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Mixed bag from young pitchers acquired last summer by the Orioles

The Orioles swung a bunch of big deals leading up to the July 31 trade deadline last year that included a lot of young pitchers, most of whom are currently pitching in the minors.

Baltimore Orioles v Chicago White Sox - Game Two Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As we look to the minor leagues for signs of hope in tough times like these, we’re reminded of last year’s midseason roster purge. The Orioles got a lot of quantity in a handful of deals, but what about the quality? Some of these players finished last year in the Orioles’ farm system and some finished with the big league club. So how are they doing so far this year?

Now is as good a time as ever to catch up with the pitchers who were acquired last summer. But before we get started, note that we will only be discussing pitchers — not position players — and the pitchers will be grouped below according to the trade they were involved in.

Schoop trade with the Brewers

Burly right-handed starter Luis Ortiz is not having the kind of season the Orioles expected after acquiring him from the Brewers last summer. After an unfortunate 2.1 innings with the big league club at the tail end of last year that saw Ortiz post a 15.43 ERA, his poor stretch of pitching has continued in the minors into 2019.

He’s got a 7.01 ERA in 11 starts (52.2 innings pitched), 23:41 BB/SO, 14 home runs allowed, .293 BAA and 1.63 WHIP. He’s already passed last year’s number of home runs allowed, which was 11 in 99.2 total minor league innings, including stops at Double-A with the Brewers and Triple-A with the O’s.

Gausman trade with the Braves

It’s been a good season so far for Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann, who was originally drafted in the fifth round in 2017 by the Braves. He’s got 11 starts under his belt this season with the Baysox, averaging a bit over five innings each time out (59.2 innings total). The left-hander’s ERA stands at 2.87 to go along with a 1.22 WHIP, .225 BAA and 22:61 BB/SO.

Reliever Evan Phillips has been an active member of the Norfolk shuttle, having been recalled four times so far this season with the most recent being June 8. He currently resides on the 25-man roster. The righty has actually thrown more innings in the majors than the minors this year, 15.2 to 10.2.

In Triple-A, his ERA is below one, opponents are hitting .111 against him and he’s got a 0.66 WHIP. With the O’s, he’s got a 7.47 ERA and his WHIP is approaching two (1.98). Also troubling is the number of walks he’s allowed compared to strikeouts in the majors: 14 versus 21, good for a 1.5 K/BB.

Britton trade with the Yankees

Right-handed reliever Cody Carroll has not pitched yet in 2019 because he’s still recovering from a back injury he sustained in spring training. Carroll threw 17 innings at the end of last season for the O’s after being acquired on July 24, 2018. But he had a 9.00 ERA while striking out 16 batters and walking 13.

Dillon Tate, considered by many to be the center piece of this trade (who also happens to be a former first round pick) has spent the majority of his minor league career as a starter. That was his role when the Orioles acquired him last summer from the Yankees and it continued to be at the outset of this season. But he is now being converted from a starter to a reliever.

In two starts with Bowie this year, he went 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA and 2.10 WHIP. But he has fared much better as a reliever since then. In five appearances out of the Baysox’s bullpen, Tate has a 1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and .189 BAA. On one hand it is somewhat disappointing to see him removed from a starter’s role. But on the other hand, if he can pivot and establish himself as a quality reliever in the majors, then at least some value is salvaged from the trade in that regard.

Young lefty Josh Rogers is having a forgettable 2018 with the Norfolk Tides. in 11 starts, he is carrying an 8.51 ERA, 1.75 WHIP and .357 BAA. Opponents have managed 86 hits in just 55 innings. He’s made one appearance with the Orioles this year, when he allowed five runs in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen. It was expected that Rogers would be one of the first arms up from the minors this season in the event of rotation assistance. But his performance has not made that a desirable option yet.

Machado trade with the Dodgers

Reliever Zach Pop last pitched on April 30, but his season is officially over now. He underwent Tommy John surgery last month. Before having the procedure, the 22-year-old reliever was dominating the Eastern League. In 10.2 innings, he had a 0.84 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.

Strikeout artist Dean Kremer’s start to the 2019 season was delayed due to an oblique injury. But he’s healthy now and starting to round back into form. First he had a couple starts at Single-A Frederick where he spun 9.2 total scoreless innings. Now he resides at Double-A Bowie, where he has a 4.76 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in four starts.

Between those two levels he’s averaging a bit over a strikeout an inning (35 SO in 32.1 IP) with a 3.34 ERA in total. He threw a gem his most recent time to the mound, shutting out the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for seven innings, allowing four hits and one walk along with eight strikeouts. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes the jump to the majors sometime this year.