Talk about making a nice first impression. And a second one too. On Aug. 2, the Orioles traded closer Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins for a package of four pitching prospects, the headliner of which was lefty Cade Povich.
The 22-year-old Povich was assigned to high Single-A Aberdeen. In his first IronBirds outing, he pitched six scoreless innings on one hit. In his second he threw six scoreless again, this time on three hits.
When he took the mound for Aberdeen for the first time on Aug. 6 at Ripken Stadium against Wilmington, he struck out the first five batters he faced and had a no-hitter going through 5 2/3 innings. He finished with eight strikeouts and no walks.
He went from being a bit stunned in hearing he was traded to showing his new organization they may have gotten a good one.
“It was a bit shocking,” Povich told me recently about hearing about the deal. “You think you will be one of those guys with one team your whole career and you hear that when you are younger. Kind of crazy then to be part of a trade. Once everything calms down you have to look at the bigger picture. Someone wanted you enough to trade for you and it was for a good closer, so pretty big deal.”
Povich is in his first full season of pro ball after the Twins selected him in 2021 in round three (No. 98 overall) of the MLB Draft out of Nebraska. Before the trade, he was ranked as Minnesota’s No. 21 prospect per Baseball America and No. 22 via MLBPipeline.com. With the Orioles he is No. 26 on MLBPipeline and No. 29 by BA.
On Monday, pitchers Povich and Chayce McDermott from the Trey Mancini deal were promoted from Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie as Bowie pitchers Drew Rom and Ryan Watson moved up to Triple-A.
So, Povich allowed four hits over 12 scoreless for Aberdeen with two walks to 15 strikeouts. He throws a fastball that often sits 92, 93 mph touching 95 and 96 with a slider, curve, changeup and cutter. He’s been described as a polished college drafted pitcher with a lot of weapons.
Povich said he was not too nervous when pitching for his new organization.
“Not really. Just was trying to get to know everybody and get to know about the Orioles system and they are trying to get to know me a little bit. It is always nice to make a good impression right away. Just trying to be myself,” he said.
What does he consider his best secondary?
“I would say probably the slider. It can also depend on the day and what is landing in the zone best. You are not going to have everything every day,” he said.
Scouting reports say that Povich is topping out with his fastball now with more velocity than he showed in college and he said that is accurate.
“I think a little bit of that was being able to focus fully on pitching and baseball this last year,” he said. “Just focused on getting in the weight room and getting stronger and learning how my body moves. You know (figure out) what best suits me and my mechanics to be as efficient as possible.
“When I was younger I wasn’t always the hardest thrower so had to learn to command the zone and control the run game. And when and how to attack hitters with more than fastballs. That help me then and led me to kind of the pitcher I am now.”
But he still has a career strikeout rate of 12.6 per nine. He gets plenty of swings and misses. He seems to indicate that his ability to scout opponents and think the game on the mound is about as important as the stuff he has to fan those batters.
“I think part of it is being able to read what is going on in the moment and what the hitters are looking for. Kind of seeing if there is anything he is giving away that he is looking for the pitch before or the at-bat before. Being able to catch them off guard and do stuff they are not expecting or looking for,” said Povich.
O's get series opener: In beating Toronto 7-3 Monday night, the Orioles picked up an important series-opening win at Rogers Centre. They moved to 60-55 and are playing .643 ball (36-20) since June 11. That is a 104-win pace.
Ryan McKenna had three hits and two doubles and Ryan Mountcastle hit another homer against Toronto, a two-run shot in the third. It was No. 16 this year for Mountcastle and his fifth in seven games versus the Blue Jays this year. Mountcastle had homered just once in his past 31 games.
O's starter Kyle Bradish allowed three runs over 4 2/3. But the bullpen of Bryan Baker, Dillon Tate, Cionel Perez and Felix Bautista pitched 4 1/3 scoreless.
The Orioles, who went 5-14 last year against Toronto, are now 5-2 versus the Blue Jays this year, including a 3-2 mark at Rogers Centre.