By Jon Meoli
The Baltimore Sun
2:36 PM EDT, May 27, 2014
Orioles prospect Mike Wright, a towering right-hander pitching his first full season in Triple-A Norfolk, is frequently overlooked in conversations about the team’s top pitching prospects.
While fans clamor for the return of Dylan Bundy or the permanent arrival of Kevin Gausman in Baltimore, Wright has steadily climbed through the Orioles system all the way to Triple-A, where every arm is seen as a potential major league contributor.
But Wright, who takes the hill Tuesday night looking to put a bow on a rough May in which he has allowed 20 earned runs in 23 innings, was recently touted to me by a scout as a future major league starter.
The scout said Wright had three pitches — his fastball, slider, and changeup — that graded out as major league average, with potential for improvement on all of them. The 6-foot-6 right-hander is able to get downward plane on his low-90s sinker, and has shown durability and an ability to keep the ball around the plate in his time with the Orioles system.
Wright, a third-round pick in 2011 who signed for $363,300 out of East Carolina, was ranked the team’s sixth-best prospect by Baseball Prospectus and eighth-best by Baseball America after last season. He's 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA in nine starts for the Tides.
Because he is not on the 40-man roster, Wright may not be high on the list of potential call-ups this summer. But should he improve his stuff in Norfolk, he’ll be in the mix for an Orioles rotation spot, not a bullpen role.
A decision is looming for the Orioles in relation to outfielder Francisco Peguero, who is rehabbing a wrist injury in Norfolk. To his credit, the 25-year-old Dominican outfielder is making his case for a spot on the major league roster.
Peguero was named the International League Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .458 with three doubles and four RBIs last week. The former San Francisco Giants prospect was signed by the Orioles in the offseason after he failed to replicate his minor league success in parts of two major league seasons with San Francisco.
Peguero, who is hitting .338/.387.397 in 16 games with Norfolk, is nearing the end of his maximum 20-game rehab stint, which he began May 9. Peguero is out of options and cannot remain in Norfolk without first clearing waivers.
He would need to displace David Lough or Delmon Young for a spot on the outfield bench, with Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Nelson Cruz representing not only the Orioles’ starting outfield, but their best offensive players at this point in the season.
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