Though the Baltimore Orioles have 32 pitchers (counting Yoon) in the big league camp for spring training, a logical thought process through the names yields a fairly certain list as to who will break camp with the big team. Some of the younger players have no real shot this time around, but they are being given the experience to enhance their future. Others are definitive long-shots, to see if they can catch fire in some way or at least be available at AAA as the first round of inevitable replacements.
The Orioles will keep 12 pitchers – five starters and seven in the bullpen. So, barring injury, assuming Suk-min Yoon passes his physical and joins the team, and that no other additions are made, who will these players be?
Zach Britton and Josh Stinson are out of options and there is no way they would pass through waivers, so they will make the team. And Alfredo Aceves and Suk-min Yoon are not being brought in to not ultimately have on the roster.
So it seems to me that, barring health issues or one of these aforementioned pitchers simply having a dreadful spring, there is the 12-man staff for going north. So this does not look good for Kelvin De La Cruz and Edgmer Escalona – who are out of options. (Troy Patton is also out of options but is on the suspended list.)
Those pitchers with an option remaining are Brad Brach, Liam Hendriks, Steve Johnson, Darren O’Day and Ryan Webb. The first three will have to pitch incredibly well to force their way onto the roster, whereas the last two will have to pitch their way off the 25-man with a disastrous spring training.
Of the 12 mentioned above, the most vulnerable is Aceves. He will have to put up some good numbers. And so it would seem to me that, again, barring the unforeseen things like injuries, there really is but one place up for grabs.
The position player situation is far more complicated – involving the entire LF/DH scenario, second base and utility infielder, Machado’s health for day one, and backup catcher. I’m going to wait a while before talking about that.