If anyone was worried about right-hander Grayson Rodriguez when he recently gave up eight runs over 7 1/3 innings about two and a half weeks ago in back-to-back starts versus Gwinnett, call off the dogs.
No reason for worry, concern or anything of the sort.
Right now the opposite is true. After his latest outing last night - a dominant performance at Charlotte - the best pitching prospect in baseball is rolling again. He looked like the top-of-the-line Grayson last night as I watched on MiLB.TV.
Is it crazy to say after just eight Triple-A starts that he looked like a pitcher that is ready for his Major League debut?
He did look like that last night at Charlotte. If the Orioles wanted to pitch him on Sunday at home versus the Tampa Bay Rays, I could see strong logic to do just that. Why waste more bullets as they say at the Triple-A level?
His latest final line showed an outing that went 5 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on three hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts. He had six strikeouts through three and nine through four.
The Orioles have been careful with this kid, and in my humble opinion, set him up to now come to the big leagues and have the chance to have instant success. If he doesn’t have early success, his poise and demeanor can handle the ups and downs. But with his talent, maybe there won’t be many early on.
His pitch counts over his eight starts: 61, 67, 76, 77, 67, 82, 81 and last night a season-high 87. A careful and well-thought out buildup for him that has just about completed his minor league development.
Grayson is 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA for the year. Over 37 1/3 innings he has allowed 25 hits with 13 walks, 57 strikeouts, an opponent average of .189 and a WHIP of 1.02.
Via Statcast data from last night, his four-seam fastball averaged 96.2 mph and topped at 98.7. His two-seamer averaged 97.5, topping at 99.2 mph. He got whiffs on 20 of 44 swings against him, getting seven on 12 sliders and seven on 15 offerings at his changeup.
He showed velocity, his usual poise, he got swings and misses with all his pitches and he extended his pitch count. He even covered third base on a flare to left field to get what turned out to be his final out of the evening. He was doing it all. Had they let him bat, he might have produced 100 mph exit velocity. He sure wasn’t giving up any of that though from the mound.
Over his last three starts he has allowed one run and eight hits over 15 2/3 innings with eight walks to 24 strikeouts.
I’m no scout, but I see a pitcher that is ready. He’s thrown less than 40 Triple-A innings but I don’t see him needing any more. His Triple-A numbers from this year match or exceed what he did last summer in Double-A. His ERA is almost the same, his K rate is a bit better, and his homer rate is much better.
Is it already Grayson time in Baltimore?
More from a big night on the farm: Norfolk won that Grayson start 4-1 over Charlotte as Kyle Stowers and Adley Rutschman hit two-run homers. Rutschman's blast had an exit velocity of 112.6 mph per Statcast.
Double-A Bowie lost again, 7-3 to Hartford, but Gunnar Henderson hit two home runs and has six for the season. He is batting .301 with an OPS of 1.002.
High Single-A Aberdeen continues with the best record in all of minor league baseball at 25-7 after beating Rome 4-2. Jacob Teter hit a two-run homer and César Prieto, who has an OPS of 1.071, added an RBI double. The IronBirds have won five in a row, nine of 10 and 15 of their last 17 games.
Low Single-A Delmarva beat Fredericksburg 5-3 as Isaac Bellony hit a two-run homer (No. 5) and Isaac De Leon hit a solo shot (No. 2).