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Baltimore Orioles

Oriole of the Day: Logan Gillaspie’s underlying numbers show why Baltimore protected right-hander

Major League Baseball claimed Monday was the deadline for the owners and players’ union to form a new collective bargaining agreement if the regular season was to start as scheduled on March 31.

But that deadline came and went without a new CBA and without the official delaying of the season, perhaps a sign that the league and players are nearing a deal and will try to cross the finish line Tuesday. In the meantime, the lockout MLB owners voted for unanimously continues, preventing the start of spring training. Teams are unable to adjust their 40-man rosters and engage with the members of them.

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But The Baltimore Sun can write about them, and we continue to do so through our Oriole of the Day series, examining each player’s 2021 season and looking ahead to what 2022 might hold for him. This is the final installment, but you can see a thread of each player’s profile in the series here.

Last up is right-hander Logan Gillaspie, who was perhaps the lone surprise among the prospects the Orioles elected to protect from the Rule 5 draft by adding them to the roster in November. At that same time, Gillaspie, a former independent league catcher, was showing off his high 90s fastball in the Arizona Fall League. He signed with Baltimore in June and didn’t post overwhelmingly impressive numbers, but there are signs as to why the Orioles didn’t want him to slip to another organization.

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Quick hits

2022 Opening Day age: 24, turns 25 on April 17

2021 stats: 4.97 ERA, 41 ⅔ innings, 52 strikeouts, 1.320 WHIP, 29.2 K%, 6.2 BB% with High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie

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Under team control through: 2027

2021 in review

Number to know: 15. That’s the number of other pitchers in all of the minor leagues who threw at least as many innings as Gillaspie who induced swings-and-misses more often than he did, struck out batters more frequently than he did and walked them less than him.

What was good: The Orioles had 52 minor league pitchers throw at least 40 innings in 2021. Gillaspie was the only one to rank in the top 10 among them in all of walk rate, swinging strike rate and line-drive rate. He minimized free passes; he dodged contact; and when he allowed it, it generally wasn’t the most damaging kind.

What wasn’t: With his move to Double-A, Gillaspie’s numbers declined. His ERA, his line-drive rate and each aspect of his opposing slash line increased sharply, while his strikeout-to-walk ratio and groundball rate fell. There are some implications he faced some bad luck with Bowie, though. His batting average allowed on balls in play was .389, among the highest in Double-A, and the difference between his ERA and his fielding independent pitching — an ERA-like metric based on stats a pitcher can control such as walks, strikeouts and home runs allowed — was also among the largest at that level.

Looking ahead to 2022

Likely 2022 role: Relief option.

What’s projected: As has been mentioned in this space with similar players before, Gillaspie is a young reliever with minor league options and thus figures to spend 2022 moving between the minors and majors as needed. Given that he has yet to pitch in Triple-A, he figures to spend a decent chunk of time there before being called upon for his major league debut.

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A step forward: Gillaspie thrived at shutting down left-handed pitchers in High-A, holding them to 2-for-22 (.091). But they got the best of him while he was Bowie, going 17-for-55 (.309). A former starter, Gillaspie largely worked as a multi-inning reliever in Double-A, meaning he went through a lineup and wasn’t limited to facing only right-handed batters. Improved performance against opposite-handed batters could help him pitch use that role to create a path to the majors.


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