The Baltimore Orioles announced their second round of cuts following Sunday’s game. There were a few surprises in those cuts.
The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday by a score of 8-5 in Sarasota. The team announced their next round of cuts following the game, with eight players being reassigned.
The Orioles sent RHP Luis Ortiz and OF DJ Stewart to Norfolk (AAA), RHP Dillon Tate to Bowie (AA), and C Martin Cervenka, OF Yusniel Diaz, LHP Sean Gilmartin, IF Ryan Mountcastle and RHP Bo Schultz were sent to the minor league camp.
Admittedly, the reassignments of Cervenka, Diaz, Gilmartin, Shultz, Ortiz, and Tate come as no real surprise. None of these players were realistically thought to be in the running for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Tate has had some injury issues that he is working back from and, as I have opined earlier, Diaz needs to work on his plate discipline. Ortiz struggled while in Baltimore in 2018 and certainly could use the regular innings at the minor league level. Cervenka and Gilmartin are organizational types right now and will fill needed depth in the minors. Cervenka, with work, could factor into future catching needs, however.
The reassignments of Mountcastle and Stewart do come as a bit of a surprise. Ranked as the number two and number 16 prospects, respectively, by MLB Pipeline, I honestly expected the pair to remain in MLB camp longer than this.
Mountcastle slashed .286/ .355/ .429 in 16 games with one home run, four runs driven in, and nine runs scored. He saw time at both infield corners and represented himself well when playing first base. Mountcastle’s bat has never been in question; the team is searching for a place for him to play on defense, however.
Stewart appeared in 14 games this spring and slashed .267/ .333/ .433 with four runs scored and three runs driven in. I really felt that he did enough this spring to warrant a longer look, especially following his 2018 call-up to Baltimore that saw him hit .250/ .340/ .550 in 17 games.
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I have to believe that the Orioles sent the former 2015 first round draft picks Mountcastle and Stewart down in order to give the pair regular at-bats and play against their peers. Both young players will end up at Norfolk and will be a “Norfolk Shuttle” ride away from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Diaz, the Orioles’ top prospect and centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade, needs to work on certain aspects of his game, something he will be able to do with regularity in the minor leagues.
The trio of Diaz, Mountcastle and Stewart will certainly join the Orioles at some point in the not too distant future; now is just not their time to shine. Top prospects and first-round draft picks will play a part in the rebuild, you can count on it.
It certainly speaks well as to what general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde are doing so far that there is no room on the roster for quality prospects such as this trio. Things are beginning to look up in Baltimore!