Griesser’s Suggested Change of the Week
With September call ups on the horizon, it’s safe to say the extra brutal dog days of the baseball season for a rebuilding team may be coming to an end.
That’s not to say the last bit of the season won’t be painful – because it will – but to point out that watching younger players get a crack in the majors will become more and more possible moving forward.
Still, we’re not quite there yet.
Thus, this week’s suggested change is still rather minor…focusing on the minor leagues, to be exact.
I’ve written before on changes Mike Elias could make that aren’t about players graduating to the majors. It’s been harder to predict than I expected though, since the organization is waiting for players to complete a full successful year at a single level.
At this point in the season, Elias should be able to look at another minor leaguer who’s essentially done that: Gray Fenter.
It makes sense for Elias to take his time throughout the rebuild when it comes to certain players. However, Fenter has passed each test throughout the season, and should be rewarded accordingly.
Bring him on up!
The 23-year old Delmarva righty is an interesting case, as he has made 16 starts in 23 appearances. While a Shorebird is a long way from being an Oriole, the opener tactic that Brandon Hyde has been using over the course of the season is a nice opportunity for Fenter down the road. He doesn’t have to be a 6- or 7-inning starter; he can simply put in a nice 4- or 5-inning shift to kick things off and put the O’s in a nice place.
Now that that’s been said, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself on the Gray-Train, though I do think he should be moved to Frederick.
While I understand the regime’s interest in watching players excel at a level for a full season, I think there are certain jumps that might require this kind of lengthy evaluation more. Making the transition at the end of your season at Delmarva when you had a stint there before and you’re 23 years old seems like one of those scenarios where it isn’t as necessary.
That is especially true when the pitcher has a 1.91 ERA in his 89.1 innings of work with the team. Given that his appearances have lasted between three innings and five innings at a level where arms are protected pretty heavily, I consider that quite impressive.
If there’s any worry on Fenter at this point it’s his command; in his last 10 games, he’s walked a batter every other inning. Of course, this is something that’s going to have to improve, but if that happens in Frederick, think about how dominant Fenter could be: opponents’ batting average against him is .194 in 2019.
It might be a while before we see the West Memphis product hits Camden Yards for the first time, if he does at all, but I think his progression needs to take the next step.