Baltimore Orioles: Your guide to the non-roster invitees coming this spring
We know that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in four days. The Baltimore Orioles have 20 non-roster invitees on their way to big league camp. Here’s a breakdown of who you may not know.
With projections ranging between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, 20 non-roster invitees are preparing to join the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota.
I posted the breakdown on Twitter last night. But, I want to get a bit more in-depth as to who the team is bringing with them down south.
The Orioles have just Jayson Aquino (64), Tim Melville (61) and Asher Wojciechowski (59) with experience starting a big league game.
In two starts last season, Aquino went 1-and-1, with a 3.97 ERA. A small sample size, Aquino threw 11.1 innings, allowed 11 hits, five home runs and had a WHIP of 1.235.
Melville has another small sample size to preview. With just two starts in the majors, he’s allowed a 10.45 ERA in 10.1 innings.
Wojciechowski (wo-juh-HOW-ski) has more starts in the majors, but his experience doesn’t make him any better. In 11 starts spanning the 2015 and 2017 seasons, his 8.75 and 1.796 over 47.1 innings don’t make your stomach any less queasy.
Josh Edgin (55), Jhan Mariñez (52), Andrew Faulkner (58), Joely Rodriguez (63), Jeff Ferrell (67), Jason Gurka (72), and Perci Garner (68) make up the rest of the 11 pitchers that’ll be in camp next week.
Out of the seven coming to camp, Edgin gives you the best peace-of-mind on the bump. In 177 relief appearances with the New York Mets, he’s been effectively able to pitch to a 3.49 ERA.
Following Edgin, the Mariñez has the second-most relief appearances in the majors. Over parts of four seasons with the (Florida) Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers, Mariñez has logged 126 innings. His 3.43 ERA is respectable, as well as his 7.1 K/9.
The rest of the relief pitcher class isn’t anything special. In order from lowest-to-highest, ERA’s are 4.41, 4.82, 5.40, 6.53, 9.00.
I’ll let you match the ERA to the NRI.
Then, there’s Gamboa, who has a 1.35 ERA in seven relief outings but hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2016.
Headlining the group of infielders on their way to Sarasota is Ryan Mountcastle (79). The former first-round pick from 2015 is coming off a superb season split between Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. In 127 games total, Mountcastle hit .287 with 18 home runs.
Talking defense, in 95 chances at third base, Mountcastle made just six errors. At Shortstop, more action came his way as he had 281 chances, but made 13 errors.
Following Mountcastle will be utility infielders, Luis Sardinas (3), Garabez Rosa (76), Ruben Tejada (17) and Erick Salcedo (78).
Before the trade to acquire Engelb Vielma from the San Francisco Giants, Sardinas was projected to be the utility infielder. And why not? A career .971 fielding percentage for a player that’s played each infield position, and left field isn’t too bad coming off the bench.
Tejada will undoubtedly compete for the utility infielder position. Approaching his ninth season in the majors – second with the Orioles – he carries a respectable .251 career average over 2,387 plate appearances.
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We covered Tejada on our Minors Monday report last week. You can read that here.
Salcedo doesn’t have any major league experience, but a decent 2017 season with Double-A Bowie could land him back with the Baysox. He’s projected to start the year there, so why not? In 121 games last season, he slashed .260/.320/.341 with 22 extra-base hits.
Outfielders and the lone Catcher
Any of the three remaining outfield NRI’s may have a better chance of making the big league roster as the fourth outfielder.
Cedric Mullins (70), DJ Stewart (80) and the recently signed Craig Gentry (14) will make up three of the four remaining NRI’s.
The switch-hitting Mullins is projected to be a September call-up this season. Also, expected to start the year with Triple-A Norfolk, Mullins’ has compiled a .268 average in three seasons with Orioles Minor League affiliates. He could prove to be a threat on the basepaths, as he’s stolen more bases in three seasons (56) than the entire Orioles team has in the past two.
Left-handed Demetrius Jerome Stewart had his best year to date, last season with Double-A Bowie. His .278 batting average, 21 home runs, 78 RBI and 26 doubles, coupled with his six errors in 247 chances in the outfield snow why Stewart should start the season at Triple-A Norfolk.
Gentry completes the outfield group, after signing a minor league contract on Wednesday. His nine seasons in the majors is most among NRI’s, and his defensive skills and speed are what the club likes. Over his career, Gentry has split time between all three outfield spots and has committed just 11 errors in 2,891 innings.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Reflecting on the Adam Jones trade ten years later
Finally, as the lone backstop invited, Audry Perez (81) signed a minor league contract in January and should be competing for starting catcher at Triple-A Norfolk. He does have experience in the majors, as he appeared in three games with the St. Louis Cardinals, but not since the 2014 season. Perez has been with the Orioles in the minors since 2015.