The Orioles headed into the winter intent on adding a pair of veterans to the rotation, and while there was a substantial layoff between their first and second additions, with Kyle Gibson signing a one-year deal back on Dec. 5 and Cole Irvin not joining the staff until last Friday’s trade. That gives the O’s a pair of veterans who are plenty capable of eating up innings while still also leaving a fairly wide-open window for several younger arms to pitch their way into the team’s plans.
In all likelihood, the Orioles will wind up using ten or more starters over the course of the season. It’s commonplace for teams to cycle through far more than the five (or six) members of the Opening Day rotation — particularly younger teams like Baltimore, where the rotation will be composed primarily of yet-unproven starters and/or prospects whose workloads will be handled with care.
Kyle Gibson, RHP: Whether by design or by happenstance, the decision to bring in Gibson over 2022 staff innings leader Jordan Lyles wound up being a cost-neutral gambit, which will lead to inevitable comparisons between the two. The Orioles bought Lyles’ $11MM club option out for $1MM, then turned around and invested the exact same $10MM they saved into a one-year deal with Gibson.
The 35-year-old Gibson, like Lyles, is a workhorse by today’s standards. He’s averaged 29.875 starts per 162-game season, dating back to 2014, and made a full slate of 12 starts in the shortened 2020 season. He has a below-average strikeout rate with solid command and above-average ground-ball tendencies. The O’s are going to count on him for 30-plus starts and 160-plus innings, although if they’re not in contention when the trade deadline rolls around, it’s easy to see them putting Gibson on the market.
Cole Irvin, LHP: For the second time in as many weeks, I’m listing Irvin as a “lock” in a team’s rotation while profiling their various options on the back end of the staff. As noted on that rundown of the A’s rotation, there was always a chance that Irvin could be moved, though a midseason deal felt likelier. The O’s instead jumped to add Irvin as a durable source of innings.
Over the past two seasons, he’s made 62 starts of 4.11 ERA ball with a well below-average 16.8% strikeout rate but a superb 5.2% walk rate as a member of Oakland’s rotation. That’ll be the type of production they’re looking for not just this year but for the next several seasons. Irvin is controlled for another four years and won’t even be arbitration-eligible until next offseason.
There’s some risk in acquiring Irvin, who’s had far more success at the spacious Oakland Coliseum than on the road. Dating back to Opening Day 2021, the lefty owns a 3.44 ERA pitching in Oakland, where opponents have batted just .243/.288/.355 against him in nearly 800 plate appearances. In that same timeframe, Irvin’s road ERA is a more alarming 4.88, and opponents have pounced on him for a .285/.330/.491 slash. The O’s recently made their left field dimensions quite a bit more pitcher-friendly, but Irvin will still be facing some righty-heavy lineups within the AL East.
Pitchers who made 15+ starts in 2022
Dean Kremer, RHP: Kremer, 27, finished second on the Orioles with 125 1/3 innings pitched and notched a tidy 3.23 ERA last season despite a tepid 17% strikeout rate. Kremer, acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, doesn’t miss bats or keep the ball on the ground, but he has a better-than-average walk rate. Any regression in his 0.79 HR/9 mark or his 77.8% left-on-base rate — he entered the season at 2.12 and 65.1%, respectively — could spike his ERA closer to his 4.54 SIERA. That said, Kremer at least looks the part of a back-of-the-rotation arm. And, now that he’s poised to take on a larger workload, he should at least be a decent source of average-ish innings.
Kyle Bradish, RHP: One of four minor leaguers acquired in the trade sending Dylan Bundy to the Angels, Bradish ranked third on the 2022 O’s with 117 2/3 innings pitched. He missed more bats and generated more grounders than Kremer but was also more prone to both walks and home runs. Bradish’s 4.90 ERA isn’t much to look at, but while fielding-independent metrics feel Kremer had some good fortune in ’22, the opposite is true of Bradish, whose FIP, SIERA, etc. are all quite a bit lower than his earned run average. Both pitchers seem capable of turning in an ERA in the low- or mid-4.00s over 150-plus innings.
