It seems like the promotion of right-handed pitcher Mychal Givens got lost in the shuffle a bit last week, especially since the 25-year-old is still yet to make an appearance for the Orioles. However, the rate at which Givens has succeeded on the mound is something that should be noted. Plus, he spells the name "Michael" with a "Y". That's pretty freakin' cool.
As you likely know by now, Givens was expected to make waves in Baltimore's system with his bat, not his arm. He was selected in the second round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft as a shortstop out of H. B. Plant High School in Tampa.
However, over 362 minor league at-bats, including stints in Aberdeen, the Gulf Coast, Delmarva, Frederick and Perth (he spent some time in Australia after the 2011 season), Givens was slashing .263/.342/.343 with 156 strikeouts, 97 walks, 11 home runs and 102 RBI.
Those numbers at the plate, while unimpressive, were not unsightly; Givens' play in the field was. Even still, as a pitcher, Givens is a bit of a mess in the field. His career fielding percentage in the minors is .942. It was clear that the former highly-thought of prospect was at risk of becoming nothing more than the dreaded "organizational player."
Prior to the 2013 season, Givens made a change, and went from taking batting practice to throwing bullpens; a decision that has paid off in a big way.
To get a more in-depth understanding of the work Givens has put in and to read some encouraging quotes, check out a story that MASN's Steve Melewski did about a week ago. It's full of good stuff.
Long story short, Givens recovered from a rocky start as a pitcher to being absolutely lights out so far in 2015. He has lowered his ERA from 4.22 in his first season on the mound to just 1.60 through 23 appearances, leading to 12 saves, 54 strikeouts and 11 walks over 39.1 innings. No longer does it seem that Givens has the control issues that plagued him in the early goings of his professional pitching career.
He has done it all with a motion that is somewhere between sidearm and submarine. The video below gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from him should he ever emerge from the 'pen.
It's a bit of a vicious movement, but he has seemed to have found his sweet spot. Not to mention, he gets it up to 95 MPH from that arm slot. That is almost unfair. Most pitchers who deliver from below the belt sit in the mid to high 80's. Givens could be a special one.
I will steal a quick excerpt from Melewski's piece here: