photo courtesy of Shelli Erwin
Class A-High Frederick Keys’ LHP Tyler Erwin is quietly putting together a dominant season out of the bullpen in 2018.
Erwin was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 23rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft (691 overall) out of New Mexico State University. As with most college draft picks, he was assigned to the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Class A-Short) where he appeared in 13 games, all out of the bullpen. He finished the 2016 season with a 2-1 record, a 3.22 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP and failed to convert his one and only save opportunity.
The 2017 season found Erwin in Delmarva (Class A-Low) where he appeared in 26 games for the Shorebirds, again, all out of the bullpen. He pitched 47.0 innings to a 2-2 record with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Additionally, he did convert his only save opportunity.
The improvement Erwin made from 2016 to 2017 in no way could have predicted what he has done so far in 2018. Pitching in the Carolina League, he has a 0-1 record (as of 5/11), has gone 2 for 4 in save opportunities and has a 0.47 ERA in 19.1 innings over 11 appearances; Erwin has allowed just 1 earned run and 2 overall. His WHIP is 0.78 as he has allowed just 7 hits while walking 8. Erwin has struck out 25 batters and has limited them to a .113 batting average against. I find it simply amazing that a season’s performance like this is not being talked about more.
Maybe it’s the fact that he’s not a closer, maybe it’s the fact that he was a low draft pick, or maybe it’s the fact that he is 8.2 innings shy of being among the league leaders but regardless of the reason, it flabbergasts me that there is not more buzz surrounding a pitcher like Erwin. He is shutting down the opposition when he pitches and I am sure he is the type of pitcher every team needs. I have no doubt that Frederick appreciates his performance.
Erwin has faced the minimum number of batters in 4 of his 11 appearances and in fact, pitched a clean inning in his last appearance. He has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances and struck out a season high 6 batters against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland) on May 7th , a game in which he earned his second save of the year.
Erwin is currently averaging just fewer than 4 batters faced per inning pitched, has a strike out per nine innings pitched rate of 11.6 and is getting 3.13 strikeouts per walk given up. To top it off, he’s equally stingy to left-handed batters as he is to right-handed ones: their batting averages against him are .125 and .105 respectively.
With numbers like this there is no reason that Erwin shouldn’t be talked about more. Orioles’ fans do yourself a favor and watch this 23-year-old southpaw; his performance deserves your attention. While Erwin may be the best-kept secret in the organization right now, I assure you he will not be for long.
Update: After writing this, Erwin appeared in Saturday’s (5/12) game against the Potomac Nationals and gave up 2 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 2 in 0.2 innings: his ERA rose to 0.90 after that appearance.
Update II: Fellow Baby Birdland contributing writer Nick Stevens provided this video post of Erwin pitching on his Twitter feed. VIDEO
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