When the Baltimore Orioles released their 44-man roster a few days ago, many wondered where the prospects were.
Then Mike Elias went on the record talking about how he would add players when they needed them. He said it was easier to add prospects to the roster than to remove them.
As fans have endured several losing seasons and expect to have another, they want to see the players that were chosen to eventually bring more wins. Patience is tough, and fans want to see who is expected to lead the team in the next few seasons.
So, what prospects are most likely to appear in the short 2020 season? Here’s my take:
Most Likely to Get Some Playing Time
Of all the prospects who were not on the 60-man roster, this one surprised fans the most. Mountcastle can hit, and the Orioles need hitters. He also just happens to be a first baseman, and the Orioles need one who can play daily. He’s been in the Orioles system since 2015 when the team drafted him out of high school, and he’s earn several honors in all levels of the minor league system. At age 23, he’s more than ready to get more than a cup of coffee.
The Orioles acquired Kremer when they traded Manny Machado to the Dodgers. The 24-year-old right hander has a knock-out curve ball that can get the outs the Orioles need to get a few wins on the board. With the Orioles current pitching rotation, it’s clear they need someone who has an arsenal, and Kremer could come in to fill in spot starts throughout the short season.
Akin’s absence on the list was another shocker for fans. He saw time on the mound in spring training, but struggled a bit earning an ERA over seven in 9.2 innings. He’s been in the Orioles minor league system since 2016, and he played three years of NCAA ball at Western Michigan University. It’s time to put the lefty on the mound in Baltimore.
It might seem like the Orioles outfield is crowded at the moment, but it can certainly be improved. Diaz has an above-average arm and what critics call “pure hitting ability.” With Trey Mancini out for the season, and only four outfielders on the 40-man roster, Diaz should show up at some point in 2020.
Wait Until 2021
The Orioles are in no hurry to put their top prospect in harms way in 2020. They are loaded with catchers and Rutschman hasn’t played in competition above Single-A ball. While it would be nice to see him in the Major Leagues, he won’t play there, yet. Don’t be surprised to see him added to the 60-man player pool, but he won’t make it to the 30-man roster for real games. He’ll get time playing in intersquad matchups at the Alternate Training Site.
He might be the number two prospect in the O’s organization, but there are prospect pitchers with more seasoning in his way. He’s another one who will eventually be added to the 60-man roster, but he won’t leave the Alternate Training Site.
Despite having a fastball in the high 90s, Hall has only pitched in Single-A ball. He needs some more time with coaches in the minors rather than against the tough hitters in the AL and NL East. He’ll join Rodriguez and Rutschman at the Alternate Training Site, too.
As a middle infielder, there’s no room for him at Camden Yards just yet. Jose Iglesias should be fine in a 60-game season, and Hanser Alberto should be, too. There are already too many able-bodied infielder vying for spots, like Richie Martin and Andrew Velazquez. Stevie Wilkerson is also looking for a spot.
Under-the-Radar 2020 Possibilities
An under-the-radar right-hander, Baumann could find an occasional spot start with the Orioles in 2020. He’s got a fastball that can reach 99 MPH and a slider that gets outs. He’s still working on his other pitches, but you just don’t know what the O’s will do with a pitcher who has had success at Double-A ball.
He’s the other under-the-radar pitcher who could also get a spot start. As a lefty, he could be in high demand. His skill as a pitcher is in deception and placement, rather than pure speed – like Baumann. He and Baumann are at the same level of development in the O’s system, but that left hand gives him an added reason to see time in the Big Leagues.