The Twins have recalled right-hander Bailey Ober to start this afternoon’s game against the Nationals, per a team announcement. To make room for Ober on the active roster, right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson has been optioned to Triple-A.
Ober, 27, has yet to pitch in the majors this season but impressed in 11 starts last year, pitching to a 3.21 ERA (120 ERA+) with a 2.92 FIP in 56 innings of work. Ober struck out 22.5% of batters faced while walking a microscopic 4.8%, though not all of his success appears that sustainable; just 4.8% of Ober’s fly balls last season left the yard for home runs in spite of a 11.7% barrel rate. More fly balls leaving the yard could be a significant issue for Ober, for whom fly balls made up 51.2% of his total balls in play in the majors last year.
Following Kenta Maeda’s return from Tommy John surgery and the club’s acquisition of Pablo Lopez from the Marlins, Ober ultimately found himself pushed out of the rotation to open the season. He’s seen great success in Triple-A to start the year, however, with a 2.55 ERA and 2.71 FIP in 17 2/3 innings of work so far in 2023. That performance, combined with the need for a spot starter in today’s game, led to Ober’s first call to the majors this season, which should give the Twins additional time to determine if Maeda will require a stint on the 15-day injured list after being hit with a line drive in Thursday’s game against the Red Sox. Should Maeda require a trip to the IL, Ober figures to slot into the big league rotation for longer than today’s spot start.
Woods Richardson, meanwhile, heads back to Triple-A after making just one appearance, a 4 2/3 inning relief outing yesterday during which the 22-year-old righty surrendered five runs on seven hits and three walks. The youngster is considered the club’s 8th best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and was viewed as a top 100 prospect in the sport as recently as 2021. Despite his prospect pedigree, it seems unlikely the youngster will factor into Minnesota’s rotation plans this season, given the club’s considerable depth at the position. For now he will head back to Triple-A, where he’s posted a 3.30 ERA in 43 2/3 career innings, and wait for his next big league opportunity.