Lefty Nick Vespi gets the big league call

A long road finally ended for left-handed reliever Nick Vespi today. Now that he got on the road, he will try to stay on it.

But it’s a great day in the life of this eighth-year Oriole.

The Orioles selected Vespi in the 18th round of the 2015 draft and he saw all the stops on the O’s farm along the way over 149 games. Two years in short-season ball and three years at low Single-A Delmarva. Just when he was ready to make a move up, the season was cancelled in 2020. But after pitching to an ERA of 4.19 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021, Vespi really elevated his game this year with an ERA of 0.00 for Norfolk over 12 games.

Now he is finally in the major leagues.

The club selected his contract today from the Tides and he will wear No. 79. In a corresponding move, lefty Logan Allen was designated for assignment.

“This day is amazing,” Vespi said, surrounded by reporters this afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse. “I’ve been working on this day since 2015 and so I’m excited it’s finally here. I’m extremely excited. It’s cool that I’m facing the Yankees. I’m just ready to be in there and do what I can to help this team win. I just stuck to the same game plan I’ve had in years past and it worked for me this year.  So, going to continue to do that. I’m just attacking the zone with my all pitches. There is no secret to it. That is what I’ve been doing and it’s been working.”

Vespi, 26, has thrown 14 1/3 innings for Norfolk allowing six hits and three unearned runs. He walked three and fanned 21 with a WHIP of 0.63 and a .128 batting average against.

He sure earned the call after spending some time in big league camp in March for the first time.

“It was awesome. A great experience. A lot of the veteran guys helped me down there. Got the work in, got to Triple-A and now we’re here,” he said of his spring experience.

In Norfolk, Adley Rutschman was among those catching him and now he beat the No. 1 prospect in baseball to Baltimore.

“Adley is awesome. He is exactly what the Orioles want out of him. I’m excited for him to be up here soon too,” Vespi said.

Vespi went to the Arizona Fall League after last season and went 3-1 with an ERA of 2.51 in 10 games with seven walks to 17 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings.

A winter scouting report on him said his fastball features some good natural cut and it ranges from 88 to 92 mph. His slider can be a plus pitch. He threw a changeup earlier in his career when he was a starter but now features mostly three pitches with fastball, slider and curve.

He was asked today who stuck with him and supported him the most along his lengthy journey to reach this point?

“You know my parents. They’ve been there obviously since day one. They kept me motivated, kept me focused. I’ve had a lot of coaches. Honestly, shout out to Wilson Alvarez. He helped me out a lot in the GCL (Gulf Coast League) and Justin Ramsey (current Tides pitching coach) as well just to get to this point ... You know, it’s a lot of mixed emotions. I’m sure it will set in after tonight’s game. Or when I get in there. Right now I’m still a little numb. But I’m sure it will set in soon," said Vespi. 

The Orioles added two relievers today when it was later announced that right-hander Logan Gillaspie was recalled from Norfolk and Rylan Bannon was optioned back to the Tides.

And outfielder Austin Hays returns to the lineup tonight, batting second and playing in left field. 


Orioles recall Gillaspie and option Bannon (plus l...
Nick Vespi joins Orioles bullpen

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