Hunter Harvey

© Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles Hope Pitching is a Catalyst for Future Success

June 06, 2018 - 1:58 pm

By Tim Barbalace

The Orioles led the majors in home runs from 2012 through 2016, while starting pitching often held the club back from further success.  In recent years, Baltimore has an emphasis on drafting and developing pitchers to ensure their starting rotation is a strength instead of a weakness.  Since 2011 the team has invested six of their nine picks on starting pitchers.

Those six first-rounders include Dylan Bundy (2011), Kevin Gausman (2012), Hunter Harvey (2013), Cody Sedlock (2016), DL Hall (2017) and most recently Grayson Rodriguez.  Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman have each shown that they can perform at a high level in the majors, but both are still in search of more consistency.  Hunter Harvey had his development delayed due to Tommy John Surgery in 2016, but flashed during Spring Training and is hoping for a healthy season in Bowie.

Cody Sedlock has struggled since 2017 but is only 22.  DL Hall is off to a decent start in Delmarva this season and has plenty of room to grow.  There are also several other starting minor league pitchers having great seasons.

Keegan Akin continues to impress in Bowie.  Akin is 6-4 with a 2.73 ERA and has six quality starts in his last nine outings. 

Zac Lowther recently got promoted to High-A Frederick after dominating in Delmarva.  Opponents were hitting .115 against him, and he struck out 51 batters in 31 innings.

Michael Baumann also got bumped up to Frederick and had pitched well in his three starts with the Keys.  He is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts in High-A

Brenan Hanifee started the year in Delmarva after having a successful year in Aberdeen in 2017.  The 20-year-old has completed six innings, or more in six of his nine starts this season.

The Orioles have also been impressed with David Hess.  Hess was great in Norfolk posting a 2-0 record with a 2.12 ERA before being called up.  He has had quality starts in three of his first four major league outings.

Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are both under club control through 2020.  They will undoubtedly lead the Orioles rotation in future years along with Alex Cobb.  There will be plenty of reinforcements on the way that will hopefully make a formidable starting five that can accelerate the O's impending rebuild.