Parker Bridwell - SP, LAA
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Bridwell has long been a work in progress. Prior to being selected by Baltimore in the ninth round of the 2010 draft, he had barely pitched in his life and – by his own admission – knew almost nothing about the craft.
His progression as a pro is reflective of this reality. Things weren't always pretty for the right-hander in the early going, as he struggled with control problems while posting ugly numbers through his first few years in the Orioles system. But over time he gradually improved and by the time he was 24 he was debuting in the majors, making a couple of relief appearances for the O's last August.
Those didn't go especially well, and by this April the Orioles were ready to move on, dealing Bridwell to the Angels for basically nothing shortly after the start of the season. Now, the righty is getting another chance in the big leagues and taking advantage.
By the end of his tenure in Baltimore's organization, Bridwell had essentially moved to full-time relief duty, but the Halos decided to give him another look as a starter. He has looked solid in that capacity at Triple-A, and is now showing some nice signs in the majors.
In six starts with the Angels this season, Bridwell has a 3.50 ERA and 26-to-11 K/BB ratio over 36 innings. His last two turns have been particularly impressive, as the righty has held Minnesota and Tampa to two runs over 12 1/3 innings. He's showing solid velocity, mixing his pitches well and missing some bats. In his latest turn against the Rays he induced a whopping 18 swings and misses on 96 pitches, en route to eight strikeouts.
The Angels, hurting for rotation depth with several starters out, aren't likely to move away from him any time soon with the way he is going. Let's see if the progress can continue.
Chris O'Grady - SP, MIA
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Mired in fourth place with a record well below .500, the Marlins are at that point in the season where they're focused completely on the big picture.
As the deadline approaches, this partially means rebuilding through seller moves – names like Dee Gordon and Dan Straily have been mentioned as possible chips. It also means taking a long look at younger internal options who might be factors going forward.
One such player is O'Grady, the 27-year-old southpaw signed out of free agency in late April after being released by the Angels.
It's not the first time the former 10th-round pick's talent has intrigued another club. The Reds selected O'Grady in the Rule 5 draft in December of 2015, but returned him late in spring training. He went on to enjoy a good 2016 campaign between Double-A and Triple-A in the Anaheim system, but they still let him go early this year.
Miami snagged him and has since seen good results. O'Grady pitched very well with Class-AAA New Orleans, posting a 3.29 ERA while holding opponents to a .219 average in 12 appearances (nine starts). A particularly strong run of five straight quality starts as June transitioned to July, during which he posted a 1.50 ERA and 30-to-7 K/BB ratio over 30 innings, led to his first big-league call-up.
In his MLB debut in San Francisco on July 8th, O'Grady was decent though unspectacular, allowing three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a win. On Sunday, he followed up against the NL's toughest team, tossing five innings of three-run ball against the Dodgers. He struck out six and walked two.
The left-hander has not been great in his first couple looks against MLB competition but he has held his own, and certainly hasn't been overwhelmed by the challenge. He figures to keep getting chances in the second half as the Marlins assess what they have. He's a crafty soft-tosser with a limited ceiling, but such player types often seem to outperform their stuff, especially early on when the league is unfamiliar.