O’s starting pitching overload: Good problem to have

One of the most discussed topics of the Baltimore Orioles offseason has been their starting rotation, or as some have said, lack thereof.

The reality of the situation is actually a problem, but not the kind many would think or Orioles fans would imagine. For the first time in years, the Orioles have an abundance of pitchers vying for a starting rotation spot.  

With three spots up for grabs, with Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin being locks, there are actually 12 pitchers who will be trying to nail down a spot in the starting five, and if warranted, the starting six. 

I might add that going with a six-man rotation would take an arm out of the bullpen, but it would provide an extra day of rest for the starters. Either way, the fact that there are options is a problem that manager Brandon Hyde is not upset about.

Let’s take a quick look at the pitchers with the best shot at filling out the remaining spots in the O’s starting rotation.


The long-awaited debut for the top pitching prospect in baseball last season, Grayson Rodriguez had his run to the majors halted due to a grade-3 lat strain.

Rodriguez dominated Triple-A last season, before and after his injury. Pitching to a 2.62 ERA across 17 games, all starts, Rodriguez showed why high expectations await him.

Rodriguez pitched just 75 innings but struck out 109 batters and held opponents to a .176 batting average and WHIP of 0.99. Of course, GM Mike Elias is as excited as anyone for what Rodriguez can bring to the table.

“We can’t wait to see him in spring training,” Elias said. “It will be really exciting for us to see him out there in Sarasota. I’m really pulling for him to be in the rotation when we break camp.”


Bradish was thrust into the rotation last season due to performance from spring to early in the Triple-A season. For the young right-hander, it was learning by being thrown to the wolves. 

Though Bradish struggled early in the season, he showed flashes of brilliance yet inexperience along the way, as he would finish the season 4-7 with a 4.90 ERA and a WHIP of 1.40.

The last two months of the season saw Bradish go 3-3 with a 3.96 ERA and pitch some of the best games of his young career. He would hold the eventual World Series Champion Houston Astros to no runs across two starts, striking out 16, walking just two and only allowing four total hits. 

Bradish might not be guaranteed a rotation spot, but based off last season, he would seem to have a strong track towards earning one, barring an implosion this spring.


Dean Kremer is the last remaining piece of the Los Angelos Dodgers trade that sent Manny Machado out of Baltimore. After showing promise through four games in 2020, Kremer fell flat in 2021, going 0-7 with a 7.55 ERA in 13 games.

Kremer earned a bullpen role entering the 2022 season but would strain his oblique warming up in the bullpen during the first game of the season. He would return in June, and the pitcher that once showed promise turned out to be a revelation for a staff that lost John Means and Tyler Wells.

Kremer would finish the season 8-7, becoming the first Oriole starting pitcher since 2015 (Wei-Yin Chen) to post a sub 3.50 ERA for the season.   

With improved command and the ability to utilize all of his pitches, Kremer should once again start the season on the big league roster. Whether in the rotation or out of the bullpen, the Team-Israel-commit took a big step forward last season and looks to continue his progression in 2023.


Tyler Wells went from dominant bullpen piece to surprise starter last season before lower left side discomfort sent him to the injured list. 

The Orioles were already being cautious with Wells, as he was in year two of a return from Tommy John surgery. Brandon Hyde reiterated throughout the season that Wells was on an innings limit.

The former Rule 5 pick would appear in 23 games, all starts, finishing the season 7-7 with a 4.25 ERA. He tallied 103.2 innings, holding opponents to a .231 batting average and a strong 1.14 WHIP. 

Wells will start spring fully healthy and 20 pounds lighter. He’ll be fighting for a rotation spot, but a spot starter and long relief role would benefit the Orioles just as much.


Austin Voth was a mid-season waiver pick-up, as GM Mike Elias has a way of finding talent that others overlook or can not utilize properly. Voth was the perfect example. 

After posting an ERA of 10.13 across 19 games with the Washington Nationals last season and working as a starter for the Orioles, Voth would appear in 22 games (17 starts) and become a strong addition to the staff. 

He would go 5-4, but his ERA of 3.04 with the Orioles shows the potential that was never uncovered in Washington. 

Will Voth make the rotation, return to the bullpen or become a trade chip? His versatility makes for an intriguing piece that can help the Orioles in many ways. 


DL Hall has wowed the minor league system over the past few years with his triple digits fastball, penchant for bundles of strikeouts and a feel-good story that has many fans rooting for his success. Forming a strong one-two punch with Grayson Rodriguez over the last couple of years, the young lefty has seen his career take off because of his overpowering fastball.  

Though control problems and injuries have been a concern, the 24-year-old has shown his ability to keep batters guessing. A small taste in the majors last season has shown Hall what he will face in the bigs, and he comes into camp given every chance to earn a roll as a starter. 

Last season, Hall would return to pitch in 13 games, his one start being his big league debut, and there were some encouraging signs in his time on the roster. Hall didn’t give up any long balls, had a three-to-one strikeout to walk ratio and threw more than 67% of his pitches for strikes.  

Learning how to utilize his pitches and his pitch placement will help Hall’s growth and development in his second season. Whether that is in the rotation or bullpen, Hall has a chance to be a strong contributor this year for the Birds.

These pitchers possess the realistic chances of filling out the rotation for the Orioles. Guys such as Bruce Zimmermann, Spenser Watkins and Mike Baumann are still in play but are more likely minor league candidates who can be called-up in case of an injury or fresh arm.

What makes this even more enticing is that John Means and Kyle Brnovich are both due back around July, which will only provide even more depth to an already loaded pitching core.

Mike Elias has quietly built pitching depth while the rest of the league was watching our positional depth grow. It’s key to any organization if they want to float above water and not sink to the sharks.

Who do you think will fill the O’s five starting rotation spots? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!

Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SRJHeckman

3 thoughts on “O’s starting pitching overload: Good problem to have

  1. I’m just hoping that Grayson isn’t over-hyped. I see Bradish, Kremer, and Gibson as the top 3 with Wells, Irvin, and GRod rounding out the rotation. Reminds me a lot of the Baby Birds of ’60-’61 when Jack Fisher, Chuck Estrada, and Steve Barber gave the Yankees a run for their money. Reminds me also of ’64 when MacNally, Bunker, and Palmer showed up. Happy days may be on the horizon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gibson and Irvin are short term solutions but for as far as the future goes, I’m thinking Kremer, Rodriguez and Braddish have all demonstrated they have what it takes to start and pitch in the league. They all look like keepers to me.

    The Key here is Hall. If he can simply fulfill 85% of his potential, the team will be sitting pretty this year and next …

    Then there’s Wells … wow this staff could turn into on of the better in the league!
    Drink Pepsi my friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more. It’s definitely a more exciting than most people, especially sports writers, think.

      What’s even better is how it has been built so quietly that they have overlooked and disregarded them as cast offs.

      Elias has shown he knows what he is doing and how to find talent others overlook.


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