The Orioles have dealt relief pitcher Mychal Givens to the Rockies, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Along with Tommy Milone, Givens is the second key pitcher the Orioles have traded away today. In return, the Orioles will receive Tyler Nevin, Terrin Vavra, and a player to be named later, as first reported by Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
Givens has returned to the setup role after struggling as Baltimore’s closer for much of last season, converting just 11 of 19 save opportunities. 2019 was clearly Givens’s worst season since debuting in 2015, but this year he’s once again showing the form that allowed him to excel as Zack Britton’s right-hand man just a few years ago.
Through his first 13 innings of work this year, Givens is sporting a 1.38 ERA and an even 1.00 WHIP, which is supported by career-best strikeout numbers and a 3.17 K:BB ratio. His strikeout rate has climbed up to 38%, and while his walk numbers are up slightly from years’ past, it’s not enough to induce panic. Opponents’ batted-ball results are much improved over last year, aligning more closely with Givens’s 2017 season, when he was at his best. Givens relies heavily on a four-seam fastball that sits right around 95 mph, also utilizing a mid-80s slider and a changeup.
By acquiring Givens, the Rockies hope to strengthen a bullpen that is currently producing to the tune of a 5.81 ERA, the third-worst in all of baseball. For what it’s worth, that number is quite a bit higher than the unit’s 4.22 FIP, which is roughly middle-of-the-pack, but the fact is that the Colorado ’pen has not done well to prevent runs this year. With Scott Oberg out for the year and Wade Davis on the injured list, it’s a thin unit that has had to rely on inexperienced arms like Yency Almonte, Carlos Estevez, and Jairo Diaz.
At first blush, it looks like a pretty solid haul for the O’s in exchange for their top reliever. In Vavra and Nevin—two 23-year-olds—Baltimore is getting the Rockies’ No. 7 and No. 14 ranked prospects, respectively (courtesy of MLB Pipeline). Nevin is strictly limited to corner positions (experimenting with the outfield last year after beginning his career at third base), and is a bat-first player with solid plate discipline and the ability to make hard contact to all fields. His 13 home runs at Double-A last year tied a career high.
Vavra, meanwhile, was the Rockies’ third-round draft choice in 2018, and projects as a middle-infield type, with second base perhaps his best fit at the Major League level. He’s likewise known for his bat, a line-drive hitter with advanced bat-to-ball skills who walked as often as he struck out last year. A switch-hitter, his hitting talent has been on display in the year and a half since he was drafted, though he’s only reached as high as A-ball.