One member of the Orioles’ 2020 rotation competition instead will reportedly play overseas.
Right-hander Aaron Brooks is expected to join the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization, per Korean outlet Naver Sports and other reports. Brooks, 29, joined the Orioles midseason as a waiver claim from the Oakland Athletics, recording a 6.18 ERA in 14 outings with Baltimore.
Brooks made his first 12 appearances for the Orioles as a starter. His most effective performance in that role came against the eventual World Series-winning Washington Nationals on Aug. 27, when he allowed two hits across six scoreless innings. But even including that start, Brooks had a nine-start stretch in which he had an 8.33 ERA, soon thereafter prompting a move to the bullpen. In his first outing as a reliever, he pitched the final seven innings in a victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 20, giving up one run on one hit. He followed that with two hitless innings of relief in his final outing of the year.
All-Star and American League Rookie of the Year runner-up John Means, Dylan Bundy and a healthy Alex Cobb figure to make up the front end of the Orioles’ 2020 rotation, with 2019 returnee Asher Wojciechowski also in the mix. Other members of last year’s staff who remain in the organization to contend for rotation spots include David Hess, Ty Blach, Tom Eshelman and Chandler Shepherd, though Hess is the only member of that group who remains on the 40-man roster.
Brooks’ exit reduces the Orioles’ 40-man roster to 35, with a handful of prospects needing to be added ahead of next week’s deadline to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Among that group are left-hander Keegan Akin and right-hander Dean Kremer, both of whom figure to contend for a starting role at some point in 2020.
Shorebirds named MiLB.com minor league Team of the Year
The firsts keep coming for the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds, who on Tuesday were named MiLB.com’s 2019 Team of the Year for the first time in franchise history.
The Shorebirds’ 90 regular-season victories were the most in the minor leagues and bested the previous franchise record by seven games. They were the South Atlantic League’s first 90-win team since 2006 and led the league in various pitching categories, including ERA, strikeouts, shutouts and WHIP.
Delmarva’s roster featured several of the Orioles’ top prospects, including left-hander Drew Rom, shortstop Adam Hall and 2018 first-rounder Grayson Rodriguez, who shared Baltimore’s minor league Pitcher of the Year honors with Michael Baumann. Adley Rutschman, the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, joined the Shorebirds in August for their playoff push, catching a two-hit shutout in his team debut.
The Shorebirds’ season ended earlier than they hoped, losing two one-run games in a best-of-three series with Texas Rangers affiliate Hickory. But their lack of a postseason championship did not keep them from earning recognition for their season as a whole.