Baltimore Orioles: Three prospects who will make an impact in 2021

NORTH PORT, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Rylan Bannon #81 of the Baltimore Orioles plays defense at third base during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park on February 22, 2020 in North Port, Florida. The Braves defeated the Orioles 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
NORTH PORT, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Rylan Bannon #81 of the Baltimore Orioles plays defense at third base during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park on February 22, 2020 in North Port, Florida. The Braves defeated the Orioles 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Whether as a starter or reliever, Michael Baumann is a power arm for the Baltimore Orioles.

Pitching, pitching, pitching. The Baltimore Orioles are always in search of pitching help and it finally appears that the organization has a large group of starting pitching prospects worth getting very excited about.

It’s more of a testament to the lack of major league pitching last season, but Keegan Akin did lead all Orioles pitchers in Wins Above Replacement in 2020 and outperformed expectations during his debut. Dean Kremer had an up and down first few major league starts, but showed flashes of what makes him a legitimate starting pitching prospect.

These two rookies may be joined by a few more rookies in 2021, including guys like Alexander Wells, Zac Lowther, Kevin Smith, and the highest-ranked prospect among this group, Michael Baumann.

Baumann was the most improved Orioles prospect in 2019, going 6-2 with a 2.31 ERA (2.63 FIP), 0.94 WHIP, and a .183 average against in 13 Double-A outings. He also struck out more than 24% of hitters and walked a career-low 7.8% of opponents.

The highlight of his 2019 campaign was a no-hitter against the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals affiliate) where Baumann showed no signs of wearing down during his outing, continuing to throw 94-95 mph and produce swing and miss stuff into the ninth inning. Bonus note, he threw another nine-inning shutout just four starts later.

Baumann was shut down with an injury while at the team’s Alternate Site earlier in the year, but all reports have been positive, and believe he will be 100% for spring training. The missed time means he will begin the year in Triple-A, but if he pitches as well as he did last year in Double-A, he won’t be there long.

He should be given the chance to be an impact starter at the big league level, as long as his changeup or curveball can be effective pitches at the next level, but there’s also a chance Orioles fans see Baumann eventually find his way to the bullpen.

With the ability to run his fastball into the upper-90’s in shorter stints and having arguably the most effective slider in the Orioles system, Baumann could end up being a powerful two-pitch late-inning arm.

If you are a Baltimore Orioles fan and enjoyed what you saw from Akin and Kremer last season, you will quickly fall in love with Michael Baumann.