Mychal Givens Is Headed to the Rockieson August 31, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Mychal Givens Is Headed to the Rockies

It seems like new Rockies pitcher Mychal Givens has had a robust trade market each of the last two summers, both because he is a good pitcher and because he has multiple years of team control left. The Orioles finally pulled the trigger on a deal for him and scooped up three prospects from the Rockies: Terrin Vavra, Tyler Nevin, and a player to be named later.

Givens has thrown 336 innings across parts of six seasons with the Orioles and has amassed a 3.32 career ERA (he’s sporting a cool 1.38 ERA this year) and struck out just shy of 11 hitters per nine (roughly 33% K%) during that time. His strikeout rate has climbed each of the last two years as Givens increased the usage of his changeup, which had previously been a distant tertiary pitch behind his fastball and a slider.

But Givens still works heavily with that mid-90s fastball (nearly 70% of the time), which averages 94 mph and tops out at 98. In addition to having a great arm, the right-hander has a unique low-slot delivery that lets him attack hitters in the top half of the zone from an odd angle. For how terse and explosive Givens’ delivery is, he has good feel for locating his secondary stuff to each pitch’s appropriate zip code and he adds stability to a Rockies bullpen filled with pitchers who have a history of being rather wild.

Givens falls somewhere in the Rockies late-inning pecking order currently occupied by Daniel Bard, hard-throwing Carlos Estevez, and Yency Almonte, who is having an improved second season by throwing more sliders and a lot more strikes. The rest of the Rockies bullpen is questionable. Tyler Kinley has great stuff but also has command issues, and Jairo Diaz‘s fastball has lost two ticks from last year. The club could still use another lefty relief piece (or it could promote Ben Bowden from within) but for now they have enough big late-inning arms to get through three or four frames of a close game.

As talented as Givens is, Colorado did give up quite a bit here. Givens’ market seemed robust, which makes sense because he’s been consistently good for half a decade and still has a whole year of control remaining. The best prospect sent to Baltimore was middle infielder Terrin Vavra, an undersized 23-year-old with a full-body swing that he’s athletic enough to control. Vavra is a bat-first prospect who walked as much as he struck out in 2019, his first pro season. That performance has to be discounted a bit because he was a 22-year-old college hitter playing at Low-A, and it’s kind of scary to know that Vavra will be 24 next May and not have accumulated any upper-level experience whatsoever, but he’s the kind of hitter who becomes Joey Wendle, or Aaron Hill, or the high-contact infielder of your choice.

Tyler Nevin is also headed to Baltimore. The 23-year-old corner infielder is a career .286/.362/.441 hitter in the minors. I don’t think he has enough power to be an everyday first baseman, and I don’t think he has the lateral agility to play third base every day, but I do think Nevin will hit enough to play a substantial part-time role based largely on his feel for contact.

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