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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Long shines in Orioles 2-0 win

Right-hander impresses while collecting 2-inning save vs. the Pirates

Right before I left my on-campus apartment for work, a longtime friend of mine, Evan Wladkowski, messaged me on Instagram. He wanted to know about Ryan Long. He said he looked really good in yesterday’s afternoon game versus the Pirates.

I did not get a chance to watch the full game. However, when I watched the highlights of the Orioles’ 2-0 win, Long was as advertised: he was REALLY good.

That is the same Ryan Long that I saw dominate as an Aberdeen Ironbird last year. That is the same guy that I saw on May 23, 2023, the same guy that held the Jersey Shore Blue Claws (Phillies High-A) to just 2 runs over 4 2.3 innings and dotted his pitches. This is the same guy who dominated High-A with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.005 WHIP before being promoted to Bowie.

Now, he is carrying his talent into Spring Training.

The 24-year-old made his Spring Training debut yesterday and as previously mentioned, he looked really good. Wearing number 98, he needed just 29 pitches to get a 2-inning save and 2 strikeouts. He walked none and did not give up a hit.

His fastball, which he used primarily to get guys out, sat at 95 MPH. He was able to jam batters inside with it and climb the latter, all while hitting catcher Maverick Handley’s target efficiently and consistently. He also mixed in some sharp high-80s sliders that broke late and away from right-handed batters. Somehow, even on sliders that missed up, he still induced silly swings from Pirates hitters.

This was Wladkowski’s first time watching Long. He was very impressed.

“[Ryan] was in command of all his pitches; [he] looks to have stuff that can play at a high level,” Wladkowski said.

Yup, that looks and sounds accurate. That is the same Ryan Long that I saw last year that had a solid year in the Orioles’ organization. A 4.26 ERA and a 1.207 WHIP in 27 starts (107.2 IP) is nothing to hang one’s head about. It is exciting to see him get a chance to pitch at big league camp given how excited I was about him last season.

Ryan Long looked excellent yesterday as he collected the save vs. Pittsburgh.

He will most likely start the season in Double-A Bowie, where he faced some adversity (6.51 ERA in 47 innings). However, he is in the hands of a very well-structured pitching developmental system in the O’s organization. He also worked previously with Bowie’s new pitching coach Austin Mein in Aberdeen, where the two of them worked together to produce superb results on the bump. Once he adjusts to the heavy hitting Eastern League and as he works more with Mein, the sky’s the limit as he continues to develop.

No, he is not ranked amongst the Orioles’ top 30 prospects. However, if he continues to pitch the way he did last season and even yesterday, Long could enter those rankings and could prove himself valuable to Brandon Hyde’s pitching staff eventually, whether it is as a starter or as a reliever. Wladkowski agrees.

“For someone who was just in the game as an extra body, not even an NRI, he stood out to me as someone who has potential to be a big league bullpen piece a year or two down the line,” he said.

Ryan Long looked excellent yesterday, and he is a name that you should keep an eye on during Spring Training and during the Minor League season as well. Trust me, Ryan Long is a talent on the rise in the Orioles’ organization, and he proved that yesterday.

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