Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitcher Mike Wright is currently competing for a spot in the Opening Day rotation and has looked solid.
In two outings this Spring Training, the 28-year old Wright has allowed one run in four innings. Wright has been able to mix in a cutter, to work with his sinker as well. In Tuesdays matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals, he retired six of seven batters. It was a far cry from his performance as a reliever in 2017, pitching to a 5.76 ERA, allowing 26 hits, five homers and walking seven batters, with a .350 wOBA against him.
Wright has four pitches in his arsenal, a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a slider, a sinker and now the aforementioned cutter. Four of his pitches, outside of the changeup, have shown to generate a high number of ground balls. Despite that being the case, he still has a lower ground ball rate than average, with a career percentage of 40.7% and a fly ball rate of 39.4%.
One thing that Wright has seemed to work on is keeping his pitches lower in the zone. With his added cutter, the pitch runs low and away from right-handed hitters and runs inside on left-handed hitters. He has also made better pitch selection, something that seems to have come with more maturity and a better physique. His best pitch in the past was his slider, which has 12-6 movement and generates a high number of ground balls.
The good part for Wright is that if he doesn’t make the rotation on Opening Day, he can make the club as a reliever. With his cutter, he now has a pitch that throw hitters off. Not a bad situation to be in. One pitcher that was in a similar situation was closer Zach Britton, who worked specifically on his sinker while in the bullpen. Maybe Wright could do the same with his cutter.
(Photo Credit: Baltimore Orioles Photo Day)