Baltimore’s opening day rotation picture is a little clearer now after manager Brandon Hyde revealed he doesn’t believe DL Hall will be stretched out enough to handle a starting workload to begin the season, per Nathan Ruiz of the Baltimore Sun. Hall had been a candidate to take a spot in a rotation that is very much up in the air behind Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson but was experiencing lower back discomfort late in the off-season, which appears to have put him a bit behind schedule.
The question now for the Orioles is whether they option Hall to Triple-A to begin the season, or have him pitch out of the bullpen in the big leagues. Hall had a brief stint in the big leagues last season, working to a 5.93 ERA over 11 appearances (one start). That did come with a completely unsustainable .436 BABIP, and Hall did post a quality 29.7% strikeout rate and 9.4% walk rate to indicate he did pitch much better than the 5.93 ERA suggests.
Hall was competing for, presumably, one of three available rotation spots. Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin look like certainties to take two spots, and Hall, Rodriguez, Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish, Austin Voth and others were candidates to fill the remaining spots. With Hall now removed from that equation, it does increase the chances that top pitching prospect Rodriguez cracks the opening day rotation.
Here’s some more notes from around the AL East:
- Sticking with the Orioles to begin with, and Ruiz reports that utilityman Terrin Vavra is day-to-day with left shoulder discomfort. According to Hyde, Vavra experienced soreness while taking pre-game batting practice. There doesn’t appear to be too much reason for concern given we’re still a little under a month away from the start of the regular season. Vavra slashed .258/.340/.337 across 103 plate appearances during his rookie year last season. He spent time in the infield and outfield, and projects as a useful versatile bench option for the Orioles going into the new season.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that Mitch White is a few weeks behind schedule but is feeling good and threw a side session today as he builds back from a shoulder impingement suffered in January. White had been a contender for Toronto’s fifth rotation spot, and while there’s nothing definitive ruling him out of that, the fact he’s still a few weeks behind schedule would suggest it’s unlikely he’ll be stretched out enough to be in the rotation picture by opening day. That would mean Yusei Kikuchi, who lost his rotation spot last year, would be the favorite to join Alek Manoah, Chris Bassitt, Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios in the Blue Jays’ rotation. White, acquired from the Dodgers last summer, struggled to a 7.74 ERA over 43 innings for Toronto last season. That came after a much more promising 56 innings of work with the Dodgers earlier in the season, whereby White worked to a 3.70 ERA. His peripherals were largely the same across both teams, and indeed his FIP for the Dodgers of 3.95 was actually worse than the 3.76 mark he had with the Blue Jays. White is out of minor league options.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
I wish I could be excited about this, but Kyle Gibson?
This is like ordering steak & ending up with oatmeal.
It’s like ordering a burger and getting white castle
Gibson is a stopgap, he’s not meant to be exciting. Grayson Rodriguez is the Pitcher to be excited for
Not every pitcher in the rotation is meant to be an ace. You need 5th starters and innings eaters.
Oatmeal is better than steak, bad comparison if you don’t like meat. Plus, you’ll never substitute dinner with breakfast. two different meals completely. Like apples and oranges.. oh wait.
I think Gibson is going to surprise a lot of people this year. The Phillies’ sketchy defense definitely hurt him last year, so pitching in front of a much better defense and playing half of his games at OPACY with Mt Walltimore behind him should result in better outcomes.
Fever Pitch Guy
Isn’t Vavra the name of Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend that he couldn’t remember? Or was that Dolores?
No, that’s the name of the cop from Super Troopers who went wild in the burger punk.
C Yards Jeff
Hoping Vavra beats out McKenna for a bench spot. Ryan is a solid defensive OF but strikes out way too much. Like to see what Terrin can do over a full season in a multi position utility role.
I think there is room for both. McKenna is the 5th outfielder and Vavra is behind Urias for infield depth. Wish he could backup first but hopefully we find a gem in Diaz or Ohearn for that
Vavra isn’t beating out McKenna as he is Mullins RH backup in CF. The O’s can carry both as the bench is currently James McCann/Ramon Urias/McKenna/open spot
C Yards Jeff
McKenna swings and misses way too much. True,for now, better defensively in OF but give Vavra time as he develops his OF play to go along with his already developed IF skill set. He had more than a cup of coffee last season to show his O is much better than Ryan’s as well.
McKenna is more essential than Vavra since he can serve as a RH backup for Mullins in CF and pinch runner. That said, I like Vavra’s ability to get on base and hope he can secure the last bench spot, although I think that will likely go to one of the LH 1Bs like Diaz or O’Hearn.
With the O’s working both Vavra and Santander out at 1B this spring that actually works against Diaz, Cordero, and O’Hearn. It’s possible one of them makes the team if the O’s decide to let Stowers get everyday AB’s in AAA to start the year
I always thought Mitch White would make a lights out reliever. It’s a stretch to ask him to get through the order 3 times, every 5 days.
I just checked his career stats,
SP: 95 IP, 5.46 ERA, 1.47 WHIP
RP 53 IP, 3.57 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Better as a RP, obviously, but still too high of an ERA.
an out of options, multi inning low leverage guy with that era absolutely has a place anywhere.
Considering he’s averaging 4 1/3 innings per start for his whole career, all he can do in a rotation is ensure you bullpen gets beaten up every 5 days. Even in his good games they’d often take him out in the 5th.
Starting 5. Wells will piggyback Grod to control both their innings. Means back for 2nd half of season to replace the worst starter
I really don’t get the “Gibson and Irvin are the only rotation locks” narrative, Kremer is just as much of a lock after his extremely solid 2022 and Bradish is not far behind after his second half breakthrough, plus Gray-Rod clearly has nothing left to prove in AAA. Hall was never more than an extreme long shot to make the Opening Day rotation.
I don’t think hall ever had a shot. I don’t think he’s a starter. Which is fine, give me a lights out multi inning reliever. They’re pretty damn valuable too
“Hall was competing for, presumably, one of three available rotation spots.”
Don’t do this when you can just start the sentence with “presumably.” It’s so awkward the way Simon wrote it.
“Triple Ben was annoyed by, presumably, the awkward construction of a sentence.”
That’s even worse.
Chito Martinez….had an edible, his name popped into my mind….. we need a Chito/Manto season from a few guys…… I’m looking at Cowser/Hays to become today’s Roenicke/Lowenstein