Baltimore Orioles: Evaluating the instructional league roster

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 13: Hunter Harvey of the U.S. Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field on July 13, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 13: Hunter Harvey of the U.S. Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field on July 13, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Orioles released their fall instructional league roster on Tuesday afternoon. Here’s a breakdown of the roster, and what we can expect from these players going forward

The Baltimore Orioles aren’t known for their player development. Not a ton of major league teams necessarily are, but seeing as it’s one of the most important factors in building a competitive organization, you’d think that more teams would focus on it.

However, the Orioles have consistently held farm systems which rank in the lower third of MLB, they don’t spend money in the international market, and they don’t spend money wisely in the MLB free agent market.

At this point, the Baltimore Orioles aren’t known for much at all. But September and October bring us both the Arizona Fall League and the instructional league, where teams can spotlight their prospects and give those selected players a bit more development time before calling it a season.

The AFL is for top-level prospects and close-to MLB ready talent, and the Orioles will send Austin Hays, Steve Wilkerson, Tyler Erwin, Jay Flaa and Tanner Chleborad.

Instructs, on the other hand, are for low-level prospects fresh into the organization. The league provides structured development time at the end of these players’ seasons.

So let’s look at the instructs roster. Players who appear on the Orioles top-30 prospect list appear in bold. 


Matthew Beaird: A 36th round pick in 2018, Beaird slugged .227 in rookie ball this year with 25 K’s and just 8 walks. Hard to project with such little exposure.

Ben Breazeale: A 7th round pick in 2017, Breazeale posted a .675 OPS in Delmarva in his 2nd year with the Orioles organization. He and Carrillo platooned in Delmarva this year.

Jean Carrillo: Signed at 16-years-old in 2013 out of Panama, Carrillo provides excellent defense with good plate discipline. He missed time with a shoulder injury this year, but has shown promise with the bat.

Brett Cumberland (#28): A 2016 Competitive Balance round B pick, Cumberland came from Atlanta in the Kevin Gausman trade. After an impressive combined .266/.409/.445 in 2017, he had a .696 OPS in 15 games at Double-A Bowie after the trade.

Jose Montanez: A 21st round pick in 2017, Montanez has shown good plate discipline and solid defense but no power whatsoever; zero homers in 189 AB’s the past two years.

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Cody Roberts: An 11th round pick in 2018, Roberts is a free-swinger posting 43 K’s in just 155 AB’s for Aberdeen. Similar to Beaird, we haven’t seen enough yet.

One to watch: Everyone will be watching Cumberland but I want to see how Jean Carrillo responds to moving up a level next year. His defense should play, but we’ll see if the bat can keep up.


Rylan Bannon (#22): [2B] An 8th round pick in 2017, Bannon came from LA in the Manny Machado trade. Rookie ball: 1.016 OPS, High-A: .961 OPS, Double-A: .671 OPS. He has some adjustments to make, but there are high hopes for Bannon.

Branden Becker: [2B] 17th round pick in 2017, Becker could develop gap power but isn’t going to be a big homer guy. He hit 15 doubles in Delmarva this year.

Jean Carmona (#14): [SS] Signed in 2017 out of the Dominican Republic, Carmona came from Milwaukee in the Jonathan Schoop trade. Carmona provides excellent defense up the middle and is an effective base-stealer.

Trevor Craport: [3B] An 11th rounder in 2017, Craport has good power and plate discipline and should spend most of 2019 in Bowie.

Seamus Curran: [1B] An 8th rounder in 2015, Curran’s power finally translated in Delmarva, but with a K rate close to 30%, he needs to solidify the bat-to-ball skills, or he’s projecting similar to Chris Davis.

Jean Carlos Encarnacion (#15): [3B] Acquired in the Kevin Gausman trade, Encarnacion has a lot of physical development left and should develop significant game power; he had 12 homers in the Sally League this year.

J.C. Escarra: [1B] A 15th rounder in 2017, Escarra had a stand-out year in Aberdeen hitting .331/.417/.511 with 6 homers and just 22 K’s to 18 walks.

Ian Evans: [1B] A 26th rounder in 2018, Evans split between the GCL and Aberdeen but didn’t exhibit any power or speed (0 homers and 9 doubles).

Clay Fisher: [SS] A 12th rounder in 2018, Fisher underwent TJ surgery in late 2017 and has spent all of this year recovering.

Andrew Fregia: [SS] A 13th rounder in 2018, Fregia was quite bland in rookie ball with no power, no speed and okay defense.

Cadyn Grenier (#10): [SS] A CBA pick in 2018, Grenier showed good speed on the base-paths and solid defense in Delmarva. His bat needs work.

Adam Hall (#27): [SS] A 2nd rounder in 2017, Hall hit well this year in Aberdeen and stole 22 bases. Just 19, he profiles as a Jonathan Villar-type infielder and could be an every day player in the majors in a few years.

Trevor Putzig: [3B] A 17th rounder in 2018, Putzig missed much of 2018 with a hamstring injury.

Alexis Torres: [2B] A 5th rounder in 2016, Torres is on the small side and doesn’t project well; not enough power or speed and the defense won’t get him to the majors.