Spenser Watkins, RHP: A former 30th-round pick by the Tigers, Watkins signed with the O’s as a minor league free agent in Jan. 2021 and debuted as a 29-year-old rookie later that season. He tallied 105 1/3 innings for the 2022 Orioles, posting a 4.70 ERA along the way. Among the 156 pitchers with at least 150 innings thrown since 2021, no one has posted a lower strikeout rate than Watkins’ 13.7%. His 7.9% swinging-strike rate is fifth-lowest among that group. Watkins has good command and has posted solid numbers in Triple-A over the past two seasons, but he feels like more of a depth option based on his big league work to date.
Tyler Wells, RHP: Baltimore’s most effective starter for much of the 2022 season, Wells carried a 3.09 ERA through his first 16 starts but needed a .225 average on balls in play to get there. That minimal BABIP and a 16.7% strikeout rate made the ERA look fairly dubious, and Wells indeed struggled mightily over his final few starts of the season. It should be noted that he missed more than a month due to a side injury and landed back on the shelf due to shoulder trouble to close out the year, but he nonetheless yielded a 7.39 ERA over his final 28 innings (seven starts). None of Wells, Kremer or Bradish miss bats at a particularly high level, nor do they possess elite command or ground-ball tendencies. They each have some appealing traits, however, and any of this trio could be a viable fourth/fifth starter.
Austin Voth, RHP: Continuing on that trend, Voth is another fly-ball pitcher with passable but not eye-catching strikeout and walk numbers. Claimed off waivers from the Nationals in early June, Voth made 17 starts and five relief appearances, pitching to a 3.04 ERA in that time. He’s not going to keep stranding 82% of the baserunners he allows — that’s 10 percentage points above the league average and above Voth’s career mark prior to 2022 — but he has the makings of a back-end starter, as he’s shown on occasion with the Nats in the past. Voth is out of minor league options, so he’s going to be on the roster either as a starter or as a swingman.
The Top Prospects
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP: The arm on which so many Orioles fans are pinning their hopes, the 23-year-old Rodriguez might have already made his big league debut were it not for a lat strain that sidelined him for half the 2022 season. Rodriguez, selected with the No. 11 pick of the 2018 draft, ranks among the sport’s top 15 overall prospects at each of Baseball America (6), MLB.com (7), ESPN (12) and The Athletic (15). A 6’5″, 220-pound righty armed with a four-pitch mix that’s headlined by an upper-90s heater and elite changeup, Rodriguez has genuine front-of-the-rotation potential.
Rodriguez is regarded as one of the sport’s five best pitching prospects, and now that the new CBA actually reward teams for promoting prospects via potential draft compensation based on Rookie of the Year voting, Rodriguez will have a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day rotation. The O’s may want to be cautious, as that lat strain limited him to just 75 2/3 innings in 2022 and a jump to a full season of MLB starts would probably more than double that total. Rodriguez might be the organization’s best starter right now, even though he hasn’t made his MLB debut. He posted a combined 2.62 ERA across three minor league levels and did so with a mammoth 36.6% strikeout rate against a 9.3% walk rate. He’s going to make his MLB debut in 2023 — it’s just a matter of when.
DL Hall, LHP: Unlike Rodriguez, Hall has already made his debut at the MLB level, although it didn’t go as the team had hoped. The former No. 21 overall pick pitched in 11 games — 10 of them relief appearances — but was tagged for nine runs on 17 hits and six walks. The resulting 5.93 ERA wasn’t particularly encouraging, but Hall fanned 19 opponents (29.7%) and issued walks at a lower clip in the Majors than he had in Triple-A (9.4% versus 14.2%).
Command issues have long been the primary flaw scouts see in Hall — a 6’2″ lefty with a heater that averaged 96.4 mph during that MLB debut and multiple plus or better secondary pitches. Baseball America pegs Hall’s fastball as an 80 on the 20-80 scale, while also crediting him with a plus-plus slider, a plus curve and a plus changeup. Unfortunately, all of that is accompanied by well below-average command. Hall has walked 13.4% of his opponents in the minors, and in his 18 minor league starts this past season, he completed six innings just once. Some of that is the Orioles being cautious with an arm they hold in high regard, but Hall averaged 75 pitches per outing despite averaging under four innings per start. Certainly, he could stand to be more efficient.
