The Baltimore Orioles have a few prospects on the cusp of making their Major League debut and playing a part in the team’s rebuild. Here are some lesser-known prospects that are worth watching in 2019
Fans of the Baltimore Orioles are certainly familiar with at least the first half of the team’s Top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline. The top-5, Yusniel Diaz, Ryan Mountcastle, D.L. Hall, Austin Hays, and Grayson Rodriguez, all are well known to Orioles die-hards.
It’s the players in the second half of that prospect list, and the many who didn’t make the cut, who are not as well known. As the Orioles begin their rebuild under new General Manager Mike Elias, the team’s prospects will play a big role moving forward.
Here are six of those lesser-known Orioles’ prospects that I’ll be watching in 2019, and that I think fans would enjoy following as well.
Jayvien Sandridge (LHP)
Sandridge was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. The Hagerstown, MD native was assigned to the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) as most high school draft picks are. In 18 innings over a span of 15 appearances, Sandridge produced a 3-0 record with a 2.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
Sandridge is a big (6’5″, 220 lb.) southpaw who surrendered just one home run in his first professional season. He does need to improve his control however, as his five hit batters and twelve walks demonstrate. He finished 2018 with five consecutive scoreless appearances (6.1 innings, 25 batters faced, 3 hits, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks).
Jimmy Murphy (RHP)
Murphy, the Baltimore Orioles 8th round draft pick in 2017 out of Fordham University, pitched for the Aberdeen Ironbirds (A-Short) in 2018. He appeared in 15 games, 11 of which were starts, and finished with a 3-6 record, a 3.53 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Murphy’s 71.1 innings pitched were good for second on the Ironbirds’ staff and he was one of four Aberdeen pitchers to throw at least one complete game. Overall, Murphy had a solid season but two 3 inning, 4 earned run appearances skewed his final season numbers.
Kirvin Moesquit (2B)
Moesquit, a native of Curacao, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 24th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Playing for the Delmarva Shorebirds (A-Low), he produced a slash line of .251/.330/.333 with 74 runs scored over 122 games and led the entire Baltimore Orioles Minor League system with 49 stolen bases. For his career, Moesquit has stolen 100 bases. 2018 was his first year playing for a full-season affiliate.
Tyler Erwin (LHP)
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Erwin, the great-great-great nephew of US President James K. Polk, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of New Mexico State University in 2016 (23rd round). He led the entire Orioles MiLB system in both saves (18) and appearances (50) as a member of the Frederick Keys (A-High) bullpen.
The southpaw finished 2018 with a 4-4 record, a 1.58 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He struck out 84 batters in 68.1 innings of work. Erwin appeared in 11 games (10 innings) for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League and struggled to a 0-1 record with a 5.40 ERA and 12 strike outs against advanced competition.
Ademar Rifaela (LF)
Rifaela followed up his 2017 Carolina League MVP season with a season in Bowie (AA) where he slashed .265/.322/.396 with 7 home runs and 41 RBI for the Baysox. He is a native of Curacao and was signed as an international free agent in 2013.
Rifaela played with Kirvin Moesquit for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the International Super 6 Baseball Tournament, where he appeared in thee games and went 5 for 9 with 4 walks, 5 runs scored and one double.
Luis Gonzalez (LHP)
Gonzalez spent time in both Bowie and Norfolk (AAA) and was under consideration for a promotion to the Baltimore Orioles’ 40-man roster. In 42 combined appearances, Gonzalez pitched to a 2-3 record with 9 saves in 10 opportunities over 70.2 innings of work.
Gonzalez finished with a 3.18 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 85 strike-outs. Two of his three losses came at the Triple-A level. His numbers for the Tides were inflated by a two-thirds of an inning, six earned run appearance in late August. Excluding that one outing, he was lights out pitching for Norfolk.
Keep these players in mind as you follow the Orioles MiLB system in 2019. They are in no way top prospects yet, but their past performances make them worthy of watching, and I have my eyes on them.