So with two Orioles’ first-round draft picks in Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy in their projected starting rotation, how do the Birds fare against the rest of the majors in producing homegrown starters?
For this story, we define a homegrown starter as a pitcher that was drafted and developed or originally signed as an international amateur by the club it now starts for. We are not counting players signed out of other pro leagues, such as a player a team adds that has already pitched professionally (in Japan, for instance).
We used the website rosterresource.com and its depth charts and projected rotations for this story. All of this, of course, is subject to change.
Well, the Orioles are one of 16 major league teams with two or more homegrown starters. No club has more than three. The Orioles are one of five teams that have produced two first-round draft picks that are homegrown starting pitchers.
Chicago (1): Carlos Rodon
Cleveland (2): Josh Tomlin, Danny Salazar
Detroit (1): Justin Verlander
Kansas City (2): Matt Strahm, Danny Duffy
Minnesota (2): Kyle Gibson, Jose Berrios
Houston (2): Lance McCullers, Dallas Keuchel
Los Angeles (2): Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker
Oakland (1): Sonny Gray
Seattle (2): Felix Hernandez, James Paxton
Texas (1): Martin Perez
In the AL, there are 23 projected homegrown starters. Nine teams, including the Orioles, have two or more.
Atlanta (1): Julio Teheran
Miami (2): Tom Koehler
New York (3): Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom
Philadelphia (1): Aaron Nola
Washington (1): Stephen Strasburg
Cincinnati (2): Homer Bailey, Robert Stephenson
Milwaukee (1): Wily Peralta
Pittsburgh (3): Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl
St. Louis (3): Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez
Colorado (3): Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis
Los Angeles (2): Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias
San Diego (0)
San Francisco (2): Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain
In the National League, there are 23 projected homegrown starting pitchers. Seven teams have two or more.
There are no teams that have four or five such starting pitchers. There are four teams that have produced three (all in the NL), 12 teams that have produced two and 10 teams that have one. There are four teams (including the World Series champion Cubs) that currently have no homegrown starters in their projected starting rotations for 2017.
Sadly, the list of teams producing three homegrown starters was reduced by one Sunday with the death of Kansas City pitcher Yordano Ventura in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic. He was originally signed by the Royals out of the Dominican in 2008.
In Gausman and Bundy, not only do the Orioles have two homegrown starters, but two first-round draft picks, as well. There are two other AL teams with two first-round picks in their rotation - Toronto and Minnesota. Toronto’s Sanchez was a supplemental first-rounder, taken No. 34 overall in 2010. Same with Berrios of the Twins, taken No. 32 in 2012.
Counting supplemental picks also, there are five NL teams with two first-round picks in their rotations. They are the Cardinals (Lynn and Wacha), Pirates (Cole and Taillon), Reds (Bailey and Stephenson), Giants (Bumgarner and Cain) and Rockies (Gray and Anderson).
The likely AL East favorite Boston Red Sox are the only AL team without a single homegrown starter. The Sox’s starting five right now includes a pitcher acquired through free agency in David Price and four added through trades in Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz and Steve Wright. Former Oriole Eduardo Rodgriguez also has a shot at the Boston rotation.
While the Red Sox might love to have a mostly homegrown rotation, no doubt they used some of their own players in the trades to acquire Sale and others. You can make your farm system work for you in trades, too. So in that sense, their farm did contribute to their rotation.
Speaking of former Orioles, there are three in the National League that are projected in rotations that were originally drafted and signed by the Orioles in Pittsburgh’s Steven Brault, Milwaukee’s Zach Davies and the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta. An 11th-round pick of the Orioles in 2013, Brault and fellow lefty Stephen Tarpley were sent to Pittsburgh for outfielder Travis Snider before the 2015 season. A 26th-round pick of the Orioles in 2011, Davies was traded to the Brewers for outfielder Gerardo Parra on July 31, 2015. The club’s fifth-round pick in 2007, Arrieta was traded to the Cubs in July of 2013. After years of struggles with the Orioles, he won the National League Cy Young Award in 2015.
Obviously Parra and Snider did little to ever help the Orioles, while Brault, Arrieta and Davies could contribute to their current teams for years. The knock on Davies was his slight build and lack of a big fastball, yet he is 14-9 with a 3.92 ERA in 34 career big league starts. If Brault, Davies and Rodriguez do make rotations this season, that would make six homegrown Orioles starting in the majors, but just two in Baltimore.
In the end, having two first-round draft picks in their rotation is a nice thing for the O’s organization and a farm system that has been often criticized for not developing pitchers. But the bottom line is to have the best rotation possible, and if you win enough, most fans (maybe every single one) won’t really care where you got those pitchers.