Last year’s 98 innings were a career-high for Hall, who’s also missed ample time due to injury in his pro career. Between the lack of innings and the shaky command, many scouting reports feel he’s likelier to be a dynamic reliever than a starter, but the O’s will likely give him some considerable leash as a starter because the ceiling is so high.
Other options on the 40-man
Mike Baumann, RHP: The 27-year-old Baumann was one of the organization’s best pitching prospects as recently as two years ago, but a flexor strain cost him time and he hasn’t topped 100 innings in either of the past two seasons. The O’s have begun working Baumann out of the bullpen more frequently, and given the number of rotation options the organization has, that could be a better path to the big leagues for him. There’s benefit to keeping him stretched out as a starter, of course, but Baumann made just 13 starts to 20 relief appearances last year.
Bruce Zimmermann, LHP: A local product the O’s acquired in the trade that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Braves back in 2018, Zimmermann has pitched in parts of three seasons for the O’s but never posted an ERA south of 5.00. In 145 MLB frames, he carries a 5.69 ERA (5.78 FIP, 4.43 SIERA) with a low 17.6% strikeout rate but a strong 5.7% walk rate. Zimmermann has averaged just 91.3 mph on his heater, and opponents have teed off on both that pitch and his changeup, clubbing an average of 2.23 homers per nine innings against the southpaw. Zimmermann still has a pair of option years remaining and has been good in Triple-A over the past two seasons, but he needs to find a way to curtail his issues with the long ball.
Drew Rom, LHP: The O’s selected Rom to the 40-man roster back in November to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. The 2018 fourth-rounder split the 2022 season between Double-A and Triple-A, logging a combined 4.43 ERA with a 27.1% strikeout rate, 8.9% walk rate and solid ground-ball tendencies. He’s not an overpowering lefty, but he’s pretty close to big league ready and the O’s clearly felt he’d have been poached in the Rule 5 had he gone unprotected. There are a lot of candidates for innings in Baltimore, but he’ll be in the mix to debut this year.
Recovering from injury
John Means, LHP: Baltimore’s best starter from 2019-21, Means logged a 3.73 ERA in 345 1/3 innings during that time and was named the Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2022. He made just two starts last year before an elbow injury shelved him, however, and Means underwent Tommy John surgery in late April. That’ll take him out of the equation early in the year, but the O’s can hope for Means to return at some point over the summer. He only has two years of club control remaining.
As things stand, the Orioles have two veteran locks (Gibson, Irvin), a series of righties who achieved solid results despite middling K/BB and batted-ball profiles in 2022 (Kremer, Bradish, Wells, Voth) and a pair electric prospects (Rodriguez, Hall) — the former of which is arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball.
It’s a promising group, but the O’s will need to convert on Rodriguez and either see Hall improve his command or another young arm (e.g. Cade Povich) take a pronounced step forward in 2023. Baltimore’s system is rife with high-end bats but less stocked with arms. A rotation featuring Rodriguez (assuming he hits the ground running) and a host of No. 4 types is enough to compete, but it’s still a bit surprising that the team didn’t land a higher-profile arm this winter in an effort to bolster the starting staff. Perhaps the O’s are confident that an incumbent arm is on the cusp of a breakout, but right now Baltimore’s lineup looks more formidable than its rotation.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Detroit will use more starters than they ever put into their automobiles…
Motor City Beach Bum
Laws of averages say the Tigers don’t get hit as hard this year. I think their starting 5 will all have good years and Lorenzen and Rodriguez get shipped off for prospects at the trade deadline….maybe Manning too in the right trade. I think Boyd re-ups and stays and Skubal comes back strong mid- year and Wentz steps up.
Calling Michael Wacha now. 2 years with an option sounds about right. Make it happen O’s.
O’s aren’t signing Wacha. Not unless there’s an injury or they trade someone currently in the rotation. IF they upgrade, it’ll be through a trade.
After seeing this rotation in Baltimore, it gives me hope that Boston won’t finish in last place again in the AL East this year. I’d much rather have Boston’s starting rotation than Baltimore’s right now. Even if Gray-Rod becomes a #1, they really have nothing behind him unless someone like Hall happens to hatch or Means comes back earlier than expected and pitches lights out. Baltimore is going to need its offense to be firing on all cylinders in order to make a playoff run this season. They really should have signed someone like Rodon this offseason.
Until you watch Kremer/Bradish/Irvin out pitch bloom’s guys again.
