The Orioles have selected the contract of right-hander Spenser Watkins, manager Brandon Hyde announced to reporters Monday (Twitter link via Nathan Ruiz of the Baltimore Sun). Baltimore also recalled right-hander Alexander Wells from Triple-A Norfolk and placed righty Dean Kremer on the 10-day injured list due to an oblique strain. Outfielder DJ Stewart was optioned to Norfolk last night, so Watkins and Wells will fill the vacancies created by that move and by Kremer’s placement on the IL. Baltimore’s 40-man roster had previously been at 39 players, but it’s now full following Watkins’ selection.
This will be the second straight season that the 29-year-old Watkins has logged big league time in Baltimore. The longtime Tigers farmhand made his big league debut in Baltimore last year after signing a minor league deal in the 2020-21 offseason. Watkins had solid numbers in eight Triple-A games (six starts), pitching to a 3.53 ERA with a 20.4% strikeout rate and a 7.5% walk rate in that time.
The big leagues were another story, however. Opponents jumped on him for 49 runs in just 54 2/3 innings — an 8.07 ERA. Watkins started off his big league career with just three runs through his first 16 1/3 innings, and he closed out the 2021 season with a more solid stretch of three runs allowed in his final 7 2/3 frames. The middle stretch of games proved brutal, however, as he served up 43 runs in 31 innings over seven starts and one relief appearance. Watkins has a 3.86 ERA in 625 1/3 innings at the minor league level, and he’ll now aim to carry some of that success over in his second go-around in the Majors.
As for the 25-year-old Wells, he signed with the O’s as an international free agent out of Australia back in 2015. He, too, made his MLB debut in Baltimore last season and experienced a rough set of results, serving up 32 runs in 42 2/3 innings (6.75 ERA). As with Watkins, Wells has considerably better numbers in the minors, where he’s pitched to a 2.87 ERA in 529 2/3 innings. That includes a 3.29 ERA in 54 2/3 Triple-A frames last year. Wells has punched out just 19.6% of his minor league opponents in his career, but he also boasts an outstanding 3.9% walk rate.