Scouts Thoughts On Some Of The Talent The Orioles Got Back
The Baltimore Orioles added minor league players in quantity at the end of July.
They acquired 14 farmhands in a series of trades they sent six veterans packing leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. The question, though, is how many of those minor leaguers are truly prospects?
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
We polled five scouts and executives inside the game and they believe five of the 14 have a chance to be average major league players or better. Here is a look at the five:
The 21-year-old outfielder was the key prospect among the five-man package the Orioles received from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Manny Machado. Baseball Prospectus ranks Diaz as the 31st-best prospect in baseball while Baseball America has him at No. 44 and MLBPipline.com ranks him 54th.
The Dodgers signed the Cuban defector to a $15.5-million bonus as an amateur free agent in 2016. He played two seasons in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s professional league.
With Class AA Bowie, Diaz has batted .229/.331/.381 with four home runs and four stolen bases in 34 games. He started the season with Class AA Tulsa and hit .314/.428/.477 with six homers and eight steals in 59 games.
Scout’s take: “He’s got some power and he’s got some speed. I don’t think he’s going to be a superstar but he’s going to be a good major leaguer, the type of guy who will hit 20 homers a year and steal 15 bases. He can play center field, but I think it’s a stretch to see him at that position in the major leagues. He’ll be an above average defending on an outfielder corner, though, and he’s a nice piece for the Orioles’ rebuilding.”
The 22-year-old right-hander was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop trade. The Orioles mark Ortiz’s third organization as the Texas Rangers selected him the supplemental first round of the 2014 draft then dealt him to the Brewers two years later.
The Orioles assigned Ortiz to Class AAA Norfolk, the first time he has pitched at that level, and he has responded by going 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA in five starts. His peripheral statistics have been less than impressive as he is allowing 9.1 hits, 0.3 home runs and 2.4 walks per nine innings while striking out 5.7.
Ortiz made 11 starts and five relief appearances for Class AA Biloxi before the trade and was 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA. He had per nine averages of 8.3 hits, 0.9 home runs, 2.4 walks and 8.6 strikeouts.
Scout’s take: “Norfolk is a good ballpark to pitch in, so that should give him a good shot of confidence. He throws hard and he has a good slider but, for me, he’s going to have to develop a changeup to be a quality major league starter. At worst, he should be a good late-inning reliever. The one thing I worry about is his conditioning, though. He’s listed at 6-3, 230 but I think he weighs more than that and he’s got to be careful not to get any bigger.”
The 24-year-old right-hander was one of three players to come over from the New York Yankees in the Zach Britton trade. Like Ortiz, Tate is on his third organization as the Rangers picked him fourth overall in the 2015 draft then dealt him to the Yankees a year later.
Tate has not lived up to his lofty draft status and is just 2-3 with a 5.91 ERA in five starts with Bowie. He is giving up 11.1 hits, 0.8 home runs and 1.5 walks per nine innings with a paltry 4.4 strikeouts. With Class AA Trenton this year, he was 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 starts while averaging 7.3 hits, 0.7 home runs, 2.7 walks and 8.2 strikeouts per nine.
Scout’s take: “I’m sure if the Rangers had to do it all over again, they wouldn’t have taken him so high. He is similar to Ortiz in that he’s a power pitcher that doesn’t have anything soft to keep the hitters off balance. The Orioles can be patient with both those guys and ride them out as starters to see if they develop, but I see Tate as more of a seventh-inning reliever, a useful bullpen piece but not a star.”
The 25-year-old right-hander was the first of the acquired prospects to reach Baltimore as he made his major league debut on Aug. 1 for the Orioles. Acquired as part of the Britton trade, Carroll pitched in nine games in relief before being optioned back to Norfolk.
Carroll struggled in his first taste of the big leagues, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA along with per nine averages 8.0 hits, 2.0 home runs, 9.0 walks and 6.0 strikeouts. In three games with Norfolk, he is 1-0 with a 10.13 ERA and he was 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA in 32 games with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start the year with per nine averaged of 5.8 hits, 0.0 homers, 3.9 walks and 11.9 strikeouts.
Carroll was the Yankees’ 22nd-round draft pick in 2015.
Scout’s take: “You have to love the arm and the potential because he’s 6-foot-5 and runs his fastball up to as high as 100 mph. He just doesn’t throw enough strikes for my taste, though, and that really hurt him when he was in the major leagues. You’re not going to walk a batter an inning and last very long. If he improves his control, he could be a heckuva set-up guy, but I don’t think he’ll ever throw enough strikes that you can trust him to close games.”
The 22-year-old right-hander also came from the Dodgers in the Machado trade and was Los Angeles’ 14th-round pick in 2016.
With Bowie, Kremer has a 4-2 record and 2.29 ERA in seven starts while averaging 7.3 hits, 0.7 home runs, 3.4 walks and 9.8 strikeouts per nine. He started the season at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga and went 5-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts the made one start for Tulsa and pitched seven shutout innings for the win before being dealt.
Scout’s take: “He doesn’t overwhelm with you with raw stuff, but he grows on you the more you see him. He has a good feel for pitching. He knows how to mix his pitches and move the ball in and out, up and down. He has a nice four-pitch mix with the fastball, curveball, slider and changeup and he’ll be the type of guy who always outperforms his stuff.”
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.