A few notes on Rutschman, Rodriguez and free agent pitchers

Today taking another look today at a few stories we discussed in this space recently.

Such as this one about catcher Adley Rutschman. The last Oriole to win the American League Rookie of the Year award was Gregg Olson in 1989. Earlier this week Rutschman was a finalist for the AL ROY, but Seattle's Julio Rodríguez took home the hardware.

The rookie from Baltimore still had a pretty big year and earned a full year of service time for 2022 by virtue of his second-place finish.

Rutschman's year was strong enough to put him in select company. He produced the fourth-highest wRC+ among rookie catchers since 1961:

165 – Carlton Fisk, 1972
150 – Mike Piazza, 1993
134 – Buster Posey, 2010
133 – Adley Rutschman, 2022

We took time this week to look at this story of right-hander Grayson Rodriguez discussing his move to the Orioles' 40-man roster.

“Obviously, it’s honor to get put on anybody’s 40-man, especially ours,” Rodriguez said. “So, pretty excited, pretty pumped up for it. Can’t wait for spring training. And really just looking forward to what this year has in store. Just getting back out there and throwing the baseball.”

In 17 starts in 2022, he went 6-2 with a 2.62 ERA, missing time between June 1 and Sept. 1 with a lat injury. 

He ranks as the O's No. 2 prospect behind Gunnar Henderson, and in national top 100s is the No. 4 prospect and highest-ranked pitcher, according to both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com

In this story, we took a closer at two free agent pitchers the Orioles could look to add. 

One was Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga. This season he went 11-6 with a 1.89 ERA in Nippon Professional Baseball, generally considered the second-best pro league in the world. Over 148 innings he allowed 104 hits and just seven home runs, with 50 walks and 159 strikeouts.

The other was lefty Sean Manaea. Right before opening day in 2022 he was traded from Oakland to San Diego. In 30 games this season he went 8-9 with a 4.96 ERA in 158 innings. That produced an ERA plus of just 75 to go with 1.297 WHIP, a 2.8 walk rate and an 8.9 strikeout rate.

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