For the past few years, the Orioles, for better or worse, have put an emphasis on attempting to grow arms in the minors to help supplement their big league squad.
As part of that philosophy, the Orioles added three more young pitchers to their 40-man roster Friday to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft, which occurs Dec. 10.
Left-hander Chris Lee and right-handers Andrew Triggs and Parker Bridwell were put on the 40-man – making that roster full and very pitching heavy. Twenty-two of the players on the Orioles' 40-man are now pitchers, nearly half of which are 26 or younger.
"We like the pitching depth we added to our roster today from the minors," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "Andrew Triggs had a terrific year at Bowie and Chris Lee made a good first impression after coming to the O's in a trade. Parker Bridwell is an excellent athlete with very good secondary pitches who is coming into his own.
"All three could make a contribution to the 2016 club with some more seasoning."
Bridwell, 24, is probably the best known of the three additions, particularly because he has been with the organization since being drafted in the ninth round out of a Texas high school in 2010. He has had an uneven minor league career with the Orioles (26-41 with a 4.83 ERA in six seasons), but the club has always been intrigued by his talent.
Ranked as the 20th-best prospect in the Orioles’ system by mlb.com, Bridwell went 4-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 18 starts at Double-A Bowie this year.
The other two pitchers, Lee and Triggs, started 2015 in other organizations.
Lee, 23, was obtained from the Houston Astros in May for two international bonus slots. A former fourth-round pick of the Astros, Lee was 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts at High-A Frederick and 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in seven starts with Bowie.
Triggs, 26, was purchased from the Kansas City Royals in April. The 6-foot-4 reliever was 0-2 with 17 saves and a 1.03 ERA in 43 games with Bowie. Among Eastern League relievers, he posted the lowest walk rate and fifth-best strikeout rate per nine innings.
Among the recognizable minor league names that can now be selected from the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft – selecting teams must keep that player on their 25-man rosters (or big league disabled list at times) all season or offer him back – are pitcher Branden Kline, who is out for 2016 after elbow surgery, outfielder Glynn Davis and reliever Ashur Tolliver.
To be eligible for that draft, a player must not be on a 40-man roster and has to have played five pro seasons (if 18 or younger on the June 5 before signing his first contract) or four seasons (if 19 or older on the June 5 before his first contract).
So, pitching prospects such as Hunter Harvey (three seasons since being drafted at 18) and Dylan Bundy (already on the 40-man) are not eligible to be drafted away in December.