Expectations were high for Mike Wright, the 24-year-old right-hander, who kicked off his 2014 season with the Norfolk Tides. Last year, Wright was named the top pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles farm system after going 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 26 starts for the Bowie Baysox, which earned him a promotion to Norfolk on the final day of the season.
Though Wright hasn’t matched his success from last season, he began Aug. with 5.87 ERA over 107 1/3 IP, he has finally begun to turn his year around. Over his last four starts, all in Aug., he has a 0.94 ERA over 28 2/3 IP with a 0.87 WHIP and 20 strikeouts to five walks.
To cap that turnaround off, the International League announced today that Wright has been named the League’s Pitcher of the Week for the period of Aug. 18 – 24. Wright becomes the third Tides player to earn player of the week honors (Francisco Peguero, May 19 – 25; Steve Clevenger, June 2 – 8).
He more than deserves the honor after coming one strike away from throwing a no-hitter Thursday night in Durham. He went 8 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit and three walks while striking out a career-high 11 batters in the 5-2 victory.
Wright is now 5-11 with a 4.83 ERA on the season and leads his team with 25 starts. He has now won four of his past six starts after losing nine straight decisions from May to July. This marks the first time his ERA has been below five since May 16.
According to reports written up on Wright by Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus and Tucker Blair, Wright uses a mix of fatsballs, sliders and changeups with the pitches grading out as average to solid, but lacks any real solid offerings. Despite the lack of a premier pitch or two in his arsenal, Wright is tall and durable with a good delivery and clean arm action.
His fastball works in the low 90s with decent sink, he throws a hard slider that touches the mid-80s with the potential to miss bats, and his changeup rests in the low-70s with an ability to fool hitters when set up by his fastball.
Even with the hiccups from earlier in the season, Wright still projects to be a back-end of the rotation starter who can eat innings and provide league average production. Expect to see Wright in Sept. when rosters expand and then again next spring.