Grayson Rodriguez was destined to pass through Aberdeen.
Five dominant starts became his limit.
The Orioles are promoting Rodriguez, their top pitching prospect, from the Single-A IronBirds to Double-A Bowie.
Rodriguez, the 11th overall selection in the 2018 draft, is the organization’s No. 2 prospect per MLBPipeline.com. He threw 23 1/3 innings with Aberdeen, which moved to full-season status in 2021, and allowed only four runs and 11 hits with five walks and 40 strikeouts.
Rodriguez is 13-6 with a 2.30 ERA and 0.973 WHIP in 34 minor league games, and he joins a Baysox roster that also includes top prospect Adley Rutschman, No. 4 DL Hall, No. 7 Mike Baumann and No. 10 Terrin Vavra.
Kyle Bradish, who’s rated 12th, was bumped last weekend from Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk.
The last Bowie gathering that included Rodriguez came at the alternate camp site. Now he’s going to pitch in actual games at the next level.
During Wednesday’s Zoom call with the media, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias stated that the Orioles were going to make “more big-name moves” in the next week or two.
They could shift from conservative to aggressive.
“Very, very unique circumstance this year having the (minor league) season cancelled,” Elias. “First and foremost, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t missing anything. We just hadn’t seen these guys play real games for a while. So despite the incredible talent that some of these players have, we on the whole erred toward lower assignments with the idea that, if we felt that they were ready, we would start challenging them.
“That’s what we did with Kyle Bradish, who really missed the year that he normally would have been in Double-A, although he was at our alt site. So we’re continuing to look at that. We’ve seen some really encouraging stuff so far. We’ve got an incredibly talented group of young pitchers. Keeping them healthy during this two-year coronavirus calendar is going to be a challenge, and it’s something that’s at the forefront of all our minds.
“I think that normally a month of minor league play you take with a grain of salt, but in a lot of ways this is the first data that we’ve gotten on some of these guys in well over a year and we’ve got to react to it, probably, a little more aggressively than we might otherwise.”
Rutschman, the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, is batting .246/.441/.464 with three doubles, four home runs, 13 RBIs and 21 walks in 20 games. Hall, the 21st overall in 2017, has a 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .175 average against in four starts.
The Baysox are hosting Harrisburg this weekend. Rodriguez’s first start will come next week when the Baysox are in Hartford.