The Orioles announced that they have released minor league right-hander Andrew Triggs in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for the newly signed Pedro Alvarez, whose one-year deal is now official. As MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko points out (links to Twitter), players can’t be designated for assignment this early in Spring Training, so the O’s will likely try to re-sign Triggs on a minor league deal. Baltimore took the same approach with lefty Chris Jones two springs ago after signing Nelson Cruz.
Triggs, a relief prospect that will turn 27 next week, was acquired by the Orioles from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations last April. The former 19th-round pick posted a strong 2.90 ERA and very briefly reached Triple-A in his final full season with the Royals organization (2014), but his previously strong K/9 rate plummeted to 5.5. Triggs experienced a huge rebound in that department in 2015, recording not only a 1.03 ERA in 61 innings at the Double-A level but also posting excellent averages of 10.3 strikeouts and 1.6 walks per nine innings. Per MLBfarm.com, Triggs also posted a gaudy 61.15 percent ground-ball rate last season. Of course, Triggs was pitching at the Double-A level for the second full season and was older than the average competition that he was facing, so one would expect fairly successful numbers.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo recently rated Triggs as the 28th-best prospect in a weak Orioles farm system, noting that his sidearm delivery created deception on a 90-94 mph fastball. Paired with a sweeping slider for which he has good feel, that helps Triggs exhibit mastery over right-handed batters. Indeed, while his work against lefties was impressive (lefties hit just .218/.295/.244 against Triggs in 2015), opposing right-handers experienced even more futility, hitting just .184/.234/.206 against Triggs. MLB.com’s scouting report notes that despite a lack of experience at the Triple-A level, Triggs shouldn’t require much more minor league time before he’s ready for a look in the Majors.