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Orioles reportedly plan to recall top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez

The talented young righty, who struggled mightily in his first taste of the Majors this spring, will get another shot after dominating at Triple-A.

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Rogers Centre.  Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Grayson Rodriguez’s first taste of the Majors didn’t go as planned, but he’ll be getting another crack at it this week. The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly set to recall baseball’s top pitching prospect from Triple-A, with eyes on starting him on Monday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baltimore’s first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of high school, Rodriguez entered the year as the consensus top pitching prospect in all of baseball after years of laying waste to the Minor Leagues. He didn’t make the Major League roster out of spring training, but an injury to Kyle Bradish opened up a rotation spot, and the team called him up for his MLB debut in early April. Things ... did not go so well: The righty got lit up to the tune of a 7.35 ERA and .956 OPS over 10 starts.

It got particularly ugly towards the end of May, as Rodriguez gave up eight earned runs twice in a three-start span. He wasn’t fooling anyone, and with the O’s in the midst of a dogfight in the AL East, the team sent him back down to Triple-A to get his command (and his confidence) back. It didn’t take long: Rodriguez has pitched to a 1.69 ERA in seven starts since the demotion, including three games with double-digit Ks.

Baltimore has been rolling in the meantime; an 8-3 record in July has them tied in the loss column with the Tampa Bay Rays and in sole possession of the top AL Wild Card spot. The rotation, however, remains a question mark, with nothing but question marks behind Tyler Wells and Bradish. Cole Irvin and his 5.50 ERA don’t appear to be the answer, so the team will now give Rodriguez another chance to stick in the Majors. The stuff remains electric: a mid-90s fastball that gets as high as 99 and has elite ride when he gets it up in the zone.

Combine that heater with a plus slider and changeup (as well as a couple of other pitches he can mix in just for fun), and it’s not hard to see why scouts have been so high on Rodriguez for years. The problem, at least in the Majors, was command — his fastball found the middle of the plate way too much, getting lit up to the tune of a .395 average and .750 slugging percentage. Still, 10 starts is obviously an awfully small sample size, and there remains way too much upside to leave Rodriguez whiling away in Triple-A while the Major League club needs a boost in the rotation.