After strong 2018, Paul Fry may be fixture in the bullpen

He began the 2018 season pitching well in the bullpen at Double-A Bowie and ended the year pitching well in the Baltimore bullpen. He may have found a home in that ‘pen and projects as a key member of the 2019 Orioles.

It was quite a ride during the season for left-hander Paul Fry. He spent about six weeks with Bowie, about five with Triple-A Norfolk and then got a late June call to Baltimore, and never went back to the minors.

Three levels in one season.

Fry-Throws-Black-Sidebar.jpg“I didn’t really expect it (to get to the majors), starting in Bowie,” Fry said during the season’s final series. “I think it has to do with confidence and just the mental side. And learning how to attack guys and pitch at this level. I know my stuff plays here, it’s just all between the ears now.”

Yep, Fry rode a strong mental game to big league success. Not to mention some strong pitches. He pitched in 35 games with the Orioles and went 1-2 with a 3.35 ERA. In 37 2/3 innings, he allowed just one home run, walked 15 and fanned 35, and gave up a .236 average against.

He got his first save on Sept. 16 versus the White Sox, and his first win on the final day of the year against Houston. He let just six of 30 inherited runners score. That 20 percent rate was the best on the Orioles.

He told me the early success he had in the majors - with a 0.84 ERA after 10 games - was huge for him.

“I always think about how I started here and I got off to a good start,” Fry said. “And any time I struggle or have command issues, I just think about that. I go with the confidence I had then and it works out.”

Fry’s 35 appearances after his debut on June 29 were the most by an Orioles reliever. He held opponents to a .286 slugging percentage, good for ninth-best among American League relievers and fifth-best among AL lefty relievers (minimum 35 appearances).

Over the years, numerous young pitchers have explained to me there is one level of learning you can get in the minors and it is important. But there is another level you can only get in the majors. Fry said that is true.

“You know, it’s just a different atmosphere overall,” he said. “Guys in the minors, they can be frustrated all the time. I know we get frustrated here too, but you have to realize that this is something big and it’s your career. You have to do something positive every day. I’ve learned how to scout better here, I’ve learned how to prepare better here.”

And he learned something else as the season went on and after the July trades: Mychal Givens is turning into the leader of the new-look Orioles ‘pen.

“We’ve gotten solid leadership from our closer, Mychal Givens. He’s taken me under his wing and I really like that. He talks to me all the time,” Fry said. “If I have a bad outing, he just tells me, ‘Keep pitching and doing what you do.’ I like having that help. He tells me to stay confident, be aggressive and don’t shy away from anything.”

Check out these links: The Miami Marlins have some fans in Birdland rather concerned. They made their second trade in four days on Wednesday and now have a better shot, it would seem, at acquiring Victor Victor Mesa. Read the Miami take on that here.

Click here for notes on the New York Mets’ GM search. Some names on their list could surface as possibilities for the Orioles. Ben Cherington has said he won’t interview for this job. New York reporters say Dan Duquette will not be asked to interview with the Mets.

Despite his many playoff struggles over the years - including this year in the Division Series - the Boston Red Sox will pitch David Price in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series versus Houston.

In this clip from “The Michael Kay Show” on the YES Network, the hosts like the Yankees’ use of analytics, but they don’t like them all the time:

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