The Baltimore Orioles have had a rough start to the year, but pitcher David Hess represents a glimmer of hope in the organization.
A 7-20 start to the Baltimore Orioles season has been far from ideal. Going into the year, we knew that the Baltimore Orioles had the toughest schedule in the majors for April as they would play all of the teams that made the American League playoffs in 2017.
The biggest disappointment last season was how poor the rotation was. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are the two anchors of the rotation performing well enough to give the team a fighting chance. This off-season led to the signings of Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb. Cashner has had quality outings despite a poor recent start on April 28.
Cobb has been far from what was advertised considering he is still warming up and has not had a proper spring training. Chris Tillman was re-signed given his long track record with the Baltimore Orioles and the hopes that he could return to form. His first few outings were not pleasant however in his most recent outing he was able to deliver seven shutout innings against Detroit, earning him and the team a victory.
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Given that the team could still use help in the rotation if certain hopes do not come together in time, there is a remaining spark in an area yet to be tapped in the organization. David Hess represents a new hope and is close to making his mark in majors with the Orioles.
David Hess was drafted by the Orioles in the 5th round in 2014 out of Tennessee Tech. In a draft where the Orioles had forfeited their 1st and 2nd picks due to the signings of Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, Hess was one of the prized pitchers for the Baltimore Orioles in that draft.
After being drafted, he made his way to Delmarva in his first season and would start in Frederick in his first full season. In Frederick, Hess would produce an ERA of 3.58 and 1.23 WHIP over 133 and one-third innings.
Towards the end of 2015, he was promoted to Double-A Bowie in 2015 and would help the Baysox win the Eastern League Championship. 2016 would prove to be a rough patch for the right-hander as he would struggle and end the year with a 5.37 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. In his second stint in Bowie, Hess would bring the ERA down to 3.85 and a 1.23 WHIP and earn the promotion to Norfolk to begin 2018.
The Baltimore Orioles saw great potential in Hess as he does possess an above-average fastball and slider. His curveball and changeup are average pitches. Hess was protected by the Baltimore Orioles as he was added to the 40 man roster.
David Hess has continued his fire and gone off to an enormous start with a 1.02 ERA in 4 starts totaling 17 and two-thirds innings with 16 strikeouts. In his most recent start on April 28, Hess pitched six innings giving up one run, three walks, and three strikeouts.
A baseball season is quite long and susceptible to injuries and a range of performances. If Chris Tillman is unable to show consistency as a starter or an injury happens to one of the rotation members, David Hess will most certainly receive a call to fill in the void. Keep an eye out for David Hess as I believe he will be part of the rotation come season end.