Note: This page is for pitcher Mike Wright who made his major league debut in 2015; for others with the same name, click here.
Dennis Michael Wright, Jr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 6", Weight 215 lb.
- School East Carolina University
- High School Whiteville High School
- Debut May 17, 2015
Starting pitcher Mike Wright, also known as Mike Wright Jr., started playing in the Baltimore Orioles system in 2011 and made his major league debut with them in 2015.
Wright was 7-1 with a 0.63 ERA as a high school sophomore and also hit .361. As a junior, he went 7-1 with a 1.61 ERA, .145 opponent average and .340 batting average. His senior year, he had a 8-4, 1.97 record with 107 strikeouts and a .159 average allowed. He was 1-2 with a 7.66 ERA as a college freshman. With the Asheboro Copperheads in summer ball, he was 4-3 with 3 saves and a 3.89 ERA. He was 2-2 with a 6.94 ERA his sophomore year at East Carolina. That summer, he was 0-2 with a save and a 2.52 ERA. His junior year, he was 2-2 with a 6.94 ERA.
Despite his struggles in college, he was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 3rd round of that year's amateur draft, the 94th overall pick, and signed for a $369,000 bonus. The scout was Chris Gale.
He pitched for the GCL Orioles (0 R in 1 IP), Aberdeen IronBirds (2-1, 3.77 in 7 G) and Delmarva Shorebirds (1-1, 10.54 in 4 G) in 2011, going a combined 3-2 with a 5.72 ERA in 12 games (8 starts). In 2012, he was 10-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 20 starts split between the Frederick Keys (5-2, 2.91) and Bowie Baysox (5-3, 4.91). He tied Eddie Gamboa and Tyler Wilson for third in the Orioles chain in wins, behind Zach Clark and Jake Pettit. He walked only 22 in 108 2/3 IP. Baseball America named him the O's #8 prospect.
In 2013, also with the Baysox, he was 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 26 starts. He also made a start for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides that year and didn't allow a run in 6 2/3 innings. He tied Tim Berry for the most wins in the Baltimore system, was third in innings (150 1/3, behind Berry and Wilson) and was second in strikeouts (138, 6 behind Parker Bridwell). He was among the Eastern League leaders in ERA (.001 behind Nate Karns), sixth in strikeouts (between Nik Turley and Matt Barnes), tied for fourth in wins (with Keith Couch, Casey Sadler and Turley) and tied for fourth in hit batsmen (10, even with Robert Gilliam). Anthony Ranaudo beat him out as the EL All-Star right-handed pitcher. He had a tougher season for Norfolk in 2014, as he ended the year with a record of 5-11, 4.62 in 26 starts. However, he bounced back well at the start of the 2015 season with Norfolk again, as he won 3 against no losses in his first 6 starts, putting up an ERA of 2.64, to earn a call to the big leagues in mid-May.
Mike made his major league debut for the Orioles on May 17, 2015 when he started a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He allowed no runs on 4 hits and struck out 6 in 7 1/3 innings to receive credit for a 3-0 win. In his second start, on May 23rd, he pitched 7 scoreless innings, giving up only 3 hits to the Miami Marlins, in a game that was only decided in favor of the Marlins in the 13th inning. His scoreless streak of 14 1/3 innings from the start of his career was the most by an Orioles pitcher since Dave Ford had begun his career with 15 innings without allowing a run in 1978. The streak ended when the first batter he faced in his next start, on May 28th, Adam Eaton of the Chicago White Sox, homered to lead off the game, but he still received credit for a 6-3 Orioles win. In all, he pitched 12 times for Baltimore, 9 of these appearances being starts, and he went 3-5, 6.04. With Norfolk, however, he was 9-1, 2.22 in 15 games.
In 2016, Mike started the year in the Orioles' starting rotation, but after winning his initial start on April 12th, it soon became clear he was the weak link on the first-place team's staff. Following a performance in which he gave up 6 runs in 2 2/3 innings to the Boston Red Sox on June 1st, he was sent to the minors, but before he could turn around, the Orioles called him back due to an injury. He responded with his best outing of the year on June 6th, giving up one unearned run in 7 innings in a 4-1 win over the Kansas City Royals, but then ran into a juggernaut. His opponents in his next two starts were the red hot Toronto Blue Jays, and they teed off him both times; in the second of theses starts, on June 17th, he gave up a pair of three-run homers to Michael Saunders as part of giving up a career-high 8 earned runs. He was demoted to AAA Norfolk after the game.