[Rule 5] Oliver Drake

The deadline to move players to the 40-man roster and keep them ineligible from December's Rule-5 draft came at midnight.  The Orioles made three late additions, adding RHP Eddie Gamboa, C Michael Ohlman, and LHP Tim Berry.  Gamboa was the one who probably needed to be protected the most as he has the most AA and AAA experience and could theoretically stick on a big league club in the bullpen.  I don't believe Ohlman or Berry would have made it past Spring Training with another big league club, but there are enough open spots that it makes some sense to add them.

Berry had some interesting comments when speaking to Steve Melewski of MASN Sports:

β€œThe fastball command really took a step forward this year. They always tell you fastball command is the most important thing and once you see what you can do when you command your fastball, you are in control of the at-bat. My changeup made big strides as well.”
— http://www.masnsports.com/steve_melewski/2013/11/berry-and-ohlman-on-the-2013-success-that-led-them-to-the-40-man-roster.html

It's always nice to read about minor league prospects being on the same page as the organization with regards to development.  Fastball command and a good change up were clearly lacking in the organization system for many years.  

Oliver Drake, a 26-year-old RHP taken in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft, was left unprotected after coming back from injury and having a strong finish to the 2013 season as Bowie's closer.  Drake had 11 SO/9 to 3.8 BB/9 and has projected as someone who could be a fit in the bullpen.  

I had Drake penciled in to get a long look in Spring Training.  To go along with age and experience, Drake also has three of his minor league options remaining, flexibility that the Orioles need to have in the bullpen in 2014. 

Drake is not a definite to be taken in the Rule 5 draft by any means.  Stashing a position player or starting pitcher in the bullpen is much easier than using one roster spot for a bullpen only candidate.  Ryan Flaherty and TJ McFarland are examples of that.  He is one to watch for during the Rule 5 draft and into Spring Training as a possible piece for the ever changing bullpen.