Baltimore Orioles: Four Prospects Added To Roster, With One Surprise
By Nick Stevens
The Baltimore Orioles have added four Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects to the 40-man roster.
Finally, some Baltimore Orioles roster news! On Wednesday afternoon, hours before the 8 pm EST deadline to finalize 40-man rosters, the Orioles announced the addition of four prospects to the roster, protecting them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.
Infielder turned outfielder Ryan Mountcastle, pitchers Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer, and outfielder Ryan McKenna have all been added to the 40-man roster. The roster now stands at 39 players.
It’s been assumed for a long time now that Mountcastle, Akin, and Kremer were locks to be protected. All three figure to be fixtures at the major league level by the end of next summer.
McKenna was on the bubble, with his elite defense and speed yet subpar offensive performance with Double-A Bowie last season. While many, ourselves included, have pushed the narrative of a down year for McKenna, he still recorded a wRC+ of 104, maintained a walk rate above 10%, and swiped 25 bases.
The speed is real, as is the defense. The emergence of Austin Hays in center field and crowded outfield situation gives the Orioles the opportunity to keep McKenna in the minors and not rush his development. Protecting him on the 40-man keeps him safe in the organization until Baltimore is ready to make another decision about his roster status down the road.
Many fans began calling for the addition of RHP Gray Fenter, but even with active rosters expanding to 26 players next year, the odds of another team selecting Fenter in the Rule 5 draft and him sticking around for a full season are slim. He’s a good pitcher and someone worth following closely. Not adding him isn’t a knock on him.
The one surprise is certainly RHP Cody Sedlock. Sedlock was a first-round pick of the Orioles back in 2016 and is coming off a dominant season in the minors, splitting time between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie.
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Between the two levels, Sedlock went 5-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.20 WHIP while striking out 100 hitters in 95 innings and limiting opponents to a .202 average. However, he’s spent the majority of his time in the Orioles organization dealing with injuries.
Like Fenter and his lack of experience above A-ball, Mike Elias seems to be gambling that other franchises will stay away from Sedlock, knowing his injury history and requirement to keep him on the active roster for a full season.
Brett Cumberland, the 29th ranked prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system, was also left unprotected. That move isn’t surprising. I don’t foresee any other team selecting Cumberland, giving the Orioles a bit more time to see if his well-regarded offensive tools come around.
With one roster spot open, will the Orioles look to make a waiver claim by the end of the week? Or will they bank it and use it down the road? Stay tuned to find out!