A look at the pitchers the Orioles got in the Jorge López deal

In a move designed to obtain future talent for a current All-Star closer, the Orioles today traded right-hander Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins for a package of four pitchers. And yes, they made this move while they are just 2 1/2 games out of the last American League playoff spot.

Here is a bit more on the four players they got from the Twins for López, a player the Orioles acquired via waivers from the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 9, 2020. This season he has recorded 19 saves with a 1.68 ERA.

The O's added left-hander Cade Povich, a third-round pick out of Nebraska in 2021 (No. 98 overall) who has pitched this year at high Single-A Cedar Rapids. He is 6-8 with a 4.46 ERA. In 78 2/3 innings, he has allowed 71 hits and nine homers with 26 walks and 107 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. He has a 2.97 walk rate and 12.24 strikeout rate.

One scout I spoke with said his fastball averages in the 92 mph range but has touched 96 this season. He also throws a curveball in the high 70s, slider in the 80-81 range and a firm changeup around 84 mph. The scout liked his slider as his best secondary and described him as “polished, college lefty.” He throws a lot of strikes, especially with his fastball and slider, and mixes in the other pitches as chase and putaway offerings.

MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis discussed Povich on MLB Network.

“I call him a pitchability lefty, because the changeup is his best pitch. He’s not overpowering on the radar gun, but he is missing a ton of bats in high-A,” said Callis. “He throws strikes and could be a fast mover. He’s a potential No. 4 or No. 5 starter. So he’s a pretty interesting guy, and he’s the headliner of the four. And it looks like the Orioles went for pitching depth.

“On the heels of getting Seth Johnson and Chayce McDermott (for Trey Mancini yesterday), two really good arms – Johnson will need Tommy John surgery – they are just adding more pitching depth today.”

During MLB Network coverage, analyst Dan O’Dowd, a former big league general manager, discussed the O’s moves of Mancini and López.

“If they played in another division, I’m not sure this would be the approach they take," O'Dowd said. "But they’re playing with all the big boys. They just can’t build a good team, they’ve got to build a great team. And they are not there yet.”

The O’s also added 28-year-old righty reliever Yennier Canó, a native of Cuba. In the majors this year over 10 games for the Twins he is 1-0 with a 9.22 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. In 20 games at Triple-A, he is 1-1 with a 1.90 ERA. Over 23 2/3 innings he has allowed 16 hits with six walks, 25 strikeouts and 0.93 WHIP.

The scout said he throws from a low 3/4 arm slot that is almost sidearm. He is a two-seam-sinker-slider-type pitcher with a fastball that sits at 95, 96 mph.

Juan Rojas is an 18-year-old lefty from Venezuela who was pitching for the Twins in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League. In eight games he was 1-3 with a 3.60 ERA with four walks to 38 strikeouts. The Twins signed him as an international free agent on March 5, 2021, and he fanned 10 over four innings July 12 versus the Pirates.

Rojas’ fastball has topped at 93 mph and he also throws a slider, cutter and changeup. The slider has been a good pitch for him. 

Righty Juan Nuñez, 21, comes from the Dominican Republic and was signed by the Twins on Nov. 14, 2019. In eight games this season in the FCL, he is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA. Over 29 2/3 innings he has allowed 27 hits with 10 walks to 47 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP.

Nuñez averages 94 mph with his fastball and also features a slider and changeup.

The Orioles have assigned Povich to high Single-A Aberdeen and optioned Canó to Triple-A Norfolk. The younger pitchers both will join their FCL teams.

Orioles and Rangers lineups (and notes)
Orioles acquire four players from Twins for López ...

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