Prospect profile: Now on 40-man, Andrew Triggs could help O’s ‘pen next year

The Orioles added three pitchers to their 40-man roster on Nov. 20 when they selected the contracts of right-handers Parker Bridwell and Andrew Triggs and left-hander Chris Lee. The additions kept the trio from being taken in the Rule 5 draft and moved them one step closer to the big leagues.

Of the three, Triggs might have the best chance to impact the Orioles roster in 2016 as he is a reliever and the other two are starters. They could certainly be moved to the bullpen to help, but Triggs is already doing the job there and doing it very well.

Triggs began spring training last year with the Kansas City Royals. On the last day of camp, just as he was about to head to the Royals’ Double-A team, he got the word he had been traded to the Orioles for cash considerations. Now he was heading to Double-A Bowie.

The 26-year-old Triggs went 0-2 with a 1.03 ERA, 70 strikeouts in 61 innings and 17-for-17 in save opportunities for the Baysox. He posted the lowest walks per nine innings (1.48) and ranked fifth with a 10.33 strikeouts per nine among Eastern League relievers. He pitches with an almost sidearm delivery and got out both left-handed (.218 average against) and right-handed (.184) hitters.

Triggs-Throws-Bowie.jpg“I would say it is a low three-quarters arm slot and I kind of have one of those crossfire deliveries,” Triggs said. “I can’t really explain where it came from, it is just kind of how I’ve always thrown.

“I’m willing to pitch in any role whatsoever. Once we lost Mychal Givens to Baltimore last season, I kind of slotted into that role of closing games. Earlier in the year, I really did enjoy stretching out and throwing multiple innings. I was a starter in college, so I am used to going more innings. I can pitch in any role where I can be useful to the organization.”

Drafted in Round 19 by Kansas City in 2012 out of USC, Triggs was a Double-A Texas League All-Star in 2014. Now, that trade to Baltimore has worked out well for Triggs. While he left an organization that won the World Series, he joined one that just might give him his first big league chance.

“I can’t say anything but positive stuff about the people I was with on the Royals. I’ve been blessed to play with two fantastic organizations. I feel so fortunate that the Orioles have given me this opportunity. They took a chance on me in April and hopefully I can prove them right,” Triggs said.

Triggs throws a two-seam and four-seam fastball, which touches the low 90s mph, sometimes a bit more. He had not thrown the four-seamer since high school, but brought it back this season to compliment his sinker. He also throws a cut fastball, slider and changeup.

“He had a really good year, really consistent,” Bowie manager Gary Kendall said. “You know here is a right-hander that throws from the side, and often the splits from that arm slot are usually better against right-handers, but he has the ability to get left-handers out just as well.

“He sinks the ball and has a good sweeping slider that he usually keeps down and he changes speeds. He pitches average to a touch better with his fastball. But for the most part, it’s about where he locates the ball and he has good life to his fastball.”

In 152 minor league games over four seasons, Triggs is 11-9 with an ERA of 2.02 and .218 average against. In 236 innings, he has walked just 51 with 232 strikeouts and allowed just seven homers. That walk rate is just 1.94 for every nine innings.

As for his first season with the Orioles, he rather liked it. It ended with a championship.

“I loved it. It was great,” Triggs said. “Coming in, not having been in spring training, you are like the new kid in school who transfers in after Christmas break. Winning the Eastern League championship this year was amazing. There wasn’t anything more satisfying in my career so far, seeing that from end to end, all the way from April all the way to September. It was fun to share it with those guys.”

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