Baltimore Orioles Option RHP Joe Gunkel to AAA Norfolk, 51 Players Now in Camp

The Baltimore Orioles made one cut on Monday in optioning right-handed pitcher Joe Gunkel to AAA Norfolk following the Orioles' 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Photo: Patrick Cavey

Gunkel, 25, did not perform the way he was hoping to in his first spring training as a member of the 40-man roster.

Over two official appearances, Gunkel allowed three earned runs on seven hits, one walk and struck out just one over three innings pitched. He also allowed a home run.

Our Nick Stevens wrote about Gunkel early last month:

Let’s be honest, Joe Gunkel is not a flashy or exciting prospect, but that’s what I like about him. He is a pitch-to-contact pitcher who has well above-average command. Despite going 8-11 with a 4.08 ERA last season in 24 starts for AAA Norfolk, Gunkel finished the 2016 season with the 8th lowest WHIP in the International League at 1.23. He led the IL in lowest BB/inning ratio after giving up only 18 walks in 141.1 innings. In 430.1 innings pitched in his minor league career, Joe has walked just 75 batters and owns a 1.12 WHIP.
Monday was the first day that teams could option players who were placed on the 40-man roster for the first time, thus the timing of the move makes sense.

With the cut, the Orioles now have 51 players in big league camp, which includes 15 non-roster invites.

Despite the rocky start to the spring for Gunkel, I do believe that we are going to see him in Baltimore at some point this season. Hopefully he will be able to take away some things from this spring, learn from it, make adjustments and improve himself on the mound.


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