Don’t Overlook the Baltimore Orioles Top Pitching Prospects

The offense in Triple-A Norfolk has everyone talking but do not overlook the Baltimore Orioles top pitching prospects.

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 14, 2024: Cade Povich #81 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch during the first inning of a spring training Spring Breakout game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park on March 14, 2024 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The Norfolk Tides have been the story of minor league baseball. Their offense has taken the league by storm scoring 112 runs in their first 13 games. Before the Jackson Holliday promotion, they had four players with OPS north of 1.000 and six players north of .900.

They are undoubtably the best lineup in minor league baseball. However, do not let the Tides offense allow you to overlook the Orioles pitching prospects.

No, the Orioles pitching prospects do not carry the same sex appeal that the position players do. With that said, the Orioles still have some great pitching prospects that are off to strong starts this season.

Given how things have gotten started in Baltimore this season, it could even be feasible that we see one of the pitching prospects in Baltimore before one of the position players. Having just called up top prospect Jackson Holliday, the Orioles are likely to give him some time to acclimate before calling up another position player.

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On the flip side, Cole Irvin and Tyler Wells have struggled on the bump. In two starts, Irvin has an 8.10 ERA in 10 innings. Wells has a 5.87 ERA in three starts.

This is a very small sample size but if neither is able to put things together soon, they could both see moves to the bullpen where they both have proven effective in the past. With John Means and Kyle Bradish both on the mend, this could open up an opportunity for one of the Orioles young pitchers.

The Top Prospects

There are two pitchers in Triple-A for the Orioles right now that could end up seeing time in the big leagues should the opportunity arise. Chayce McDermott and Cade Povich look MLB ready and just need an opportunity to make an impact at the Major League level.

Chayce McDermott

McDermott had a stellar 2023 minor league season. He posted a 2.49 ERA in 50.2 innings in Triple-A last season. Before the start of the Triple-A season, McDermott looked like the Orioles most MLB ready pitcher and potentially an upgrade over Irvin or Wells.

Safe to say that McDermott got off to a slow start this season as he has a 4.50 ERA after his first three starts, which is not horrible on the surface. If you dig a little deeper you will find a 4.90 FIP and a 6.18 xFIP. Those numbers are thanks in large part to walking over 11 batters per nine. He is posting a .190 batting average against which is promising.

The concern with McDermott right now is his inability to find the strike zone. He has as many walks as he does strikeouts right now. He is going to have to find the strike zone in order to have an argument for promotion.

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The silver lining is that he is still missing bats. McDermott is generating whiff on the fastball. A 30% whiff rate thus far is solid, it would put him right around Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet. If you add his cutter into the mix, he has a 34% whiff rate on both pitches combined.

Once he starts finding the zone and limiting the walks he will have a strong case for being added to the major league squad.

Cade Povich

Povich is off to a scorching hot start this season. If he keeps this up he could potentially force the Orioles hand. As previously stated, Irvin and Wells have not been good. If they continue to under perform, Povich could be too good to not have with the big league club.

In his first three starts Povich has thrown 16.1 innings and amassed 24 strikeouts while allowing just five walks, four hits, and two runs. The inverse of McDermott to some extent, Povich really struggled with command last season and struggled in Triple-A. This year it looks like something has clicked for Povich.

After posting 5.76 walks per nine last season in Triple-A, Povich has lowered that number to 2.8 thus far. Couple that with 13.4 strikeouts per nine and you have a combination that will play in the majors.

His start on April 13th against the Scranton RailRiders is his best yet. Over the course of 5.1 innings he struck out 10 while allowing just one run on one hit and two walks.

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He was borderline untouchable with a 50% whiff rate. He threw his fastball, sweeper, and cutter a combined 57 times and none of them were put in play. Povich is quickly becoming the most overlooked star in this Orioles system.

With the back of the Orioles rotation not looking good at this point in the season, it might not be very long before Povich gets a chance. The one complication is that the 40-Man roster is full at the moment but clearing a spot for Povich shouldn’t be too messy. Do not be surprised if we see one of the Orioles pitching prospects in the majors very soon.

Under the Radar Prospects

It is early into the season, but the Orioles have already had a couple of their pitchers at the lower levels establish themselves with strong starts. Before acknowledging the big dogs, it feels right to give props to some of the guys who are off to hot starts.

The three names listed below you will not find on the Just Baseball Top Orioles Prospects list. They are guys looking to make a name for themselves and 2024 is going to be pivotal for all three of them.

Cameron Weston, RHP – High-A

Weston was an eighth round pick of the Orioles in 2022 out of the University of Michigan. So far this year, Weston has thrown eight innings in two starts to a 1.13 ERA. This includes a start against the Wilmington Blue Rocks in which he went five innings with no hits, no runs and nine strikeouts. The soon to be 24-year-old could climb the minors quickly this season.

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Moises Chace, RHP – High-A

Chace is a 20-year-old right-hander that was signed out of Venezuela in 2019. He struggled last year in Low-A but is off to a hot start this season in High-A. In his first start of the year he went four innings while giving up three hits and collecting nine strikeouts. Walks were an issue for Chace last season but he only gave up one in his first start this year.

Blake Money, RHP – Low-A

Perhaps most famous for being the older brother of Little League World Series sensation Cash Money, Blake was a 12th round pick of the Orioles last season out of LSU. Money is sporting a not so hot 5.63 ERA in eight innings so far this season. However, he has managed 12 strikeouts with only one walk and is holding opponents to a .194 average.