Os protect Wilson and Wright
BALTIMORE— The Orioles protected pitchers Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright from the Rule 5 Draft, adding both right-handers to the 40-man roster before Thursday’s midnight deadline.
The moves, coupled with the waiver claim of outfielder Alex Hassan earlier in the day, puts the O’s 40-man roster at 37 and leaves several notable prospects —including catcher Brian Ward and pitchers Parker Bridwell and Mychal Givens unprotected.
What makes them eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter? Any player not on a team’s 40-man roster who was signed at age-19 or older and has been in the organization for four-plus years, or was signed at age-18 or younger and has been in the organization for five-plus years is eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft. If selected in the Major League portion of the Draft, that player must remain on the 25-man roster of his new team for the whole season or be offered back to the original club.
Wilson and Wright were like locks to be added to the 40-man roster, with both generating outside interest from other clubs and believed to be Major League-caliber arms. Wilson had a breakout season of sorts, going 14-8 with a 3.67 combined ERA at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. A former 10th-round selection, he’s a scrappy pitcher who scouts describe as smart on the mound, and he earned the Orioles’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.
Wright had a less successful campaign, but Baltimore believes the potential is still there, despite an 5-11 record with a 4.61 ERA at Norfolk. A part of big league Spring Training each of the past two years, it was hard to envision the Orioles not protecting him.
Bridwell and Givens each have upside, and they have steadily climbed the ranks in the O’s organization. Bridwell went 7-10 with a 4.45 ERA at Class A Advanced Frederick, but he has shown flashes of dominance, and he has a fastball that hits the mid-90s. Givens is a converted infielder who had a solid showing (3.09 ERA) as a reliever in this year’s Arizona Fall League.
Ward has progressed considerably on the defensive end, and he’s well thought of in the organization for his abilities to control the opponents’ running game. But the Orioles have four catchers on their current 40-man roster — Matt Wieters, Caleb Joseph, Steve Clevenger and Michael Ohlman — which made it tough to justify adding Ward.