Spenser Watkins: Almost high school coach, to big league pitcher

It was an off-season of uncertainty for 28-year-old Spenser Watkins.

The right-handed pitcher from Phoenix, AZ, was contemplating his future, considering retiring from professional baseball, after spending more than six years in the minor leagues.

“There was a lot of uncertainty and a lot of pressure for me to figure out a way to provide for my family.”

Spenser Watkins on his off-season uncertainty

The 30th round selection of the Detroit in the 2014 MLB Draft, Watkins was ready to hang up his cleats and accept a job coaching the freshman baseball team at a Phoenix high school. Until he received a phone call in February that would change his life.

Watkins was offered a minor league deal with an invite to spring training from the Baltimore Orioles, giving him one more chance to make the Major Leagues. Little did he know that four months later, his lifelong dream would become a reality.

The O’s selected Watkins’ contract from Triple-A Norfolk and told him to get to Houston for the upcoming series against the Astros.

“I’m still just on cloud nine, and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. My phone is lighting up every two seconds of people congratulating me and saying how thankful they are they were a part of the journey.”

Spenser Watkins on getting called up to the majors.

Watkins was 1-2 with a 3.58 ERA in seven games (six starts) for Norfolk this season, after sitting out all last year with the minor leagues shut down because of the pandemic.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde admitted that he didn’t know much about Spenser, since he wasn’t in major league camp. But with a bullpen that was in need of help, Watkins was a welcome sight.

Although he didn’t pitch in the Houston series, Watkins’ moment came on July 2, 2021, as he made his Major League debut against the Los Angeles Angels, tossing a scoreless, hitless inning of relief.

Watkins has remained with the club, giving them a nice long relief option out of the bullpen. A dream that became a reality is continuing on for Spenser Watkins.

What do you think of Wakins’ story? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our podcast, The Walk-Off, on YouTube and Spotify! And, make sure to use the hashtag #thebaltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!

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