The MLB draft brings a level of excitement to every team’s fan base. This year, Yankees and Red Sox fans hope the rich will get richer. Tampa Bay supporters suggest two-way players could become more common. And Orioles fans, well, they see a new group of players that haven’t let them down yet.
Fans of every team can’t help but feel a new sense of optimism for a group of young players that have glowing reviews. But draft day also highlights success stories from previous draft classes, and prospects that are exceeding expectations. Grayson Rodriguez and Cadyn Grenier can’t help the Orioles this year, so what can Orioles fans be optimistic about for the remainder of this season? Aside from the few bright spots in Baltimore, here’s a few guys that fans can expect a little more out of this year.
Alex Cobb is a good starting pitcher. He has to be. He just has to be. I can’t handle another Ubaldo Jimenez story line. But aside from my desperation, there are legitimate reasons to be optimistic about Cobb. Let’s take a look at last night’s line. Cobb allowed only two hits and one run in six innings. The righty struck out seven, and walked only one batter in his 99 pitch performance.
Yes, the Mets have been struggling. But that’s three modestly successful starts out of the last four for Cobb. He worked seven strong innings in his last outing against Washington, and picked up a win May 18 in Boston. Signed through 2021, Orioles fans can hold out hope that Cobb will eventually come close to his 3.70 career ERA.
Orioles Young Catchers
Viewers in Baltimore should enjoy watching Chance Sisco develop. The rookie has had an up and down year so far, but he’s flashed enough potential to keep fans engaged. Sisco has the inside path to being the catcher of the future in Baltimore, without the lofty expectations that were bestowed upon Matt Wieters years ago. There’s no reason to think that he can’t blossom into a legitimate major league backstop
Those tuned into last night’s victory against the Mets, also witnessed a milestone for another young catcher. Austin Wynns picked up his first major league hit with a single to left field in the second inning. At 27, Wynns is older than the average prospect at his MLB debut, but the San Diego native has shown signs that he’s finally ready to contribute for the Orioles.
Wynns has been lauded as a plus defender, and might just have enough in his bat to stick around as the backup in Baltimore. Tyler Young provided a more in-depth scouting report on Wynns earlier this week.
Closer Brad Brach is in the last year of his contract, and very likely could be moved to a team looking to add additional late inning relief. If so, Mychal Givens may finally have the opportunity to showcase his closing ability.
Givens has struggled a bit this year, with his ERA sitting just over 4.00 in 24 games. But few mid-late inning relievers can compete with Givens’ stats over the last few years. Dating back to 2015, the righty holds a 2.93 career ERA and an 18-4 record in relief. The numbers suggest a return to the mean for Givens, and a promotion into the closer role may be what pushes him over the edge.
Please just hit over .200. Please.
Trade Deadline and Prospects
With the July 31 trade deadline circled as the next major event in Baltimore, several Orioles could be on the move. While losing some of the team’s top talent is hardly an exciting concept, the crop of prospects and young players the Orioles may gain shares a similar sense of optimism as the draft.
Barring the greatest front office blunder in recent memory, Manny Machado will be on the move. While he may not fetch some of the outlandish offers that Orioles fans have hoped for, a player of his caliber will deliver a sizable return. Brad Brach should be an attractive piece after converting 9-out-of-10 save opportunities, and a few other Birds may be on the move.
Zach Britton should be back in Baltimore by the end of June, and will have a chance to reestablish himself after a plethora of injuries. Teams haven’t forgotten how effective that bowling ball of a sinker has been in years past.
The Orioles also have a group of prospects that could make their debut in Baltimore before the season’s end. Last week, Joe Wedra listed a few players that could get the call, including Ryan Mountcastle and DJ Stewart.
It’s been that kind of year, right? Jonathan Schoop’s numbers are down, and Trey Mancini has entered the sophomore slump. It’s unreasonable to expect every Oriole to improve this season, but there are several candidates to heat up in the second half.
It’s not easy being an Orioles fan right now. The draft provided a much needed distraction, and a matchup with the struggling Mets hasn’t hurt either. But fans can still be optimistic that a few players will improve as the season goes on.