The Baltimore Orioles will add more players to the active roster after the conclusion of the Norfolk Tides season on Monday afternoon.
Happy Labor Day, Birdland! I hope your holiday involves some well-deserved relaxation, Baltimore Orioles baseball, and a few cold beverages before it’s back to the office tomorrow. Ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, we have more information about additional roster moves expected to take place at the conclusion of the Norfolk Tides season today.
Nothing is official yet, but Norfolk Tides beat writer David Hall of The Virginian-Pilot and MASN’s Roch Kubakto have both reported moves which are all but official and a possible roster surprise. Unfortunately, you will not hear the name Ryan Mountcastle in the coming days. Kubatko is reporting that he will not be making his way to Baltimore in September.
We mentioned earlier today about the possibility of an outfielder not on the 40-man roster making his way to Baltimore this week and it appears that may be the case. According to Kubatko, he is “hearing Mason Williams could have contract selected.”
Williams signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in late-March and has spent the entire season with Triple-A Norfolk. In 120 games, Williams hit .309 with a .372 OBP, 18 home runs and 15 doubles. The 28-year-old lefty posted a 118 wRC+ with the Tides, a career-high for any season with more than 100 games played.
The former top prospect isn’t someone who will contribute to the roster next season and may not even be in the organization next year, but if what Kubatko is hearing is true, it’s a great gesture by the Orioles to reward the journeyman with a major league callup.
Williams produced a highlight reel of impressive plays in the field this season, flashing his speed and arm while finishing fifth in the International League in hits (120) and seventh in batting average (.309), just one point behind the International League MVP, Ryan Mountcastle.
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As for the rest of the group, we already know what to expect from Blach and Hess. Blach surrendered eight earned runs on 13 hits in three innings just a few days ago in his final start with the Tides. Hess has been used mainly out of the pen since being sent to Triple-A, where the long ball has continued to be a problem, giving up seven across 41 innings.
Expect to see a healthy dose of Austin Wynns, only because Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco have taken a beating this season behind the plate. Wynns hit .266 with a .355 OBP and 10 extra-base hits in 66 games this season at the minor league level.
Other than Mason Williams the only other slightly intriguing piece coming up is Chandler Shepherd. I can’t believe I’m saying this, especially after his horrendous start to his Orioles career. Having watched every single Norfolk Tides game this year, I’ve seen some pretty bad pitching performances, but Shepherd took the crown during the month of July.
Flip the calendar to August and Shepherd has been lights out. Here are his numbers from his five August starts-
- 6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
- 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
- 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
- 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
- 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Those five starts included two against the Gwinnett Stripers and two against the Charlotte Knights, both very good teams loaded with major league veterans and elite prospects.
Obviously the list of roster additions is severely underwhelming in terms of excitement level and long-term major league talent, but it’s September and I’m looking for any storyline I can grasp my hands on to keep my interest.
*Update- David Hall is now reporting that RHP Evan Phillips and RHP Tayler Scott will also be joining the Orioles.*
Official announcements will likely come this evening after the Baltimore Orioles and Norfolk Tides complete their games.