Griesser’s Suggested Change of the Week
With the sheer volume of games in an MLB season, it’s inevitable that teams need to change things up on a regular basis. In fact, for an organization that’s grinding through the early stages of a rebuild like the Orioles are, it’s typical for some notable change to take place at least once per week. Keeping that in mind, as I transition into my work with Eutaw Street Report, I think it makes sense that I offer an eye on the thoughts that may run through Mike Elias’ mind while evaluating potential changes. Ultimately, I believe I can suggest at least one each week, and that’s what I’m going to kick off here.
So, without further ado, here is the first installment of Griesser’s Suggested Change of the Week!
At this point in the Orioles season, the focus should be on developing players to the best of their ability. You can say that the team wants to lose and secure the number one pick for the second year in a row, and I’d probably agree with you on that. At the same time, though, the O’s will essentially have just as strong odds at drafting a cornerstone player with any of the top three picks. I can assure you, they’ll have one of those regardless of any change I can suggest, or that they can make.
Unfortunately, at this stage in the rebuild, there isn’t a tremendous crop of players for Brandon Hyde to develop at the major league level. We might see Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle later in the summer, but as of now, neither player’s clock should be started. In the meantime, while the roster’s position players are somewhat set in stone, Elias should make a switch in the rotation, from which the performance has largely been dismal.
First, before bringing any player up, Elias should designate pitcher Dan Straily for assignment. Though he hasn’t been awful in an extended relief role, Straily didn’t get the job done as a starter and at this point is just blocking younger arms from getting their shot.
One of those arms is attached to a player the O’s received in exchange for Kevin Gausman, Bruce Zimmermann. In his second stint with the Bowie Baysox and first time beginning the year with the squad, Zimmermann has shined, clearly enjoying the new approach that Elias and Sig Mejdal have implemented.
In 11 starts, Zimmermann has pitched to a 2.87 ERA, but more importantly has a 61/22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 59.2 innings. In addition, Zimmermann has a 1.22 WHIP to this point, which is above average, according to FanGraphs. At age 24, Zimmermann is certainly old enough to make his first appearance in the majors, and with just under half of the season under his belt, he has done enough to be granted an opportunity to pitch at OPACY.
By calling Zimmermann up to the bigs, Hyde could move David Hess into the role that Straily had occupied. Hess hasn’t been bad in that spot before, and may even be able to chip in the occasional spot start.
The Orioles have already enjoyed the emergence of John Means this season, and I don’t think it’s out of the question to think the majority of his success has been due to the new attention Elias and Mejdal have paid to spin rate and other metrics. If Zimmermann is able to produce at the major league level anywhere similar to the way that Means has, the O’s might have another gem on their hands. That might be a big ask, but at any rate, he can’t be worse than what they’re getting at the moment.
Due to that alone, this change is worth a shot.