If Sales is healthy, sure. If not…
deGrom Texas Ranger
That Bundy deal was quite a killer trade that helped Baltimore significantly. Even looking back, that deal seems to have made no sense.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Sad nobody got that Ted Bundy reference (again) unless I am mistaken
C Yards Jeff
When this trade was done, Os FO was all about salary dumping. Dylan was an arb guy, priority here was cutting salary? Dolt! It’s 2023, and of the 4 pitchers the O’s got in return, 3 are still in the system. Kudos Mike Elias, kudos!
Degrom is an absolute idiot.
They are really counting on Grayson and or DL to make a huge jump this year. Liked the move for Irvin, but scary to think that he could be their opening day starter. Not ideal
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
1st paragraph under DL Hall: “Rodriguez fanned 19 opponents…” Should say Hall.
DL’s name was considered offensive and thus has been changed to IL Hall
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
BABIP BABIP BABIP. Quoting BABIP without exit velo is so insanely illogical. The stat means NOTHING whatsoever If you don’t back it up with other statistics. As a stat in itself it simply tells nothing. People who are good are gonna typically have low babip unless they rely mostly on strikeouts. If a guy doesn’t rely on strikeouts and they are good they are almost always gonna have a low babip or how else would they succeed?
he things people argue about every time in these message boards are at root the same as the debates going on in philosophy,science, and across all subjects. The problem is people side with what they see as rational but fail to carry through with reason, instead they dogmatically learn a few stats/ideas and apply them across the board and out of context.
They could succeed with a great strand rate but that is much more luck typically than BABIP.
I think you’re missing the point. The reason BABIP is mentioned is because no pitcher in recent memory (if ever) has sustained a BABIP figure similar to the ones listed regardless of average EV. You also neglected to take the effects of defensive positioning into account, and shift limitations should raise BABIP leaguewide (though only by a couple points) thus hurting the O’s and their staff of pitch-to-contact pitchers.
Of the first seven pitchers listed in the article, only Austin Voth and Tyler Wells were above average in two of Avg EV, Barrel%, Hard Hit%, xSLG, and xBA. Everybody else either was above average in one or none of those stats. Nobody had a single rating above 59th percentile in those five categories either.
There’s a reason Baltimore has had a tepid offseason thus far. Everyone in the front office has at least a basic understanding of statistical regression and know the team likely won’t have a 95th percentile year like 2022. Although Baltimore fans won’t like to admit it, 2023 will be an evaluation year for the Kremers and Wells of the world to prove they belong on an O’s team that can realistically compete for a WS in 2024 and beyond.
Too simplistic analysis on the shift. O’s mainly employ fly ball pitchers so they won’t be impacted greatly by the shift.
Less so than other teams. Kremer looks like a regression candidate but I believe Bradish is due for a large improvement. Throw in G-Rod and we’ll see what we change up with Irvin and Gibson. Wouldn’t surprise me to see the O’s vastly outperform the output most people expect from this rotation.
I’d say your analysis is even more simplistic. Hitters have tendencies too and infielders will always shift towards hard contact regardless of a pitcher’s tendencies. You also completely ignores that I said leaguewide BABIP would only be up a couple points, Less playing time for Jorge Mateo and his shifting to the right side of the infield will definitely harm the team’s defense (more thank most would think) when less defensively-inclined prospects get called up as well.
Anyway, I’d bet heavily against a group of flyball pitchers in the AL East who don’t have strikeout stuff and severely overperformed in 2022. Gibson is a groundball pitcher and Irvin gets hit hard, they’re just employed to eat innings for a non-competitive club. Grayson Rodriguez is the only starting pitching prospect with big league proximity in the O’s system (Hall isn’t a starter)
Well, doesn’t do any good to debate it further.
We’ll see what happens on the field.
& if it’s Joey Ortiz taking innings from Mateo—you’re replacing really good with really good D. Probable offensive boost to go along with that.
That’s all I’ll add there.
A lot of reasons here for O’s fans to manage expectations in ’23. Their coaching staff coaxed plenty of quality innings out previously unsuccessful pitchers last season. But so far, no team has found a way to consistently win without talented pitchers.
