Baltimore Orioles: Another Under The Radar Prospect, RHP Jay Flaa
The Baltimore Orioles have many prospects in the minor league system who fly under the radar and deserve watching based on their performance.
Bowie Baysox (AA) RHP Jay Flaa had quite a season in 2018. Appearing in 41 games for the Baysox, the sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2015 pitched a total of 65 innings and finished with a 3-1 record, while going two for three in save opportunities. He struck out 67 and walked 28, achieving a 2.77 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. He ranked second on the team in total appearances, fifth in strikeouts, and his WHIP was third-best among the team’s regulars (players making rehab assignments were not included).
Flaa’s numbers were solid, no matter how you slice them, but they really didn’t generate much publicity or discussion. That could be due to the fact that Birds Watcher #6 prospect Keegan Akin was dominant for the Baysox, and as such, was the prospect all eyes were on. I am sure that the trade of Manny Machado in July by the Orioles that brought Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, and Zach Pop to the Baysox also helped in overshadowing Flaa’s performance.
This past season was Flaa’s third year pitching for a full season affiliate and represented a continued improvement for the 26-year-old. Flaa pitched for Delmarva (A-Low) in 2016 and produced a 5-1 record with a 3.50 ERA. He lowered his ERA in 2017 to 3.29 while pitching to a 4-4 record with Delmarva (A-Adv.).
As a result of what he did in Bowie and to further evaluate what they had in the right-hander, Flaa was sent to the Arizona Fall League. He appeared in 11 games (12.0 innings) for the Glendale Desert Dogs and finished the AFL stint with a 0-1 record and 4.50 ERA with six strikeouts and 10 walks against some of the best prospects in all of minor league baseball.
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What skewed Flaa’s AFL numbers were his first four appearances: a 13.50 ERA over 3.1 innings of work. He bounced back by allowing just one earned run over his last seven appearances (8.2 innings) and looked more like the pitcher he was in Bowie. Again, not much was said about Flaa due to that poor start and also due to the torrid fall performance by fellow Orioles’ prospect, Ryan McKenna.
The doubters will point to Flaa’s age when looking at his stat line; he was on average, 1.6 years older than his Eastern League peers in Bowie. They will say that he should have been pitching well against younger players and the point is a valid one.
Despite his age, Flaa should find himself pitching out of the bullpen in Norfolk (AAA) for the 2019 season. If he pitches well for the Tides, and certainly if he continues to lower the runs he surrenders while there, he may factor into the pitchers who come to Baltimore to help an Orioles bullpen in need of arms.
I list Flaa as another interesting prospect who flew under the radar in 2018 and deserves following in 2019.
What are your thoughts, Orioles’ fans?