was eager to get to,” Politi said. “It actually wasn’t one of the teams I expected. There were a few other teams I thought would pick me before that. This is a great fit and a great place to be.”

Politi is confident that he can help the Orioles if he makes the team.

“I think I bring a good mix of pitches that would work in today’s game,” Politi said. “I think I throw a lot of offspeed pitches for strikes. I have a good arsenal that would work against a really strong lineup.”

 What’s what? I’m eager to see how the new rules will affect the game, and I’m glad they’re being introduced for the start of the Grapefruit League season next week.

I’m most eager to see how the running game will be changed by limiting unsuccessful pickoff attempts to two. A more diversified game will be a more attractive one, and so should a faster game. If the pitch clock cuts 15-to-20 minutes off the average game time, and most games end in two hours, 45 minutes, that would be great.

I think ending the shift won’t have as drastic an effect because most hitters will continue to pull the ball, hoping for the long ball. With the shift, there were plenty of opportunities for left-handed hitters to hit to the opposite field, and they didn’t. I hope that the end of the shift helps, but I’m fine if the pitch clock and pickoff rules work.

What’s the word? “It’s hard to see how everything is going to play out because you do have a lot of guys who have solidified themselves as good, good big league players, but I think that that is actually what’s going to make it more fun.”-Tyler Wells on roster competition

What’s the number? 15-20. That’s the number of pounds that Wells says he’s lost over the offseason. “The biggest development was to make sure I came in in great shape,” Wells said.

“That was a personal goal and a consensus that that would help with my longevity.”

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