Hot Take Tuesday: “Woj” Claims His Spot as O’s #2 Starter

In such an awful year for Orioles pitching, a great deal of my articles – especially the Suggested Change of the Week variety – have revolved around the rotation. This installment of Hot Take Tuesday will be no different.

A few weeks ago, I argued that John Means’ season may be the best since Erik Bedard graced the Yard. I stand by that statement, but the person I’d believed would jump to second-best has been far from trustworthy in 2019.

With that in mind, I see the rotation pecking order changing in Baltimore by the time the season ends.

As I’m sure you can guess, the name I’d been expecting to call the O’s #2 was Dylan Bundy, the 26-year-old righty who was an extremely exciting prospect for the Birds just a few years ago.

Now, Bundy sits at 4-11 with a 5.28 ERA in 18 starts, and he’s expected to come back from the 10-day IL today. And, while Bundy’s return is much needed, I feel a new starter may be gaining traction in Baltimore.

By season’s end on September 29, newcomer Asher Wojciechowski will be the second-best pitcher in the O’s rotation.

Upon reading that last sentence, it’s very likely that you feel I’ve made a massive overreaction to Wojciechowski’s dominant performance against the Red Sox over the weekend. You might be right.

I may easily be drinking the “Orange Woj” Kool-Aid at the moment, but I also think there’s significant evidence to support my point.

Starting with Bundy, it’s worth noting how unsuccessful he’s been in the latter months of a campaign. In fact, throughout his career, July, August and September/October have been the three worst stretches he’s endured.

The fact that he can’t put a full season together really comes into view when you look at these splits:

July: 7.35 ERA, 1.461 WHIP

August: 4.67 ERA, 1.261 WHIP

September/October: 5.78 ERA, 1.521 WHIP

Given that his 2019 summer has been a considerable struggle and that he’s coming off a minor injury, I don’t expect Bundy to kick the trend we’ve seen for the first three years of his career. Rather, I’m expecting it to get worse.

Now, turning the page to Wojciechowski, I think it’s logical after his last performance that he be considered a candidate for that #2 role in the rotation, at least as it pertains to the trust we place in him as fans.

Although there isn’t much of a track record from which to work, Wojciechowski has gone over 5.0 innings in three of his five appearances, one of which clearly was not intended to be an extensive one (he went 0.2 innings). In those five times on the mound for Baltimore, he’s only given up more than three runs once.

It’s become quite clear that Wojciechowski has the stuff to be a decent-to-strong starter in the majors. Per Steve Melewski in an article for MASN, Sunday’s start brought Woj’s strikeout rate to 12.13 per 9.0 innings.

Expanded to the league minimum to qualify for stats, that would put Wojciechowski 4th in the majors in that category.

While the pitcher’s ability to generate swings-and-misses isn’t everything he needs to succeed for the remainder of the summer, I also felt that his appearance this weekend was one in which he truly found his footing with the Orioles.

Having pitched for eight teams, Woj has struggled to stick in the league. However, it’s possible that the no-pressure environment with a team that gives him a bit more of a leash has helped him come into his own.

Undoubtedly, this is all speculation. Meanwhile, I do believe Wojciechowski has shown flashes of the type of talent to rely upon, at least more consistently than the arsenal Bundy has at his disposal.

While Bundy is declining, Wojciechowski is rising – all the way up to the second spot in the rotation.

This entry was posted in Bird Feed, Blog View, Featured by Aidan Griesser. Bookmark the permalink.

About Aidan Griesser

Aidan Griesser
Aidan Griesser is a student at Boston College but don't worry, the evil influence of Boston sports can't sway his devotion to the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles! Aidan's from Annapolis and previously worked with the B-More Opinionated podcast for two years. When it comes to sports writing, Aidan is interested...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Hot off the street

Should Mason Williams Get a Call-Up?
Should Mason Williams Get a Call-Up?

Griesser's Suggested Change of the Week The trend over the last few installments of this column has been opportunity. I’m sure this will come as little surprise, but this week will be no more

The Payoff Pitch: Welk What Do We Have Here?
The Payoff Pitch: Welk What Do We Have Here?

In this week's episode, we have a very special guest, in Aberdeen IronBirds third baseman Toby Welk. We talk to Toby about his record-breaking pace in Aberdeen, being teammates with the #1 overall more

Harvey Regaining form for AAA Norfolk
Harvey Regaining form for AAA Norfolk

In this episode of The Payoff Pitch Prospect Report, I update Birdland on a guy tearing it up for the Aberdeen IronBirds (and no, it's not THAT guy). Another infielder just got a promotion, and a more

Hot Take Tuesday: Kremer Most Important Piece From ’18 Fire Sale
Hot Take Tuesday: Kremer Most Important Piece From ’18 Fire Sale

Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@Kool_A1D_Jammer) knows that I’m a proud Stanser, or Hanser Alberto stan. Trust me, he’s one of my favorite Orioles since the rebuild began, I hope he sticks more

Warehouse Pod Ep. 40 – Grading Elias’ First Trade Deadline
Warehouse Pod Ep. 40 – Grading Elias’ First Trade Deadline

The trade deadline came and went with little action from the Orioles who were thought to be having a fire sale. At the end of it, Givens, Villar all remain with the club. How did the Orioles hold more

View More