Orioles Minor League Prospect Press
With pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training 2016, it’s time to take another look at some prospects in the Baltimore organization. If you follow the system, these names are everyday names that you’ve heard of. After spending extensive time reviewing the players below, I’ll give a brief overview of the player and their outlook for the 2016 season and forward. Last time out, we reviewed Josh Hart, Jonah Heim and others. I’ve also covered David Hess, Chris Lee, Chance Sisco and more.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Tanner Scott – LHP
In just two years since being drafted by Baltimore in the 2014 MLB Draft, lefty Tanner Scott has made tremendous strides in the control/command department. He’s worked on his mechanics, to create a nice and fluid delivery. He has an electric arm, with a fastball (94-96 mph – 99 mph) – although I’ve heard he has hit 100+ a few times (I’ve only seen him top 99 mph in person). Additionally, he has a slider (81-85 mph) and a change-up (89-91 mph). His slider is the best of the two secondary offerings, with late sweeping action. The change-up is still a work in progress and is an easy pitch to pick up, due to the slower arm action and not offering much speed differential from his fastball. He’s not afraid to attack hitters with his fastball and does a good job of working both sides of the plate.
I’ve mentioned this to a few people who have asked, but with the exception of Mychal Givens, Scott is the best reliever prospect in the organization. Even if his change-up doesn’t fully develop, he’s still a hard throwing lefty with an average slider. He’s worked tremendously hard on his command, as he’s lowered his BB% from 18% in 2014 to 12% in 2015, respectively. He should open the 2016 season in Frederick (A+).
Trey Mancini – 1B
Mancini made a huge splash in 2015 after hitting 21 home runs between Frederick (A+) and Bowie (AA). After a slow start in 2015, he made a change in his mental approach at the plate and everything clicked. He has a slightly closed stance that has minimal moving parts, which was changed during Spring Training in 2015. Although he showed home run power last season, his overall hit tool projects for more of a line drive, gap-to-gap hitter. He does a nice job using all parts of the field. The swing can get long at times, which will give him troubles against pitchers with higher velocity. Additionally, he’s a “swing early” type, that sometimes results in too aggressive of a swing on bad pitches. In the field, his range and arm will limit him at first base. Speed is limited on the base paths.
Certainly 2015 was an exciting run for Mancini; however there are several road blocks that may limit Mancini’s growth. With Chris Davis returning for the next few seasons, and Christian Walker already on the 40-man roster, the first base position is a log-jam. Additionally, despite the 20+ home runs in 2015, Mancini doesn’t project as a power hitter, with a lot of the batting average generated from a high batting average on balls in play (BABIP). I’d like to see a more patient approach at the plate, in regards to seeing more pitches. If he continues to hit, the Orioles could try a corner outfield spot for him, but I don’t think it will stick. He should open the season with Norfolk (AAA).
Donnie Hart – LHP
A lefty reliever drafted in the 27th round will not show up on many radars, but I like Hart. He doesn’t generate a lot of velocity, but thanks to sidearm angle, his deception makes him someone of interest, especially given the Orioles recent success with Darren O’ Day and Mychal Givens. Hart, 5’11”, features a two-seam fastball (87-89 mph – 91 mph), a change-up (77-79 mph) and a slider (74-76 mph). He uses a circle-changeup grip and is able to generate a nice sinking motion on the pitch – it’s easily his best secondary. He’s also comfortable throwing the pitch to both left-handed and right-handed hitters. The slider is inconsistent and doesn’t have much movement to it. Because of the sidearm delivery, he does have trouble repeating mechanics. Thanks to a heavy fastball and good sinking motion on his change-up, ground-balls are not a problem.
After a successful 2015 season, mostly in Frederick (A+) and a few innings with Bowie (AA+) and the Arizona Fall League, Hart figures to start the 2016 season in Bowie (AA). He’s a left-handed hitter killer, but I think he could be used for more than LOOGY purposes. Thanks to a deceptive delivery, ground balls and average strikeouts, he could be an interesting reliever moving forward.
Jomar Reyes – 3B
Not known for their International signings, the Orioles signed a solid, young bat with Jomar Reyes. Just 19, Reyes is the one of the best hitting prospects in the system. He was one of the youngest players in South Atlantic League in 2015 and hit .278/.334/.440 with five home runs in 84 games. However, part of his season was spent on the disabled list, as he dealt with a sprained right thumb and a concussion near the end of the season. Additionally, Reyes required surgery during the off-season due to a broken hamate bone suffered during instructional league play.
Reyes has solid power to all fields and will hit for average and power. His stance is squared-off and he generates great bat speed. He has a front leg quick, but doesn’t over-extend himself and stays balanced. He has a solid build and has a good approach at the plate, great things for a teenager. In the field, he has a strong arm and is able to make the throws to first base from third without issue. His footwork around third base is sloppy at times and he can be overaggressive on balls, due to a lack of mobility.
When you watch Reyes, you forget that he’s a teenager at times. He shows great patience at the plate and the power is real. His swing can appear exaggerated at times due to the leg kick, but he’s shown thus far that he can hit both for power and for average. Hopefully the injuries don’t restrict his ability to hit in the future. As far as position on the field, unless his feet improve at third base, I suspect he will move to first base. He should repeat the 2016 season in Delmarva (A).
Reggie Yinger has spent the parts of five seasons as a Player Development Coordinator for the Baltimore Orioles. He has extensive experience in computer programming and baseball.