Thursday, June 25, 2015
Oriole #999- Mychal Givens
Wow, I hope that none of you read my post from last week speculating about who the one thousandth Oriole might be, seeing as how I listed ten potential candidates to make their Orioles debut, and not a single one of them was Oriole #999 Mychal Givens. Partially, this is because I chose to focus on the potential debuts of players at the AAA level to somewhat limit the pool of candidates (outside of Bowie Baysox pitcher Tim Berry, who was on the 40 man roster). Additionally, Givens hadn't been invited to the Orioles big league Spring Training, generally an indicator at the time about a player's general standing in the organization. HOWEVER, Givens is a name that Buck Showalter has mentioned multiple times this year in assorted interviews and once Buck has an eye on you, it generally means positive things about your future.
Givens has a pretty interesting history in the O's farm system, as he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft, and the Orioles decided to have him play shortstop. Apparently, coming out of high school, many other teams like his arm better as a pitcher and thought he had a brighter future on the mound than at short, but the O's thought otherwise.
After three relatively unremarkable seasons in the field and at the plate, the Orioles finally conceded that Givens might do better as a pitcher and moved him to the mound in 2013. Success didn't come right away, but apparently once someone changed his mechanics to throw from a three quarters arm slot, his velocity and results improved.
This past Saturday, the Orioles selected Mychal's contract from AA Bowie and added him to the 25 & 40 man rosters. After watching three games from the bullpen, he got to make his Orioles & MLB debut in last night's game against the Red Sox in Boston. He needed only 11 pitches (8 of which were strikes) to retire the "heart" of the Sawx batting order, including two ground-outs and a four pitch strike out of Mike Napoli.
Mychal was optioned back to AA Bowie prior to today's game to make space of the roster for Miguel Gonzalez, but he sure showed some promise in his debut. Especially since he is now on the 40 man roster, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in Baltimore sometime soon.
And for the record, I'm pretty sure that I have a personalized autograph of his Bowman Orioles card at the top of this post. I'm pretty sure he signed and personalized both a copy of that card and the Shorebirds card for me at the same time, but all of my stuff is pretty unorganized these days. Regardless, congrats on your debut Mychal!