Orioles: Scouts On In-House Talent
A while back we looked at the top five prospects among the 14 minor league players the Orioles acquired in July during a series of trades before the non-waiver deadline.
This time around, let’s look at who scouts from opposing teams believe are the top five in-house prospects who finished the season on the Orioles’ major league roster. To quality for this list, though, a player must have had rookie status entering 2018 and not been acquired in one of the trades.
The 23-year-old outfielder makes this list on a bit of technicality. He did not actually appear in a game for the Orioles but was recalled and placed on the 60-day disabled list in September to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
However, Hays is clearly one of the Orioles’ best prospects and hit .217/.238/.317 with one home run in a 20-game trial with the major league club at the end of the 2017 season. He reached the major leagues just a year after being the Orioles’ third-round draft pick from Jacksonville University.
Hays was limited to a combined 75 games at Class AA Bowie and short season Class A Aberdeen this season because of shoulder and ankle injuries. He batted .235/.266/.410 with 12 home runs in 75 games.
Scout’s take: “You’ve got to kind of just write this year off for the kid because he was hurt but he still showed some pretty good pop despite being injured. I don’t think he’s going to be a superstar, per se, but he has solid tools all the way around and should be a good major league regular. In a good year, he might pop you 25 home runs.”
The 24-year-old outfielder made his major league debut Sept. 12 and batted .250/.340/.550 with three home runs and two stolen bases in 17 games. That came after he hit a lackluster .235/.289/.387 with 12 home runs in 116 games with Class AAA Norfolk.
The Orioles drafted Stewart in the first round in 2015 from Florida State with the 25th overall pick. Many scouts felt he was an overdraft in the first round.
In 2017, Stewart hit 21 home runs and stole 20 bases for Bowie.
Scout’s take: “He handled himself pretty well in the big leagues, better than I thought, but it was also a small sample size. He has some power and some speed. He can do some things. He’s not a great defensive outfielder but he’s not a butcher. I see him more as a part-time player, though he could be a lot more if he can learn to improve his plate discipline.”
Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations, told Baltimore Sports and Life during spring training that many teams asked about Scott in trade talks over the winter. The Orioles held onto the left-handed reliever and he pitched in 53 games for the major league club this season, going 3-3 with a 5.40 ERA and per nine averages of 9.3 hits, 1.0 home runs, 4.7 walks and 12.8 strikeouts.
Scott, who also pitched in two games for the Orioles in 2017, began this season at Norfolk. In 10 games with the Tides, he had a 0.75 ERA with per nine averages of 7.5 hits, 0.0 homers, 6.8 walks and 9.8 strikeouts.
The Orioles’ sixth-round draft pick in 2014 from Howard (Texas) College, Scott’s fastball averaged 97.1 mph this season and he also throws a slider.
Scout’s take: He throws hard, but his slider is his best pitch, it can be real wipeout pitch that causes funky swings. There is no doubt he had a very good arm and the stuff to be a closer. The big thing with him, though, is if he is going to be able to gain command of those two pitches. If he ever consistently throws strikes, look out. If not, he can still be useful bullpen piece but you’re not going to be able to trust him with the game on the line in the ninth inning.”
If nothing else, Mullins will be remembered as the man who forced the move of Adam Jones to right field as the 24-year-old took over as the primary center fielder upon making his major league debut Aug. 10.
Mullins had a 45-game stint with the Orioles, hitting .235/.312/.359 with four homers and two steals. That came after he compiled a combined .289/.346/.472 line with 12 homers and 21 steals in 109 games with Norfolk and Bowie.
The 5-foot-8 switch-hitter was the Orioles’ 13th-round draft pick in 2015 from Louisburg (N.C.) College.
Scout’s take: “He was a little overmatched at times against big league pitching but that was to be expected. I like this guy. He’s a high-energy player and he makes things happen with his legs, both on the bases and with his range in center field. I’m not ready to say he is going to be an All-Star but there is some upside there and he has a chance to be a decent everyday center fielder.”
Sisco came into the season considered one of the top catching prospects in baseball but he hit just .181/.288/.269 with two home runs in 63 games for the Orioles. That came after he made his major league debut in 2017 with a 10-game trial.
The 23-year-old Sisco began the season in Baltimore but then was sent down to Norfolk for the month of May to work on his defense. He wound up throwing out 31 percent (13 of 42) runners attempting to steal, a tick above the major league average of 28 percent.
In 2013, the Orioles chose Sisco in the second round of the draft from Santiago High School in Corona, Calif.
Scout’s take: “He had a disappointing season, there is no getting around that. Still, the kid definitely has talent and I wouldn’t give up on him at his age. He has power in his bat but now he has to figure out how to unlock it at the major league level. I do like how he improved his defense because that part of the game was his weak point in the minor leagues. I’ll give him a mulligan on this year and see how he bounces back in 2019.”
John Perrotto has been a professional sports writer since 1982 and has covered a multitude of sports, including MLB, NFL and college football and basketball. He has been a member of the Baseball Writers' Association since 1988, a Hall of Fame voter since 1997 and has covered 21 World Series and two Super Bowls. He is a graduate of Geneva College, the birthplace of college basketball, and lives in Beaver Falls, Pa., the hometown of Joe Willie Namath.
He also writes The Perrotto Report (theperrottoreport.com), newsletters that concentrate on Major League Baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates.