Baltimore Orioles: A History Of O’s Prospects In MLB Futures Game
By Nick Stevens
A history of Baltimore Orioles prospects playing in the MLB Futures Game.
2003- RHP John Maine
The 2003 season was a big season for John Maine, a former sixth-round pick and top pitching prospect of the Baltimore Orioles. He led all minor league pitchers with 185 strikeouts between Delmarva and Frederick, earning himself a spot on the US roster for the 2003 contest. He followed up a 13-4 and 2.27 ERA 2003 season with a 9-7 and 3.60 ERA season between AA Bowie and AAA Ottawa, making his major league debut later that year.
Maine made just nine starts with the Orioles before he was packaged with reliever Jorge Julio in a deal with the Mets for starting pitcher Kris Benson. Despite his high walk numbers, Maine had a few productive years with the Mets, going 39-32 with a 4.17 ERA in parts of five seasons at the big league level.
2004- OF Val Majewski
A left-handed hitting outfield prospect out of Rutgers, the Orioles selected Majewski with their third-round pick of the 2002 draft. After quickly working his way up to Double-A, Majewski was the O’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2004 after hitting .307 with 15 home runs for the Baysox. His big season led to a promotion to the big league squad, where Majewski would play just nine games in a major league uniform, all with the Orioles.
Unfortunately, his season ended early with a shoulder injury that cost him all of his 2005 season. He would spend almost another decade in baseball, bouncing between minor league and independent league teams before calling it a career after his 2013 season with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League (three games).
2005- RHP Jim Johnson and OF/LHP Adam Loewen
Jim Johnson of 2012 and 2013 was a fantastic closer for the Baltimore Orioles, in fact, he was one of the best in baseball (101 saves in two seasons). Johnson was a starter as he worked his way up from the Gulf Coast League to AAA, but found his niche in the bullpen in his first full season with the Orioles back in 2008 (54 games, 2-4 record, 2.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP).
The Orioles traded Johnson to Oakland, after his 50 save season of 2013, for IF Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later. Johnson struggled mightily after being traded, posting ERAs of 7.09 and 4.46 in each of his next two seasons (just 12 saves). Despite posting solid strikeout numbers and finding success as a closer with the Atlanta Braves in 2016 and 2017, Johnson remains a free agent after a 5-3, 3.84 ERA (63 IP) season with the LA Angels. At 35, this may be it for the former standout closer of the Orioles
A pitcher turned outfielder and back to pitcher, Adam Loewen helped lead the 2005 World team to a four-hit shutout of Team USA in the Futures Game, this while going 10-8 with a 4.12 ERA with the Frederick Keys that same season. Loewen was the fourth overall pick of the Orioles in the 2002 draft, but made just 29 starts with the Orioles before injuries forced him to convert to a position player.
He made his first transition with the Toronto Blue Jays after he was released by Baltimore in 2008. Over the next eight seasons, Loewen played for three different franchises, hitting .189 with one home run in 37 career at-bats at the major league level.
2006- OF Nolan Reimold
Another classic “what if” story. Nolan Reimold was a second-round pick of the Orioles back in 2005 and quickly became one of the top prospects in the organization. He ended that 2005 season in High-A ball with a combined .385 OBP and 15 home runs with the Frederick Keys and Aberdeen Ironbirds. It earned him a 2006 Futures Game nod, where some believed it wouldn’t be long before he reached the majors. He did in 2009, but two significant injuries (Achilles and spinal fusion surgery) severely limited him throughout his career, limiting him to just 480 career games at the big league level. A healthy Reimold could have been a fan favorite in Birdland and a pretty good baseball player.
2007- RHP Pedro Beato and LHP Garrett Olson
Still hanging around the Mexican League and independent ball, Beato was a Comp A pick of the O’s in 2006, working his way up to Double-A in 2010 before becoming a Rule 5 pick of the Mets. After struggling as a starter, Beato was moved to the bullpen in 2010, going 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 43 games with the Baysox, unfortunately, the Orioles weren’t able to continue with the experiment. He would return to the organization in 2015, pitching in AAA for two years before electing free agency. Beato appeared in 85 career major league games (4-2, 4.31 ERA), none with the Orioles.
Olson never participated in the 2007 contest, but cruised his way to the major leagues in less than three years from the time he was a first-round pick of the O’s in 2005. He would make 33 starts in two seasons with the Orioles, posting a 10-13 record and 6.87 ERA, walking nearly as many as he struck out. Olson was then traded to Chicago for Felix Pie and bounced around from team to team before ending his career in Korea.
2008- RHP Jake Arrieta
This one still hurts. If you’re reading this, you are likely an O’s fan and you know the sting associated with Jake Arrieta’s name. After four seasons in Baltimore, Arrieta owned a 20-25 record and 5.46 ERA, known for his high walks, home runs, and best known as another failed pitching development story. Since he was traded with Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger, Arrieta has won a Cy Young Award, finished in the top 10 of voting two other times, and has an All-Star appearance and World Series ring to his name. Hopefully, stories like these are over with in Birdland.