Griesser’s Suggested Change of the Week
Last week, I suggested one Bowie pitcher be moved all the way up to the major leagues to aid the Orioles’ horrendous pitching staff. While Mike Elias ultimately hasn’t made that decision just yet, a promotion of some type can’t be too far off, as Bruce Zimmermann went on to pitch a complete-game shutout a few nights later.
This week, my suggested change won’t be quite as dramatic, as the player won’t be jumping two rungs of the professional baseball ladder. Instead, I recommend that Zac Lowther, the 23-year-old lefty, move from Bowie to Norfolk after 13 fantastic starts for the Baysox.
In a baker’s dozen starts in Bowie, Lowther has dominated, going 7-4 with an incredible 1.95 ERA. Unlike Zimmermann, however, Lowther’s strong start to the year isn’t particularly surprising; he owns a 2.00 career ERA in the minors.
Now, I understand that this move isn’t exciting because it won’t immediately affect the Orioles. However, it’s time for Lowther to get another test.
For those that suggest that Lowther’s 12 starts in Bowie isn’t enough of a look to move him up to Norfolk, I get your argument. That would certainly make Lowther an unbelievably quick riser in the O’s system, and some could worry that the club would be rushing him. At the same time, the Orioles have a serious lack of arms in AAA, with nobody even close to knocking on the door. Lowther could certainly struggle if called up now, no question. If he doesn’t, though, Elias can allow him to learn to pitch at that level for at least the majority of the season, waiting to call him up to Baltimore in September, at the earliest.
Additionally, because Lowther is a college arm, it’d be disappointing for him to spend too much time in AA before making another jump. He seasoned quite a bit at Xavier before being drafted by the Orioles, so his success thus far calls for his promotion.
Focusing on where he fits with Norfolk, the transition is really pretty seamless. Other than Keegan Akin, Luis Ortiz, and – maybe – Luis Ysla, there really aren’t any names that Elias should feel are worth keeping in a rotation over Lowther.
And, rather than sending someone from AAA down to AA or releasing them, I think there’s a chance that a player is moved up. With the DFA of Dan Straily (something else I and everyone else in Birdland predicted) and John Means’ placement on the 10-Day IL, I think the door is open for Tanner Scott.
Scott has been up and down between Baltimore and Norfolk over the last year or so, but he’s found recent success with the Tides, lowering his ERA to 3.57 in 15 appearances.
The O’s bullpen needs help from somewhere, and even though Scott has let chances in that role slip before, there’s simply nobody else to call up at this point. Plus, given his ability to go multiple innings, Scott may fit into a game in which Hyde runs out an opener.
In reality, both of these potential moves would be minor for the time being, but I think something critical is for the Orioles to see what they have in their young arms. For me, Zac Lowther has shown us that he will succeed at the AA level.
Now, he has to prove it in Norfolk.