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Cody Sedlock joins “tweener group” struggling to bridge the gap for Orioles

Cody Sedlock joined a long-scrutinized group of pitching prospects filling innings before Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall arrive in Baltimore.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles-Workout Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Sedlock’s major league debut had to generate some feelings of relief. The Orioles top draft choice from 2016 battled injuries and inconsistent play before eventually receiving the call last weekend.

Sedlock allowed five runs in three innings of relief, but the occasion still marked a reason for celebration. Now, with the feel-good story that accompanies any big league debut behind him, the question remains whether the 26-year-old has a future with the organization.

The Orioles optioned Sedlock and recalled Zac Lowther prior to last night’s game against Seattle. The move had little to do with Sedlock’s performance. Baltimore needed a fresh arm and a pitcher that could work multiple innings for a bullpen game after a weekend doubleheader.

It is ironic that the Orioles replaced Sedlock with Lowther. Sedlock’s debut unofficially catapults him into the tweener group of Baltimore pitching prospects that has yet to produce at a successful rate. Sedlock joins Lowther, Mike Baumann, Alexander Wells and Bruce Zimmermann on the 40-man roster.

The Orioles have asked the group to help bridge the gap before top prospects Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall are ready for the bigs. With the two tentatively set to debut this season, Sedlock joins the crew during what should be the end of an era.

Bruce Zimmermann has experienced the most success out of the group, but the lefty’s recent command struggles have left him susceptible to the long ball over the last month. Still, the local kid is the only member of the middle tier prospects that actively holds a spot in the rotation.

Mike Baumann likely possesses the best stuff in the bunch, but a trip to the bullpen did not jump start his career. Baumann has allowed 17 earned runs in 21 big league innings over the last two years and is currently back at Triple-A. Alexander Wells is on the 60-day IL with a Grade 1 UCL strain. Lowther struggled in his return to the majors last night.

The Orioles selected Cody Sedlock with the 27th pick in the 2016 draft. Sedlock suffered elbow and forearm injuries before a successful 2019 season. Covid wiped out the minors in 2020, and Sedlock underwhelmed when play resumed last season.

His numbers have done little to indicate future success at the big league level. He holds a 5.83 ERA and 1.466 WHIP in eight games for Norfolk this year. His WHIP is nearly identical to the numbers he posted at Bowie and Norfolk last season.

The Orioles have been extremely protective with Rodriguez and Hall because they fully expect the duo to match the hype at the major league level. The dreams of Sedlock living up to the hype of a first-round pick are long behind the club.

Baltimore appears to be reaching the final chapter with this group of arms. Rodriguez and Hall are closer than ever, with Grayson all but knocking down the door. Zimmermann has likely reached his peak in the back of the rotation, and Wells will face an uphill battle once healthy.

Baumann could certainly still figure things out in the bullpen, but a spot in the rotation seems less likely by the day. Lowther did a nice job buckling down after a rocky start last night, but his numbers have been brutal at Norfolk this season.

The group had a chance to kickstart the O’s rebuild, but it never happened. Kyle Bradish has already surpassed everyone but Zimmermann, and Bradish possesses by far the biggest ceiling.

Sedlock will need to show something with the Tides to keep his spot on the 40-man roster long term. The Illinois product appears to be a prime candidate for the Norfolk shuttle, but there could be fewer rides available in the second half of the season. Brandon Hyde has professed his hopes for a point where the club has a set five-man rotation, and Mike Elias has said all year that he wants Bradish, Rodriguez and Hall to finish the year with the Orioles.

It seems a bit unfair to lump Sedlock into a group that has struggled with multiple big-league opportunities. Unfortunately for him, but not for O’s fans, Sedlock has less time to prove himself with the Birds looking to leave the dark days behind.