Starting with the internal candidates for the Orioles’ 2022 rotation
Assuming that John Means and Jordan Lyles, when his signing becomes official after the Major League Baseball lockout, will be the Orioles’ first two starters in the 2022 rotation, three spots remain open.
Let’s look at the inside candidates, though the Orioles could add from outside when the lockdown ends. We’ll first focus on pitchers who spent time with the Orioles in 2021.
Fund: Akin, who turns 27 the day after the scheduled March 31st opener, was the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2016. The southpaw made his Orioles debut in 2020 and was 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA in eight games, including six starts.
Akin’s 2021: He was 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA in 24 games, 17 starts. After a tough spring training, the southpaw started the season at Bowie’s alternate site. He had an accident with a kitchen knife, delaying his promotion until mid-May.
Akin had a difficult month-long spell in six starts from June 16and-July 16and, he allowed 33 runs in 24 1/3 innings for a 12.20 ERA. He was scratched on his next start and placed on the Covid-19 injured list.
Akin had better starts in August and September. August 26and, he allowed one run on three hits over seven innings in a 13-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels. In his last start, he allowed a run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings on September 22.n/a in Philadelphia. He ended the season on the injured list after core muscle surgery.
Outlook: Akin still has an option, and if he can build on the best late-season starts, he has a good chance of starting 2022 with the Orioles.
Fund: The 26-year-old right-hander was the Orioles’ third-round pick in 2017. He had a strong minor league career with a 28-16 record and 2.94 ERA. He allowed only 21 homers in 77 games.
Bauman 2021: After his time at the alternate site ended prematurely with a forearm injury, Baumann pitched five no-hitter innings to Low-A Delmarva. After 10 starts for the Baysox, he was 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Norfolk.
He was added to the Orioles for four relief appearances in September. Two of them were solid (five innings, zero earned runs on three hits). Two of them weren’t (five innings, 11 ERAs on 10 hits).
Outlook: The possibility of a shortened spring training could hurt Baumann’s chances of starting 2022 with the Orioles. He’s never started a major league game, so it’s possible he’ll return to Norfolk for a stint and return to Baltimore after a few tidal starts.
Fund: Kremer, who turns 26 on Friday, was acquired in the July 2018 trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers that sent Manny Machado west.
He led the minor leagues in strikeouts in 2018 and impressed in four late-season starts in 2020 when he was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA.
Kremer 2021: He had a disappointing season going 0-7 and 7.55 ERA in 13 starts with the Orioles. After a horrible start on June 24and against the Toronto Blue Jays at Buffalo, when he struck out just one of eight batters, walking five and allowing six runs, Kremer was sent to Norfolk. In Norfolk, Kremer was 1-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 17 games, 13 starts.
He was only promoted as 27and man on september 11and when he allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings against the Blue Jays.
Outlook: It was surprising the Orioles didn’t re-call Kremer in September, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fared in spring training. Do they still see him as a starter? Or will they try it in the bullpen like they did at the end of Norfolk’s season. He has one option left.
Fund: Lowther, a 25-year-old southpaw, was the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2017. He was 23-19 with a 2.61 ERA in 72 minor league games. Like Baumann, Lowther didn’t allow many home runs in the minors, just 21.
Lowther’s 2021: Lowther was one of several pitchers called up by the Orioles early in the first half of the season. He made five appearances, one in April, May, June and two in July. On his first major league start on May 8andhe allowed seven runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings against Boston.
After missing time with a strained left shoulder, Lowther spent the final month of the season with the Orioles. September 12and, Lowther allowed seven runs over two sets in a 22-7 loss to Toronto, but he also had some good appearances that month. Lowther allowed one run on three hits in six innings against Kansas City on Sept. 6e. In his last two starts, he has allowed an earned run on 11 hits in 10 innings.
Outlook: Lowther showed up late enough in the season to warrant a look as a starter to start 2022. He struck out just over one batter per nine innings, although his walk and homer totals were much higher. higher than in the minor leagues. He has two options left.
Fund: Wells, a 24-year-old left-hander from Australia, was signed as an international free agent in 2016. He was 36-27 with a 2.87 ERA at the minors and allowed just 1.4 goals on balls in nine innings.
Wells’ 2021: Wells was 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 11 games, eight starts. After two relief appearances in June, Wells made an emergency start when Akin landed on the Covid-19 injured reserve and pitched creditably, allowing three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings on July 21.st in Tampa Bay.
Wells was one strike away from his first major league win at the start against the Rays, but Tanner Scott allowed two runs late in the ninth.
Wells spent September with the Orioles. His best start came on September 30and against Boston, when he limited the Red Sox to one run on three hits in six innings.
Outlook: Wells is an intriguing prospect, but he’s allowed 10 homers in 42 1/3 innings and struck out just 5.5 batters per nine innings. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him as a starter or reliever in 2022.
Fund: Zimmermann turns 27 on February 9and, and he is the most accomplished of the starting candidates. He was acquired by the Orioles in the July 2018 trade with Atlanta that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Braves.
The Ellicott City native made his major league debut in September 2020. He allowed six runs in seven innings in two appearances.
Zimmerman 2021: Excellent spring training earned him a spot in the rotation to start the season. Overall, he was 4-5 with a 5.04 ERA in 14 games.
After a brief demotion in early May to limit his innings, the southpaw pitched well in long relief on May 16.and. Zimmermann allowed a run on two hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Yankees and picked up a win.
His first win came in Game 3 of the season when he allowed three runs in six innings in an 11-3 win at Boston.
Zimmermann won two more games in June, but in mid-June he went on the injured list with tendinitis in his left biceps, then just before he was set to be released. recalled in August, he sprained his ankle while lifting weights in Norfolk.
He eventually returned to the Orioles for two season-ending starts.
Outlook: Zimmermann will enter spring training as the favorite for third place in the rotation.