Pedro Araujo and company have had fairly successful winter ball campaigns in the Dominican Republic.
The claiming of Hanser Alberto off waivers went largely unnoticed and for good reason. With any future signing, expect to see Alberto’s name immediately after as the player designated for assignment to clear a space on the currently full 40-man roster, however, for now, he is a part of Birdland.
Alberto is having one of the more successful seasons among the small number of Orioles who are putting in the time during the winter. In 171 at-bats, Alberto finished with a .322/.366/.392 slash line, adding nine doubles, one home run, and a .758 OPS. He continued to hit right-handed pitching with more success, hitting .331 against RHP, something he has done well over the course of his minor league career. We’ll see how much longer he calls Birdland home.
A few days ago, fellow contributor Chuck Boemmel discussed Pedro Araujo’s 2018 season and what 2018 may hold for the young pitcher. A Rule 5 pick from last season, Araujo will have to remain on the active roster for a few games before the Orioles can option him to the minor leagues, but his 2019 is off to a productive start.
Araujo went 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in eight contest, striking out 14 hitters and walking just two. Right-handed batters hit a microscopic .095 against Araujo and struggled to get the ball in the air.
It may be easy to dismiss Araujo’s ability to pitch at the major league level, but he’s had success in the minors and has the tools to become a reliable option out of the bullpen, with a little more seasoning in the minors. Maybe a successful trip to the Dominican Republic will have a positive effect on him come spring training.
Lastly from the Dominican Republic, Diogenes Almengo. A 23-year-old RHP who signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles before the 2018 season, Almengo struck out 36 hitters and allowed a .215 batting average across 28 innings with the Delmarva Shorebirds and Aberdeen Ironbirds last season. He continued his positive run back home in the Dominican.
Almengo appeared in 22 games, posting a 4-1 record and 3.04 ERA across 26.2 innings. He allowed just one home run in a league full of powerful hitters and top prospect talent. There’s very little information out there on Almengo, but he’s piqued my interest and will be someone we follow a little more closely in 2019.