One to watch: Keep an eye on Rylan Bannon. There’s a reason he was part of the Machado package and he could be an every-day player in Baltimore by 2020.


Nick Horvath: A 25th rounder in 2018, Horvath had a .736 OPS in Aberdeen; the defense projects better than the bat does.

Zach Jarrett: A 28th rounder in 2017, Jarrett’s bat stood out this year as he hit 14 homers and slugged .437.

Andrew Jayne: A 19th rounder in 2018, Jayne disappointed with a .212/.369/.250 line in rookie ball. Hopes aren’t high.

Robert Neustrom (#29): A 5th rounder in 2018, Neustrom has doubles power and good defense which might not translate as he hits higher levels.

T.J. Nichting: A 9th rounder in 2017, Nichting has gap power and is a stolen base threat, with 18 steals over the past two years. The defense should translate; the plate discipline isn’t great.

Doran Turchin: A 14th rounder in 2018, Turchin had 34 K’s to 8 walks and hit .197 in Aberdeen. Not great.

Trey Whitley: A 28th rounder this year, he hit .160 in rookie ball. He has a long way to go.

One to watch:  This is a tough group to choose from as the talent level just isn’t that high, but I want to see how Zach Jarrett’s power translates to higher levels and more advanced pitching.


Ryan Conroy, RHP: An 8th rounder in 2018, he pitched well getting 19 K’s in 16.1 innings in Aberdeen.

Gray Fenter, RHP: A 7th rounder in 2015, Fenter has a career 4.18 ERA but more than a K/inning. Could profile into the Orioles bullpen.

Hector Guance, RHP: Signed out of the Dominican in 2014, Guance doesn’t have big K upside or velo and likely won’t make it to Baltimore.

Cody Hacker, LHP: A 15th rounder in 2018, Hacker has trouble commanding the strike zone but at 18, he has a bit more time to settle down and find a rhythm.

Matthew Hammonds, LHP: A 29th rounder in 2017, Hammonds had a 3.74 ERA in 10 starts for Aberdeen, but he needs to control the zone more effectively or he’ll get eaten up at higher levels.

Brenan Hanifee, RHP (#19): A 4th rounder in 2016, Hanifee posted a 2.36 ERA in 23 starts, but just 85 K’s in 132 innings. Successful in spite of his stuff.

Hunter Harvey, RHP (#8): A 1st rounder in 2013, we’re getting to put-up or shut-up time with Harvey. He suffered through elbow tendinitis this year, thankfully avoiding TJ surgery but he’s running out of time in the minors. He needs to pitch well in 2019.

Yeancarlos Lleras, RHP: A 6th rounder in 2018, Lleras got shelled all year in rookie ball. 11 K’s to 15 walks is not a good sign.

Zach Matson, LHP: A 24th rounder in 2016, Matson dominated the 25.1 innings he pitched this year, with 35 K’s and just one homer allowed.

Marcos Molina, RHP: Molina was suspended for PED in August, released by the Mets and picked up by Baltimore. He has not pitched well in his short career.

Jarrett Montgomery, RHP: A 7th rounder in 2018, he’s been fine in limited time in Aberdeen, but doesn’t have a great skill-set.

Tim Naughton, RHP: A 37th rounder in 2017, Naughton has improved over the last two years and has good fastball command, but needs to temper down the walks in order to succeed.

Luis Perez, RHP: A 2.75 ERA and 76 K’s to 18 walks have our hopes high for the youngster out of the Dominican.

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP (#5): The 2018 1st rounder has good command and pitched well in rookie ball this year. The organization needs to focus on Rodriguez’s development; we can’t afford another pitching bust.

Drew Rom, LHP: A 4th rounder in 2018, Rom posted a 1.76 ERA and 28 K’s in the GCL this year. He’s looked impressive thus far.

Jayvien Sandridge, LHP: A 32nd rounder this year, Sandridge struggled with his command, allowing 12 walks in 18 innings this year, but he has good movement on his breaking pitches and has shown a bit of promise.

Cody Sedlock, RHP: The 1st rounder from 2016, Sedlock has not looked good in High-A Frederick. There’s too much hard contact, too few strikeouts and not enough command. Fingers crossed he isn’t a bust at this point.

Collin Woody, RHP: A 38th rounder in 2016, drafted as a 1B but he’s struggled immensely and the Orioles apparently want to try him out of the bullpen.

Jake Zebron, RHP: An 18th rounder in 2018, Zebron has upside as a command and control guy, similar to a Jalen Beeks. He’s an under-the-radar guy for next year.

One to watch: There are a handful here and I’m struggling between Grayson Rodriguez and Luis Perez. Rodriguez has the higher pedigree, for sure, but Perez has pitched very well this year and it’s hard not to want to keep an eye on him going into 2019.

Next. Should the Orioles release Chris Davis?. dark

Okay, you still with us?

There’s a lot there, I know. But, the Orioles need to focus on player development going forward; it’s their easiest path to success at this point.

They aren’t going to be good for the next couple years, at least. They need to properly develop these kids if there’s to be any success in the Orioles future.

We’ll be keeping an eye on instructs and the AFL over the next couple weeks as the mess in the front office gets worked out, and we move toward the off-season.