Baltimore Orioles: The Best Reliever You Forgot About

Another combination for $14 million AAV is Givens ($3 million AAV) paired with Smith ($11 million AAV). Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.
Another combination for $14 million AAV is Givens ($3 million AAV) paired with Smith ($11 million AAV). Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images. /

The Baltimore Orioles have one of the better relievers in all of baseball. Last season wasn’t his best, but Mychal Givens has premier stuff and an incredible track record of performance.

One of the bigger surprises of the Baltimore Orioles‘ 2019 season is that RHP Mychal Givens wasn’t traded. As a dynamite reliever on a  rebuilding team, Givens doesn’t really fit with the Orioles current competitive schedule.

Givens was a slam dunk trade candidate, however, he turned in a solid but worst statistical season of his career. The good news is Givens retained his elite stuff and was just a victim of the juiced baseball that caused him to post a career worst ERA at 4.57 and HR/9 at 1.86.

At some point in 2020, Givens will be traded to a contender for some solid prospects that contribute to the next competitive Orioles squad. Givens will earn $3.2M this season and can be controlled for one more year after this so an acquiring team will get two post seasons out of Givens.

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So what is it that makes Givens so unique? Let’s start with the fact that he has an explosive 95.3 MPH fastball with exceptional spin at 2382 RPMs (77th percentile). That pitch is his bread and butter as he throws it 70% of the time. Hitters haven’t been able to solve it since he entered the league back in 2015.

Another great statistic is that Givens has a career strikeout rate of 29.8%. Even though last season was the “worst’ of his career, Givens had a career high 33% strikeout rate. By expected statistics, all of his pitches were the worst of his career, some of which can be attributed to the juiced ball and some is just a down year.

Another unique attribute of Givens is his unique throwing motion. While you can’t quantify its effect on a hitter, his funky release and exceptional velocity make him one of the more interesting relievers in baseball.

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Mychal Givens either fell off your radar in 2019 or never was on it to begin with. Givens will give your team 70 quality innings out of the bullpen whether it’s in the middle innings or high leverage situations. He’s a prime bounce back and trade candidate who should be back to himself this seasons. You should pay attention when Givens enters the game this season. You are going to see incredible velocity from a funky reliever who is one of the better, less known pitchers in all of baseball.