The Orioles were quite impressed with Mychal Givens. Barely two years after he converted from a light hitting infielder, Givens made it to the major leagues as a reliever.
Givens didn’t just make it. He fit comfortably into the bullpen, and performed admirably, perhaps even brilliantly.
In 22 games, Givens was 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He allowed just one home run in 30 innings and struck out 38 batters while walking just six.
Givens was good at stranding inherited runners, too. He allowed just two of 16 to score.
Can he sustain this over a full season?
With Darren O’Day a possible departure over the winter, could Givens become the setup man for Zach Britton?
The Orioles would probably want a more experienced pitcher in that role for next season, but if O’Day leaves and they don’t get anyone better, Givens may be given a shot.
His 22 games is about one-third the workload that manager Buck Showalter would normally assign for a reliever, and in every single outing, Givens pitched at least a full inning. Four times, he pitched two.
Look how far Givens has come.
In 2009, he was picked in the second round of the draft as an infielder, and in his first three years in the Orioles organization, he batted .247 and just six home runs.
By 2012, Givens was struck in Delmarva and made 25 errors at shortstop in 89 games.
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After his conversion to the mound, Givens went back to the Shorebirds in 2013, and showed some promise. People started talking about him in 2014 when he split the season between Frederick and Bowie.
In 2015, Givens improved markedly under Baysox pitching coach Alan Mills, going 4-2 with a 1.73 ERA. By August, after two brief looks in Baltimore and returns to Bowie, he was with the Orioles to stay.
He pitched little enough in 2015 so that Givens is still a rookie, but pitched well enough that he fit in like a veteran.
Givens and Brad Brach will be important parts of the 2016 bullpen, and perhaps for years to come.
Lost in the midst of the Orioles’ qualifying offers to Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters was the news that Chris Jones had been added to the 40-man roster.
Jones, who was acquired by the Orioles in Apr. 2013 from Atlanta for Luis Ayala, was a valuable left-hander for Norfolk this season.
He started 22 times and relieved eight, and is an outside possibility to break camp with the team next season.
Jones may not be the only left-hander added to the 40-man roster. Christopher Lee, who like Jones and Givens, went to high school in Tampa, impressed during his brief time at Bowie.
After his acquisition from Houston, Lee was 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA at Frederick and 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in seven starts with the Baysox. In 145 minor league innings, Lee allowed just two home runs in 2015.