They should use G Rod as an opener to start the season to keep his innings down
the orioles seem to have enough to win 85 to 88 games. enough for a wild card.i believe they are still a year away from world series .i do like the patience they are showing.i wish my yanks could do the same thing.my yanks will live in pergatory forever ,always making the playoffs,but never the world series.if my yanks cant get it, then i hope baltimore does maybe stienbrenner and cashman will learn something.
Curious to see how it shakes out!
The fact that they settled pretty high with Voth in arbitration implies, to me, that he’s a relative rotation lock.
Joe It All
I’d like to see Drew Rom make the big club sometime this year. He is a Northern Kentucky kid who went to the same high school as “The Hefty Lefty” Jared Lorenzen of UK football and New York Giants fame.
Bradish first half (pre-demotion): 46 IP, 7.4 ERA, 2.1 HR/9; second half (post-demotion), 71 IP, 3.3 ERA, 0.8 HR/9
Astros Hot Takes
Bradish against the Astros : Cy Young
Wow. Way to take the wind out of orioles fans sail w this article ! They have no chance w this pitching staff. Not even if they get 300+ innings w hall and Rodriguez
When evaluating pitchers on a major league staff and how that relates to the team winning in the coming season, here are the quick things I look for….
1. The style of game the team plays. Are they big run producers? Play small ball? String hits togethers? Steal bases? Hit and run? In short – in the majority of games are they going to do well scoring runs no matter what park or weather they play in.
2. The coaching staff. Do the pitching coaches get more out of their pitchers then predicted, or do they go in circles trying this and that and only succeed in improving 3-4 guys on the 13 man roster?
3. The catchers. Are they helping the pitchers? Messing them up? Fighting with them? When partnering in the game are they in sync with what the coaching staff and manager have been working with the pitcher on?
4. The defense. Is it strong up the middle? Is the rest of the D strong? Do defenders make plays that need to be made – particularly DP’s? When balls are it to the OF and fall in safely are the defenders lined up properly and throwing to the right base?
5. The home park they play in. The dimensions – how big/small is the OF and the foul territory. Outdoor? Indoor? Both? If outdoor what area of the country – are there lots of postponements and/or freezing weather to pitch in?
6. How the manager manages the game and the staff using analytics provided by the FO. Does he handle the bullpen guys well? Is the bullpen good? How far does he want the starting pitcher to go? Will he manage in a way to try to keep as many pitchers fresh for coming games (looking at the analytics each game for the pitchers available), or will he tend to overuse pitchers in games?
The object is to win games. Not pad individual statistics. Manages will use pitchers in situations that fans arn’t aware of – are they working him through an injury, trying to fix a part of his game?
The Orioles really needed a true ace this off-season. Easier said than done, and throwing nearly $200 million at Carlos Rodon for instance probably wouldn’t have been a responsible move, but it’s still their one glaring need. Even a Jameson Taillon signing would have been a lot better than adding Gibson and Irvin. I don’t see the Orioles making the playoffs with their current rotation.
If only the Orioles could grab 2 pitchers from the Mariners for a couple of bats….seems like a no brainer just as a Marlins and Dbacks trade seems like a no brainer….
usafcop — That’s exactly what I thought was going to happen in this off-season; Orioles and Marlins making a prospect swap.
I think it might still happen during ST, maybe both teams wanted to see how the players look in the first few weeks of ST.
It seems so obvious that BAL and FLA have excesses of what the other team has deficits in.
I don’t know how the Orioles get a #1/2 type pitcher w/o a trade. (Cause I don’t see them signing a deGrom type)
“Baltimore’s lineup will be more formidable than its rotation.” Well, I guess, by default due to the lack of investment in it. Irvin’s home/away splits worry me and I think if he posted an ERA under 4.10 or 4.20 the Orioles should consider themselves lucky. Gibson is another Lyles. The guys like Bradish and Voth and Wells could go either way but I don’t see a ceiling higher than mid to back end rotation types.
Its another year hoping the bullpen carries the starters and that every prospect ripens, they are lucky on all their spare parts, and they pull through.
Think this massively undersells Bradish’s ceiling. Dude has serious stuff and his second half of the year was fire. Looks like he could be a legit #3 in the future.
Bradish is my favorite pitcher outside of G-Rod.
It’s alright though, none of these writers pr casual fans really know about the O’s pitchers. They’re top notch at development. Excited to see what happens.
