The Baltimore Orioles have sent starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles' top pitching prospect before the start of the 2023 MLB season, Rodriguez is headed back to the minor leagues after just two months in Baltimore.
Grayson Rodriguez was knocked around in the Orioles' 12-2 loss against the Texas Rangers. The Orioles' pitcher surrendered eight earned runs and three home runs in 3.1 innings. Baltimore decided it has seen enough from the 23-year-old, sending him down to Triple-A and recalling left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin.
Rodriguez entered spring training as the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. The right-hander earned a spot in the Orioles' rotation, despite posting a 7.04 ERA in spring training. Rodriguez's stats didn't get any better in the regular season.
After Friday's loss to the Rangers, Rodriguez is 2-2 with a bloated 7.35 ERA. It's the fourth-worst ERA of any pitcher who has made at least 10 starts. Rodriguez has a 1.72 WHIP in 45.1 innings. He pitched to a 4.07 ERA in April before giving up an average of 5.2 earned runs per start in May.
The Orioles likely still have high hopes for Rodriguez, who is just a rookie. Baltimore selected Rodriguez in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft. He showed positive signs in the first two months of his rookie campaign, striking out 11.1 batters per nine innings.
Baltimore can't afford to let a former top prospect go through growing pains at the big-league level in 2023. The Orioles are no longer rebuilding, looking to compete for a championship right now. With 31% of the season complete, Baltimore is four games out of first place in the AL East. The Orioles lead the AL wild-card race with MLB's second-best record.
Starting pitching has been the Orioles' Achilles heel. Baltimore has the AL's No. 4 ranked offense and the second-best bullpen. Only three AL rotations have a worse ERA than the Orioles.