Although MLB owners and players still can’t get along, things must move along.
Yesterday marked the annual Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, something Orioles Executive Vice President and GM Mike Elias holds to a high standard.
The already deep Orioles farm system got a little deeper, as Elias added two arms from the draft and another via trade.
The first player picked in this draft was right-hander Nolan Hoffman. Hoffman was a highly anticipated young arm in the Mariners system and now brings his sidearm to Baltimore.
Impressively for Hoffman, he posted a perfect 1/1 strikeout to inning ratio in his minor league career, which has lasted 84.1 innings. Although he has not pitched above Single-A, Hoffman’s high ground ball and strikeout rate caught the eyes of Elias and the rest of the Orioles front office.
The Orioles’ second selection in this draft is a little less reasonable, this one being 28 year-old Cole Uvila. Uvila was taken via the Texas Rangers system.
Uvila is known to be a specialty closer, someone who relies on his breaking pitches. His curveball is the best of the bunch, and it has helped him achieve 203 strikeouts in 150 innings across his minor league career.
Uvila’s Double-A numbers in 2021 were very solid, while he did struggle a little more when called up to Triple-A. Much like Hoffman, Uvila is another different kind of pitcher we don’t have much of in our system; a guy who can net the strikeouts, while keeping the ball down and on the ground.
Luckily for the Orioles, no player in the O’s system was taken in this draft. We gained, not lost.
In other moves, the Orioles sent cash considerations to the Mariners for one of their Rule 5 selections from the Mets, right-hander Tommy Wilson.
Wilson, 25, has a lot of promise behind him. This past season in Double-A was a success, as he finished with a .98 WHIP and 2.35 ERA. More of a starting pitcher, Wilson has won 10 minor league games, in which 21 of 42 were starts.
The Orioles did make more moves, the first being the signing of catcher Jacob Nottingham to a minor league contract, someone who Mike Elias helped draft in Houston.
Nottingham last spent time in the majors with the Mariners, after being traded to Seattle early in the season by Milwaukee. In 15 games between Milwaukee and Seattle, Nottingham posted just a .150 batting average but showed promise for some power with a .622 OPS.
When he has made contact, he’s shown good power, with 11 of his 21 career hits going for extra bases, including eight home runs. Nottingham will, of course, be a top candidate to make the Opening Day roster.
MLB transactions page lists that the Birds are also signing pitchers Bryan Bautista, Raynel Duran, Wilton Rondon, Darwin Caballero and Noelin Cuevas to minor league deals.
One injury update we have is in regards to right-hander Connor Loeprich, who underwent knee surgery. His recovery seems to be on time to begin the 2022 season. In 2021, Loeprich posted a 7.16 ERA in 44 innings pitched in Single-A Aberdeen.
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