Unlike many failed starting pitchers who become relievers, Vidal Nuno hasn't enjoyed the typical bump in velocity. Although he touches the low 90s, he's proving effective as a painter. Compare his peripherals as a starter (6.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9) to those as a reliever (8.5 K/9, 1.8 BB/9), and it's easy to see why no club wants him as a starting pitcher anymore. Keeping him in a relief role would minimize the damage done by his tendency to allow more flyballs than average. He could make starts in an emergency, but that shouldn't excite anyone into picking him up for those innings. The lefty is likelier to be used as a multi-innings mop-up role than anything else. He hasn't been able to translate his great peripherals into a helpful ERA as a reliever. Fantasy players could consider him in holds leagues, but little else is likely to come his way.
Nuno was less than impressive in an inning of work Sunday, allowing two runs on two hits (including a home run) against Toronto. Luckily for Nuno, his ninth-inning appearance Sunday came with an 11-2 lead in hand, so the Orioles didn't suffer because of his lackluster effort. The left-hander has looked shaky over his past two outings, needing a combined 50 pitches to get just six outs. Nuno's role in the bullpen is far from cemented, so the 29-year-old will need to show improvement sooner rather than later if he's going to stick around with the big-league club.
Per manager Buck Showalter, Nuno will be in the major-league bullpen come Opening Day, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports. The left-hander seemed to be in line for a spot in the big leagues ever since he was dealt to Baltimore from the Dodgers over the offseason, and his 3.37 spring ERA sealed the deal. Nuno has a lot of starting experience at the major-league level, so he also could be in line for some spot starts if any of the Orioles starters falter or get injured. That being said, it'll be tough to carve out much fantasy value while he's relegated to long relief.
Nuno will report to camp either Wednesday or Thursday, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. The uncertainty surrounding the exact day Nuno will arrive at camp is simply because his flight is scheduled to arrive late Tuesday, so he may have Wednesday to rest. Nuno left spring training to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He pitched 1.2 innings over two games at the WBC, during which he allowed two runs.
Nuno has a leg up on the competition for one of the team's remaining bullpen jobs, SB Nation reports. With the team in need for a left-handed reliever, Nuno appears to have the inside track to an Opening Day role with the Orioles. The 29-year-old has a decent 19.5 percent strikeout rate to go along with a great 6.1 percent walk rate throughout his career. On the other hand, he struggles against righties (.344 career BAA) and has troubles keeping the ball on the ground (38.6 percent career ground ball rate). That said, Nuno has experience and is well-suited to fill a long-relief role for the MLB club in 2017.
Nuno agreed to a one-year, $1.125 million deal with the Dodgers on Tuesday, avoiding arbitration, FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reports. While he represents important left-handed bullpen depth, Nuno is not guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster out of camp. Grant Dayton, Alex Wood and Luis Avilan may all be ahead of him in the pecking order of lefty relievers entering spring training.
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