The Orioles announced they have added five players to their roster in advance of tonight’s Rule 5 protection deadline. They are right-handers Grayson Rodriguez, Seth Johnson and Noah Denoyer, along with lefty Drew Rom and shortstop Joey Ortiz.
Rodriguez is arguably the top pitching prospect in the game, making him one of the easiest additions on Rule 5 protection day. The former first-round pick could’ve factored into the MLB mix at some point this year, but a lat strain threw him off track. He did make 14 starts with Triple-A Norfolk, working to a sparkling 2.20 ERA while punching out an excellent 35.8% of opposing hitters. While there was no intrigue with Baltimore’s decision regarding the Rule 5 draft, it’ll be fascinating to see whether Rodriguez can crack Baltimore’s big league roster out of Spring Training.
Johnson was a supplemental first-rounder of the Rays during the 2019 draft. He landed in Baltimore via the three-team Trey Mancini deal at the deadline. The Campbell product recently underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss all of next year, but the O’s like him enough as a prospect to give him an offseason 40-man spot. He can be placed on the MLB 60-day injured list at the start of the season to reopen the roster vacancy.
Denoyer went undrafted in 2019 out of a California junior college, but he’s pitched his way onto a 40-man roster. He’s a reliever who split the 2022 campaign between High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie. Denoyer spent most of the year in Bowie, working to a 2.61 ERA with an excellent 35.4% strikeout rate and a meager 5.6% walk percentage over 51 2/3 innings. He’ll be 25 by Opening Day and could factor into the big league bullpen next year.
Rom, 23 next month, split his season between Bowie and Norfolk. He combined for a 4.43 ERA through 120 innings with a 27.1% strikeout percentage and an 8.9% walk rate. A fourth-round selection out of a Kentucky high school in 2018, he was named the #18 prospect in the Baltimore system midseason by Baseball America. He’s a viable back-of-the-rotation candidate next year.
Ortiz went in the fourth round in 2019 coming out of New Mexico State. A gifted defensive shortstop, he split his season between the minors top two levels. The right-handed hitter put up a cumulative .284/.349/.477 mark across 600 plate appearances, pounding out 35 doubles and 19 home runs. He’s part of an excellent pipeline of upper minors infielders in the Baltimore system.