Aquino enters long reliever race

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Courtesy: MilB

I was impressed with Jayson Aquino’s outing yesterday against the Phillies after he went two innings with four strikeouts. Saying that, I wouldn’t go too overboard on him. I missed him last year, but I never really got very good reports about him so he just missed my top 25 despite being a 24-year old lefty who was on the 40-man roster. I’m still not sure I’d put him on it now, but he’s a bit more interesting now that I’ve seen him throw this well.

The question now becomes is he better off as a long reliever or starter? We obviously only saw him pitch two innings yesterday so its hard to know how his stuff plays later in games. Saying that, he went seven or more innings in six of his 19 starts and needed over 90 pitches in only two of those six. That’s pretty pitch efficient. He was very good as a reliever last year, mostly after his promotion to Norfolk where he put up a 1.89 and 9.0 K/9 in 19 innings.

Despite that success, he’s not the typical lefty reliever as his best pitch is his change up which is normally more effective against right-handers than lefthanders. His slider can be ok, but it’s probably a slightly below average offering though it can flash average. It’s not a left on left slider than will be overly effective against LHBs though if he can locate it well it can be an ok offering. His fastball his 89-90 MPH pitch that has some sink at times but can be pretty straight. He needs to locate his fastball well since it appears to be a pretty hittable offering, especially when he makes mistakes. In other words, he doesn’t have a ton of error which means when his command is off, he will get hit and ht hard.

The good news is he’s definitely better than TJ McFarland or Jed Bradley and should be in the discussion for the long reliever spot, though Vidal Nuno is probably in the driver’s seat for that job right now based off experience.

It will be interesting to see what the Orioles decide to do with Aquino at Norfolk this year. The Norfolk rotation is going to be crowded so someone will need to go to the pen or Bowie, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Aquino is starting every five days at Norfolk which would keep him as rotation and long reliever depth for the Orioles this year.

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Tony Pente
Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.