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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Pitchers Pay Day

Updated: Feb 27

Povich, Armbruester, and Johnson highlight standout pitching performances in split squad

*Cover Photo Credit: John Topoleski

The Orioles had split squad action this afternoon. One side traveled to the Atlanta Braves’ Spring Training site at North Port, Florida, and hung on to a 2-1 win. Another side stayed home at Ed Smith Stadium, falling to the Rays 8-3.

A ton of young and upcoming arms got into game action today, and many of them pitched well. Here are a few of those pitchers whose performances today are worth noting moving forward.


O's No. 10 prospect Cade Povich started vs. Tampa Bay and tossed 2 scoreless innings. Photo: John Topoleski

The 23-year-old southpaw got the nod to start today against the Rays. After working quickly to get veteran shortstop Amed Rosario to ground out on two pitches, he allowed two walks but quickly rebounded. He got Rays Number 1 prospect Junior Caminero to fly out and struck out veteran outfielder Jose Siri swinging, avoiding any further trouble.

Overall, Povich went 2 innings, striking out two and allowing just one hit. The Rays failed to score against him.

Povich became a member of the Orioles organization in 2022 when he was involved in the Jorge Lopez trade. After starting 2023 with Double-A Bowie, he got bumped to Triple-A Norfolk where he helped the Tides to a Triple-A championship. Overall in 2023, the O's 10th best prospect pitched to a 5.04 ERA and struck out 171 batters in 126.2 innings. He is one of the many exciting young arms competing to break into the Orioles’ starting rotation this summer, though he is unique in that he technically is the lone lefty competing against his prospect class.  

Justin Armbruester tossed 3 scoreless innings today with just 18 pitches.

In the same game vs. Tampa Bay, Armbruester was brought in from the bullpen in the top of the 5th. Talk about quick and efficient. He needed just 18 pitches, all strikes, to go three scoreless innings and collect four strikeouts. It was an encouraging sight to see a rising arm set down a division rival lineup so quickly and effortlessly.

Armbruester enters the season as the Orioles’ 18th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. The 25-year old split last season between Bowie and Norfolk, sporting a 3.56 ERA with 109 punchouts and a 1.302 WHIP. The quad of Armbuester, Povich, Chayce McDermott, and Garrett Stallings is fighting hard to find a role on the Orioles’ World Series competing 2024 roster. All four of them are on the brink of a promotion, and Armbruester certainly helped his case today.


Johnson, 25, traveled with the other split squad team to visit the Atlanta Braves today. He got the start for the Orioles, going two innings with a near perfect line. Though he did not strike anybody out, he did not allow any hits or runs. He only allowed one walk, which proved nothing for the Braves against Johnson.

The right-hander is still on somewhat of a road back to 100%, as he just recently returned from Tommy Joh surgery last year. He managed to get two starts last season on rehab assignments, one for Delmarva and one for Bowie. One of the trade chips from the 2022 Trey Mancini trade, Johnson looks to have a fully healthy 2024 season and develop into a healthy starting pitcher who can eventually eat affective innings. He is farther behind from other starters in the organization thanks to Tommy John surgery, so at least the first part of 2024 will be him building himself back up to full strength.

Other Notes

Pitching set aside, some hitters showed up and hit the ball well today. MLB Pipeline’s 30th best prospect, third baseman Coby Mayo, went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and a walk against the Rays. He seems very comfortable in the box right now and is putting his potential on full display early in Spring Training. Outfielder and non-roster invite Daniel Johnson swatted his first home run of the spring in the bottom of the 7th versus the Rays. In that same game, non-roster first baseman Tyler Nevin collected his own home run early in the game, a two-run bomb in the bottom of the second inning.

The Orioles are home tomorrow versus the Detroit Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm. Grayson Rodriguez, baseball’s former top pitching prospect, will get the start for the Orioles.

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