Is Wojciechowski a lock for 2020 rotation?

Early projections on the Orioles opening day rotation can’t be completed unless you ignore how they’re likely to sign at least one cost-friendly veteran, similar to last year’s additions of Nate Karns and Dan Straily.

They’ll just pray for better results.

The top third is easy except for an exact order. Left-hander John Means and right-handers Dylan Bundy and Alex Cobb are expected to occupy those spots - barring any trades, of course.

Wojciechowski-Throws-White-TEX-Sidebar.jpgHas Asher Wojciechowski earned more than just consideration as the No. 4 or 5?

The Orioles acquired Wojciechowki from the Indians on July 1 in a cash transaction and he went 4-8 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.312 WHIP in 17 games, including 16 starts. With injuries and failed experiments destroying them, they were desperate to fill out the rotation.

Wojciechowki gave them a solid finish with six scoreless innings in Boston and only four runs allowed in his last three starts over 15 1/3 innings. But he exceeded five innings only once in the last four appearances, the fatigue taking its toll on him.

His season hit the high notes and took some massive dips. There was the July 21 start against the Red Sox with only one hit allowed and 10 strikeouts in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, followed by two runs and three hits surrendered over seven innings in Anaheim.

You don’t maintain that level of production and end the season with a 4.92 ERA and 1.312 WHIP.

Wojciechowski allowed nine runs and 12 hits with six walks and five home runs over 8 2/3 innings in his next two starts, then held the Astros to three runs over six innings on Aug. 11.

The top three batters in the lineup posted a .336 (41-for-122) average against Wojciechowski with 10 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 19 RBIs and 11 walks. The fourth-through-ninth hitters batted .194 (39-for-201) with seven doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 17 walks.

Wojciechowski struck out 54 batters in his first nine starts, putting him in line behind Gene Brabender (55), Kevin Brown (57), Jack Harshman (58) and Hoyt Wilhelm (60) for the highest total in Orioles history.

He has the longest last name in club history, eclipsing Arnie Portocarrero, who pitched for the Orioles from 1958-60.

I don’t think any of the above leads the Orioles to hand Wojciechowski the job next spring, especially the length-of-name thing. But he’s deserving of a chance to compete for it.

Put him in the running, which is how I expect it to play out.

Keegan Akin is expected to crack the rotation at some point after the Orioles place him on the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft. He might not break camp with the team, but it’s counting on him to debut this summer.

Akin is profiling as the next pitching prospect to reach the majors. He made 24 starts among 25 appearances at Triple-A Norfolk and went 6-7 with a 4.73 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 131 strikeouts and 10 home runs surrendered in 112 1/3 innings. He registered a 3.95 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and .242 average against in 12 games at Harbor Park, and a 5.53 ERA, 1.66 WHIP and .263 average-against in 13 games on the road.

The expectation is that Akin’s splits in 2020 will include games pitched at Camden Yards.

Today’s question: Which prospects do you anticipate seeing in Baltimore next season?

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