Baltimore Orioles add three players to 40-man roster at Rule 5 deadline
The Baltimore Orioles made a small move to save a few minor league prospects at the Rule 5 deadline Monday night.
Three Baltimore Orioles players, Hunter Harvey, David Hess, and Austin Wynns joined the 40-man roster prior to the 8 PM deadline.
Most likely, these players will be shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors during the 2018 season. All three have three options allowing them move back and forth that many times.
Primer on options
Options are another way that the MLB manages the use of minor leaguers. According to MLB.com,
"“Once a player is put on the 40-man roster, the option countdown begins. A player is assigned three options as a rostered player. Each year, when a player who is on the roster gets sent to the Minor Leagues for a stint of more than 20 days, it counts as an option….A player can go up and down several times in one season, but it would only count as one option for the year.”"
But, to keep these men in the organization, the O’s cannot exhaust their options. If they are used up, then they can only be sent to a different level after they have passed waivers. Other teams can pick them up if this is the case.
Why were these three men kept in the system?
Two right-handed pitchers
Hunter Harvey is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher. He was a first-round draft pick in 2013 and has yet to make it out of the High-A level, but for good reason. Unfortunately, he had to have Tommy John surgery and he has had a plethora of other surgeries and injuries while have kept him in the low levels. Harvey has a fastball that can touch 97 MPH and ranges between 92-96, according to Fangraphs.
Once this kid gets healthy and stays healthy, he could be an asset. At this point, it’s just too soon for the O’s to give him up.
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David Hess is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher who was drafted in the 5th round in 2014. He has moved up through the minor league ranks and finished the 2017 season with the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He is significantly farther along in the process than Harvey pitching in 27 starts in 2017. He finished 2017 with an ERA of 3.85 and 123 strikeouts after facing 644 batters.
At one point in his career, Hess was ranked one tick above Parker Bridwell (and we know how that turned out). The O’s can’t make the same mistake twice, so Hess was good enough to keep around for at least three more options.
Keeping a catcher
Austin Wynns is a 26-year-old catcher and designated hitter. He was added to the Orioles organization in the 10th round of the 2013 draft. Most likely, he’ll never be the number one guy behind the dish, but he’s good enough to keep around and keeping a back-up catcher in the minors is always a good idea. He spent 2017 in Double-A Bowie and hit a slash of .281/.377/.419 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs. He had a 38% caught-stealing rate.
Like Harvey and Hess, he is good enough to protect, but not quite good enough to make it to the 25-man roster.
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Keep an eye out for these three. They could reach a point where they are good enough. It would be nice to see their hard work and the O’s dedication to them pan out.