Easily the best moment of Tyler Nevin’s 2022 season came in an early July series in Baltimore. With the Los Angeles Angels in town, Tyler got to face off against his father Phil Nevin, the Angels’ interim manager. In the last game of the series, the two even exchanged lineup cards before the game. Baseball in many ways is a sport shared between father and son, and yet so rare are those moments shared at the MLB level—let alone a father getting to coach against his son.
Today's lineups presented by the Nevin family pic.twitter.com/RecNjV0GYq— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 9, 2022
The truth surrounding the rest of Tyler Nevin’s season was a little less inspiring. After making his major league debut in May 2021 and getting a few starts in the last series of the ‘21 season, 2022 marked Tyler’s first extended stretch of big league baseball. At first, there were signs of promise from the second generation of big-league Nevins. After getting called up at the end of April, Tyler put up solid numbers in May. His .250/.339/.321 triple slash over 17 games didn’t blow anyone out of the water, but it showed he could hang with big-league pitchers.
Around the time Adley Rutschman made his debut for Baltimore, Nevin was optioned back to Triple-A, but returned to the Orioles at the beginning of June. With normal starting third baseman Ramón Urías on the IL, Nevin was the largely uncontested starter at the hot corner throughout June and July. However, the production rarely matched that everyday starter status.
Sure, Nevin was capable of running into one every now and then. His three-run home run against the Royals on June 11th proved to be the game-winning hit that afternoon. He had another two-RBI showing in a 10-2 Orioles’ June victory in Toronto. However, those were two of only three games where Nevin posted multiple RBIs.
Throughout his time as a regular starter in June and July, Nevin hit .190 with only a .253 slugging percentage. Across those 31 games, the third baseman posted 15 hits—and only three extra-base hits—while striking out 26 times. Nevin did show good plate discipline, walking 13 times to post a respectable .313 on-base percentage.
However, come the All-Star break, the writing was on the wall that Nevin would not be the regular starting third baseman for much longer. Urías returned from the IL in early July, and—after bouncing between 2B and 3B—Ramon returned to being the everyday man at the hot corner at the beginning of August. Nevin stuck on the roster after being demoted to bench duty but was eventually sent down to Norfolk on August 31st.
Despite returning for a couple of appearances in the last week of the season, the story of Nevin’s season was seemingly already written at the time of his demotion. The Orioles originally acquired him from the Rockies in the Mychal Givens trade (along with Terrin Vavra). The fact that Nevin was able to stick on a big-league roster for an extended period of time less than two years after that trade speaks to his development and hard work. However, so far he seems to fit more with the quality of players the Orioles featured regularly from 2017-2021.
The good news with Nevin is he is still young, having turned 25 during the 2022 season. Birdland only needs to look at the development path Cedric Mullins traveled to be reminded that sometimes young players need to take a step back before taking a step forward.
The bad news is that at-bats at third base are only going to get harder and harder to come by going forward. The presence of GUNNAR HENDERSON and the outstanding defense of Urías means the Orioles are not light on quality players at the hot corner. In all likelihood, Nevin will start the 2023 season down at Norfolk waiting for the opportunity to come back to Baltimore.
Much of what Nevin showed in 2022 was just the ability to be a mediocre major league player. That’s valuable to have in the system in case of injury, but probably not enough to warrant a 26-man roster spot given the Orioles’ current trajectory.
That being said, Nevin did show some skills that could signal better things to come. He has crushed changeups early in his career and has been an above-average hitter against sliders. He was also a much better hitter against lefties in 2022—an area where the rest of the Orioles roster was relatively weak. If Nevin can make those strengths even stronger—and round out some of his weaknesses—his future in Baltimore may be brighter than his 2022 season showed.
Tomorrow: Nick Vespi/Logan Gillaspie