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Grayson Rodriguez Looks Just Fine in Spring Debut

Grayson Rodriguez & Adley Rutschman
photo: Facebook/Orioles
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Grayson Rodriguez probably should have debuted in Baltimore last season. The Orioles’ second-ranked prospect (7th overall) on MLB Pipeline pitched 103 innings between Bowie and Aberdeen in 2021, posting an ERA of 2.36 while striking out 161 batters, walking just 27, and holding opposing hitters to a .159 batting average.

Some optimists thought he might break Sarasota with the big club in 2022, skipping AAA altogether, but that was never realistic. So to Norfolk he went to begin the year. He made 11 starts, pitching 56 innings, striking out 80 while walking 14, posted a 2.09 ERA and gave up just a single home run. He looked ready to get the call to Baltimore at any moment.

Unfortunately, in that eleventh start, on June 1, Rodriguez felt some discomfort in his lat muscle, and was pulled in the sixth inning. He’d gone seven full in his previous start, his longest of the season, so we knew some bad news was on the way. The lat pull shut him down until September. He made three rehab starts in Aberdeen and Bowie before finishing up the 2022 campaign with three more starts for the Tides. He had two good starts sandwiched around a rough one (3 ER in 3.2 IP on 9/21), striking out 17 in 16.2 IP.

Now 23 and nearly five full years since becoming the eleventh overall pick in the 2018 draft, it’s time for GrayRod to come up to The Show. All eyes in Birdland will be on him in Sarasota, as our hopes for 2023 will hinge greatly on Grayson being the emerging Ace we have all envisioned for the last handful of seasons.

In his first spring action today against Detroit, Rodriguez didn’t disappoint (of course, none of us could watch it, because MASN). He threw 21 pitches in two scoreless innings, with a walk and a strikeout. He also induced a double play ball from none other than Miguel Cabrera. More importantly, his velocity was exactly where we’d hoped, his four-seamer averaging 98 MPH, his slider 82 and his change-up 85.

Thanks to Statcast, we can easily view it:

Gas up!

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