With Opening Day less than three weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.
RP Mychal Givens
Opening Day age: 26
Contract status: Under club control through the 2021 season
2016 stats: 8-2, 0 saves, 3.13 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 11.6 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 6 HR, 74 2/3 IP
Why to be impressed: Givens missed even more bats in his first full major league season than he did in 2015 as he led the 2016 club in strikeout rate and was second in swing-strike rate to only All-Star closer Zach Britton. The right-hander also turned in his best work in the final month of the season with a 0.71 ERA over his final 12 2/3 innings of work.
Why to be concerned: He improved against left-handers in the second half of the season, but hitters from that side of the plate still posted a .366 average with a 1.025 on-base plus slugging percentage, making it difficult to trust him in certain situations. Givens’ walk rate was also problematic from time to time after he surrendered only 1.8 walks per nine innings in 2015.
2017 outlook: With Darren O’Day coming off an injury-plagued year and Brad Brach unlikely to duplicate his 2016 first half, Givens needs to continue to hone his changeup to become an attractive option for any matchup. It will be worth monitoring how he fares early after participating in the World Baseball Classic, but all signs point to Givens again being a major contributor in the Baltimore bullpen.
2017 not-so-scientific projections: 6-4, 2 saves, 2.72 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 5 HR, 68 IP