Minor Monday: Weston sampling a variety of roles in Orioles organization - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Minor Monday: Weston sampling a variety of roles in Orioles organization

Photo Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles

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Cameron Weston started his first full year as a pro a little later than he would have liked.

It didn’t stop the right-hander with a varied repertoire from leaving a distinct impression at High-A Aberdeen.

Weston, an eighth-round selection out of Michigan in 2022, didn’t work in a minor league game until a rehab appearance in the Florida Complex League on June 9th because of tendonitis that developed at the end of spring training. From there, it was on to the IronBirds, where he was 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 12 appearances.

“It was nice getting built back up and slowly getting back into it,” Weston said earlier this month during the final week of Aberdeen’s season. “Now coming toward the end, just making sure everything is healthy and ending the right way. It’s been exciting getting back and having success on the second half.”

Weston’s strikeout numbers — 49 in 40 1/3 innings at Aberdeen — stand out. That followed a solid 11 1/3-inning trial at Single-A Delmarva just after he was drafted last year.

But what might be as intriguing as anything about Weston is the multiple roles he could fill as he moves up the Orioles’ system. He worked as both a starter and a closer at Michigan, and his usage this season suggests his eventual place in the organization’s pitching plans isn’t cemented just yet.

Weston started only three of his 12 appearances with the IronBirds, but pitched at least three innings in 10 of them. The exceptions were a pair of one-inning outings in the final weeks of the season as Baltimore monitored his workload after he missed the two months early on.

He struck out nine in five innings during a July 20th start that was in the middle of the best stretch of the season. He also came out of the bullpen and fanned six over four innings on Aug. 9th.

“I’ve gotten used to it,” Weston said of his relief work. “I’ve done it a lot. They make it easy up here, too, having what you’re scheduled out to do. You know where to be and when to get stuff done. It’s been easy up here with everybody. When you’re in that tandem role coming out second, you just work behind the starter pregame. Everybody makes sure you’re on it.”

As solid as his in-game progression was, Weston indicated this was also a major learning year for him. His pitch mix includes a sinker, a changeup, a splitter/forkball mix, a cut fastball and a slider.

He also worked to add what he described as a “sweepier” slider to his options.

“It was really based on them and the information they had on all my pitches and what would work well with my fastball and work well off my arsenal,” Weston said. “It just came out that more sweep with the run would be nice. They showed me how to do it, and it’s been all good.”

His offseason priorities including putting on some good weight in the hopes it can provide an uptick to each of his pitches next year. It’s usually difficult to completely maintain weight throughout a season, and it was made even more difficult because of his longer-than-expected time in warm weather at the Orioles’ minor-league complex in Florida because of his early-season injury.

Despite having to work through that early arm tweak, it was hardly a lost year for Weston given what he proved through his work at Aberdeen.

And with his versatility and multifaceted repertoire, he feels he’s set himself up well for 2024 and beyond.

“Even with missing [time], I ended up where I wanted to be,” Weston said. “It’s been good. It seems to be on the right path.”

* Triple-A Norfolk completed its regular season Sunday with an 11-6 loss at Buffalo. The Tides finished the second half 42-33, six games out of first.

Norfolk, the first-half champion, will host Durham (Tampa Bay’s top farm team) in the best-of-3 International League championship series starting Tuesday and continuing Wednesday and (if necessary) Thursday. Each game will begin at 6:35 p.m.

The winner of the IL series will advance to meet either Oklahoma City (Los Angeles Dodgers) or Round Rock (Texas) in the Triple-A championship game Saturday in Las Vegas. Oklahoma City and Round Rock will play a best-of-3 series for the Pacific Coast League title this week.

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