BStrowman – let’s revisit this in September. I”ll be happy to eat crow if Bradish has evolved into a reliably above average pitcher. That may help alleviate my Matuszitis.
The most effective arm of the Orioles over the years has been its prospect marketing. Here’s my example of the day: This time in 2009 Matt Wieters was being sold as something along the lines of Bench or Fisk and fans bought it completely. At his best, Wieters was a borderline all-star and was usually good but certainly did not live up to advance hype. Just kind of tired of being sold a new, stylish sportscar by Orioles prospect marketing, when I open the door the handle falls off and when I drag it from a light it takes 20 seconds to get to 60MPH.
This is a completely different Org. The orioles certainly haven’t had a front office that was on the cutting edge of analytics and player development. This is a new era in Baltimore.
Not all of these guys will work out but how many top prospects do we have? A boatload. A few will bust, be traded, & then what’s kept will become the core.
@Thornton – to be clear, the O’s marketing didn’t produce the Wieters hype. He broke PETCOTA and the hype train started itself. This staff is clearly different than the mid-2000’s.
Brian 38 – the Orioles originally hyped him coming out of the draft, also as he was drafted that high. They originally drew those lofty comparisons to Bench. They got the ball rolling. The poor desperate broadcasters who needed something to talk about while Daniel Cabrera was getting lit up again circa 2007 and 2008 talked a lot about the arms in the system and Wieters (I was watching 100+ games a season then, I remember clearly). Sportswriters also jumped on that train. By 2008 the Orioles didn’t need to fan hype flames. By the time he came up it was Johnny Bench or bust, in part because the team was so bad everyone needed a savior to cling to. Which was kind of unfair to Wieters who was a good to very good player but not at that level even at his best.
BStrowman if I am enjoying postseason baseball with Baltimore in it, nothing wrong with a little crow for dinner (I am in CO, O’s games start at 5). I still think its a Frankenstein team of spare parts and unproven prospects where pretty much everything has to go their way to contend.
But I do agree to some extent with your new era comment. I added no new members to my All Useless 21st Century Orioles in 2022, and All Useless bench players Richie Martin and DJ Stewart got just a taste and have been rolled off the side.
Agreed. He’s got some control issues and he’s basically a 2-pitch (FB/SL) pitcher. Strider is an example that a guy with 2 plus pitches can succeed. Bradish isn’t Strider, but that’s the roadmap for Bradish IMO.
Other than GRod and Hall, Os fans seem most excited for Bradish. I know there are some that will disagree with that statement, but over his last 13 starts after returning to the team, Bradish was much, much better. Low 3 ERA and that includes a clunker against Boston. He was a rookie obviously so I hope to see some progress this year. My 5 in no order are:
Gibson, Irvin. Rodriguez, Kremer, Bradish.
That’s the 5 if G-Rod is gonna start the year in the rotation.
Voth is better than a long reliever though. I’m not opposed to a 6 man rotation for awhile.
Givens, Tate, Bautista, Baker, Akin, Pérez, and Wells would be the pen. Add Voth too if it’s a 5 man rot.
If we’re healthy all year—I could see us making a deal like we did last year with Jorge Lopez. Possibly selling off Dillon Tate, Voth or Givens because we have better arms that are ready.
Hall, Baumann, Rom, Cano, Denoyer etc. might force their way up to the roster. & if means is on track to return we’ll need some space.
Agreed. That’s the 5. Maybe they go with a 6-man early or with a piggyback type situation with Grayson to extend his innings later into the season.
Dean Kremer beat the Astros twice last season. One was a complete game. The O’s pitchers are better than they’re being projected as, IMO.
Grayson, Kremer, Brandish, Means, Baumann look like a pretty good core to me. The Tigers are hopeless so I’m declaring myself an Os fan. I love the way they play. Speed, defense, some power and heady baseball. When they establish a pen, they will be a factor.
Baumann’s a reliever who is on the DFA train if he struggles this year.
But there’s a lot to like in Baltimore.
“And, now that he’s poised to take on a larger workload, he should at least be a decent source of average-ish innings.”
No. Don’t use that first comma.
“And now that he’s poised to take on a larger workload, he should at least be a decent source of average-ish innings.”