Throughout the season, Orioles Nation will highlight prospects as we see them play or are given reports by Scouts and people within the baseball industry. Our staff will have eyes on the Orioles’ prospects at all times, and you can find the latest updates for them in the Prospect Watch.
Mike Wright – RHP
The Orioles have a strong group of young pitchers coming through the minors right now. This group, led by Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, is clearly the strongest aspect of the Orioles’ farm system. However, Mike Wright seems to constantly be overlooked. The 24 year old righty put together a solid season at AA Bowie in 2013 and logged 150.1 innings total in the minors. Wright has a perfect pitcher frame at 6’6″, 215 lbs. He is a durable workhorse that could potentially make a MLB rotation as an innings-eater. I have seen Wright more than any other pitcher in the past two years, and he has certainly improved in many aspects of the game.
To start, Wright has cleaned up the mechanics. He has always shown a relatively “safe” delivery in terms of his arm and shoulders. But he has improved on the load and extension after the delivery, which has allowed for him to keep some of that extra velocity in the fastball for the entire game. Like I said, Wright has a perfect frame for an innings-eater pitcher, and the mechanics began to match the frame in 2013.
He throws four pitches, although he really works primarily with three. His fastball is the bread-and-butter pitch, coming in around 91-94 mph. I often see it described as having a sinker mentality, but it really just comes off on a good plane from his delivery. The fastball technically still has sink, so maybe that is just a little semantics. Wright also displays a loopy curve that he will throw every once in a while as a change-of-pace type. His slider is hard and dips downward with good tilt. It gets a lot of swings-and-misses, but he will lose command of it at times. The final pitch is the changeup, which can be solid-average, yet inconsistent. Below is an example of the inconsistency of the pitch and a general example of why Mike Wright falls into trouble at times.
As you can see, the change rides up in the zone and is nearly whacked for a home run (it was foul, but about 320 ft). This is generally the problem with Wright, as he will sometimes lose command of the secondary pitches, which are solid-average at best. This is also why he gave up 158 hits in 150.1 innings last year. When he loses command of the secondary arsenal, it forces him to rely more on his fastball. While the fastball is solid-average to potentially plus, it does not have enough firepower to get him through a start alone. I have noticed that teams will tee off on the fastball once they recognize his secondary stuff is lacking.
I will give Wright credit. He has a terrific mentality on the mound and is an attacker out there. Even when he lacks command on a specific night, I am constantly impressed with the effort given. Makeup is often overlooked in the minors, but Mike Wright does not lack it.
In 2014, I expect Wright to help the Orioles at some point. I think with the improvements displayed at the end of 2013, and with some further development on the secondary arsenal, Wright will be a potential rotation arm in 2015. For 2014, do not be surprised to see Wright play some role on the club, whether it be as a spot-starter or a reliever come August and September.