The Baltimore Orioles' farm system is on the rise again after a midseason talent infusion made possible by a strong Draft and a host of notable July trades.For that reason, this year's fall instructional league is the first opportunity for club officials to work hands-on with many of organization's new
The Baltimore Orioles' farm system is on the rise again after a midseason talent infusion made possible by a strong Draft and a host of notable July trades.
For that reason, this year's fall instructional league is the first opportunity for club officials to work hands-on with many of organization's new players.
Instructional league rosters
On top of normal instructional league camp, the Orioles held a fall strength and conditioning class for 18 players as well as a special hitting camp for eight select hitters, including some relatively new to the organization.
"We've learned that when a hitter doesn't have to compete in a game -- when he doesn't have to take the adjustments directly into a game -- he's much more willing to make adjustments and to try different things," said Orioles director of player development Brian Graham.
"So each day those guys showed up and were in a separate camp where all they did was hit, watch video, do drills, track balls live," he added.
Cadyn Grenier, the Orioles' No. 9 prospect, was part of that group in his first fall league after hitting .216/.297/.333 in 43 games with Class A Delmarva during his pro debut.
"I think there was so much emphasis with him on making contact that he'd swing early in the count and there'd be too much panic to his swing," said Graham about Grenier, whom Baltimore signed for $1.8 million after selecting him with the No. 37 overall pick in June.
"He's really developed a solid foundation to hit," continued Graham, "and now that he has better foundation and better balance, he can use the whole field to hit and not panic. He's developing confidence."
Though plus defense at shortstop likely will always be Grenier's calling card, Graham and the Orioles are increasingly confident that they will develop a player capable of impacting the game on both sides of the ball.
"We know there's speculation about whether he'll hit, but this kid's going to hit. He's going to be an offensive player and a defensive player," said Graham.
Rylan Bannon, one of the five players Baltimore acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado blockbuster, also has made strides in the Orioles' fall hitting camp.
"When you have the ability to see your swing on video every single day and notice the adjustments, you can really develop a feel for what you're doing. You can make some changes and adjustments and feel good about it, and that's what Bannon's done," Graham said about the Orioles' No. 21 prospect.
An eighth-round pick in the 2017 Draft, Bannon spent much of his first full season at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and then advanced to Double-A Bowie following the July trade. Altogether, the 22-year-old third baseman hit .275/.389/.507 with 22 home runs between the two stops.
"It's unique and there's a lot of moving parts," said Graham about the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder's right-handed swing.
"He still has a high leg kick and a lot of movement forward when he hits, but it's controlled movement, and the bat comes into the hitting zone. He's really done well."
Perhaps no Orioles hitting prospect surprised and impressed more in 2018 than Adam Hall, who excelled with Class A Short Season Aberdeen after beginning the year in extended spring training. This fall, meanwhile, Hall is participating in his second straight instructional league.
"Our infield coordinator Dave Anderson and hitting coordinator Jeff Manto deserve a lot of credit because they did a great job with this kid. They spent a lot of time with him and gained his trust, and Adam responded really playing well.
Hall, No. 26 on Baltimore's Top 30, was named the organization's Player of the Month for August after he compiled a 19-game hitting streak while slashing .390/.462/.524 with 15 steals. Overall, the 19-year-old shortstop produced a .293/.368/.374 line with 65 hits and 22 steals over 62 games in the New York-Penn League.
"He did everything: played good defense, showed an average-to-plus arm, swung the bat really well while hitting the ball to all directions and stole bases," said Graham about the 2017 second-rounder.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.