BALTIMORE The Orioles decided not to add righthanded reliever Stefan Crichton to the 40-man roster in November, which left him exposed to other teams in the Rule 5 draft. Baltimore never wanted to lose him but rolled the dice that other teams would pass.
They were relieved when he wasn’t selected.
So far, Crichton is giving the Orioles every reason to value him in the organization.
Crichton, a 23rd-round pick in 2013 out of Texas Christian, allowed only one unearned run over his first eight appearances in the Arizona Fall League. One bad outing in his next-to-last appearance, when he surrendered five runs, inflated his ERA to 5.54.
The Orioles took the risk of exposing Crichton to more teams’ scouts via the AFL.
“The decision to send Crichton was to see him compete against the higher level of competition,” farm director Brian Graham said.
Crichton this season went 2-6, 3.73 in 48 games at Double-A Bowie. He gave up just four home runs in 72.1 innings while striking out 61 and walking 26.
“Crichton has always had a good arm,” Graham said. “He has a good pitcher’s body. He has a good delivery. The ball comes out of his hand well. He just never had real good numbers.
“Sometimes, you wonder how such good stuff doesn’t translate. That comes down to fastball command. Some guys, you’ve got to be careful with because if that fastball command improves and it clicks in, you have a pretty good major league pitcher.”
Crichton made four starts at Double-A, but he seems destined for a relief role.
“I see him as a sixth- or seventh-inning guy with his fastball (and) slider,” Graham said.
“He has a live arm and a plus fastball. There’s good sink when it’s down. His slider has good action across the zone. This guy has a good arm and a live body.”
• The Orioles claimed slugging left fielder Adam Brett Walker on waivers from the Brewers. The 25-year-old righthanded batter led the minors with 202 strikeouts in 531 plate appearances at Triple-A Rochester in the Twins organization, but he also hit 27 home runs in 132 games.
• The Orioles signed second baseman Sean Coyle to a minor league deal. The 2010 third-round pick by the Red Sox batted .295/.371/.512 with 16 home runs at Double-A Portland in 2014, but his production dropped significantly since then.