Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Baltimore Orioles

news

Orioles Pipeline

Orioles pleased with Mountcastle's transition to 3B

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Orioles prospect Ryan Mountcastle was ranked as the No. 8 third base prospect, MLB Pipeline announced on Tuesday.

Mountcastle joins a promising group headed by Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with the American League East dominating the Top 10 list.

BALTIMORE -- Orioles prospect Ryan Mountcastle was ranked as the No. 8 third base prospect, MLB Pipeline announced on Tuesday.

Mountcastle joins a promising group headed by Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with the American League East dominating the Top 10 list.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

All five divisional clubs had a third baseman on the list, though Mountcastle's achievement is impressive considering he just made the transition from shortstop. He spent 37 games at the position after moving up to Double-A on July 20, and the organization is pleased with the move.

"I think defensively he's actually better at third base than shortstop because his hands are good and he's athletic," Orioles director of player development Brian Graham told MiLB.com this fall. "He's able to get the ball across the diamond."

Mountcastle, a right-handed hitter, has always had a promising bat. And while he struggled a little bit offensively, the 20-year-old making it up to Double-A Bowie and holding his own was an achievement in itself.

The 2015 first-rounder turned in a .287/.312/.489 slash line with 18 homers, a Minor League-leading 48 doubles and 62 RBIs total in Bowie and Class A Advanced Frederick.

Mountcastle is currently ranked as the Orioles No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline and his bat has long intrigued the O's. As he works at his new position and gains confidence, Mountcastle could be on the club's radar as early as 2019, particularly considering the pending free agency of several key pieces, including All-Star infielder Manny Machado.

Mountcastle, who got more reps at his new position in the Arizona Fall League, is listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. The high school draftee is the only infielder listed in the club's top 16 prospects as it's an area Baltimore is notably thin on.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles

O's Sisco ranked 7th among catching prospects

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' Chance Sisco was ranked as the seventh-best catching prospect on Thursday, joining a promising group ranked by MLB Pipeline.

Sisco, who will vie for a spot on the Opening Day roster this spring, is the Orioles' top prospect overall. He is the highest-ranking catching prospect in the American League East. The only other club in the division that had a backstop prospect ranked in the top 10 was Toronto, with Danny Jansen at No. 8.

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' Chance Sisco was ranked as the seventh-best catching prospect on Thursday, joining a promising group ranked by MLB Pipeline.

Sisco, who will vie for a spot on the Opening Day roster this spring, is the Orioles' top prospect overall. He is the highest-ranking catching prospect in the American League East. The only other club in the division that had a backstop prospect ranked in the top 10 was Toronto, with Danny Jansen at No. 8.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

Sisco got off to a slow start with Triple-A Norfolk last season, but was able to get back on track. In 97 games, he posted a slash line of .267/.340/.395 with seven homers, 23 doubles, 32 walks and 47 RBIs.

Defensively, Sisco caught only 21 would-be basestealers out of 93 attempts. The former second-round pick, who has only been a catcher for about five years, has never had his offense in question. Defensively, though, he'll have to show more to earn a spot with Baltimore this spring.

Sisco did not throw out a runner in five attempts in the Majors. In 22 plate appearances, he hit an impressive .333/.455/.788 with the Orioles. He earned a trip to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game for a second straight year.

Video: Top Prospects: Chance Sisco, C, Orioles

The left-handed hitter will spend a considerable amount of time this spring working with catching coach John Russell but could open the year in Triple-A if the O's add a veteran. If not, he'll compete with prospect Austin Wynns to join Caleb Joseph and head north.

Still, he is seen as the organization's next long-term option behind the plate. Sisco, who will be 23 next month, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles, Chance Sisco

5 questions O's will need to answer in 2018

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will be the first to say it: 2018 is an important year on many levels for Baltimore. The club is facing some big personnel decisions -- on and off the field -- and a tough task in the reloaded Yankees and the reigning division-champion Red Sox.

As the calendar officially flips to 2018, let's take a look at the top five questions for the Orioles heading into the new year.

BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will be the first to say it: 2018 is an important year on many levels for Baltimore. The club is facing some big personnel decisions -- on and off the field -- and a tough task in the reloaded Yankees and the reigning division-champion Red Sox.

As the calendar officially flips to 2018, let's take a look at the top five questions for the Orioles heading into the new year.

1. Will they trade any big players?
Manny Machado's name floated through the halls at the Winter Meetings. There's a ton of interest in Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Mychal Givens. Will Duquette pull the trigger on a deal and try to rebuild the organization for the future? Or will the club let Machado, who has one year left on his contract, play it out in Baltimore? Of course another question regarding the infielder is where will he play next season: third base or shortstop?

Video: Must C Classic: Manny rips trio of HRs, walk-off slam

2. Who will be the new additions to the Orioles' rotation?
It's no secret the O's rotation struggled last year. And they've made it priority No. 1 to acquire two starting pitchers this offseason to put into their rotation. There's little chance the Orioles will acquire a top arm, and their preference is to not sign deals longer than three years with any free-agent pitcher. They're going to add some pitching. But will those guys be enough to turn things around?

3. How will rookie catcher Chance Sisco fare?
With Welington Castillo electing free agency, Sisco will be on the Orioles' Opening Day roster and handle catching duties along with Caleb Joseph. While Sisco has made some defensive strides, there's still work to be done based on how he did (albeit in a small sample size) in September. It's early, but his bat looks as advertised. A lot of eyes will be on Sisco this spring, as he has to be able to show he can help lead a pitching staff that will be vital to the Orioles' success.

Video: Showalter gives update on Sisco's development

4. How do Duquette and manager Buck Showalter navigate things in their final contract year?
It's not just Machado, Britton and Adam Jones who are facing free agency. The Orioles' organization is at a crossroads and no one knows for sure how things will end up. (Though Showalter did say at the Winter Meetings he'd like to manage the Orioles beyond '18.) Still, big decisions loom.

5. Can the Orioles compete with the Red Sox and Yankees in 2018?
The Yankees have already made a big splash in landing Giancarlo Stanton. Boston and New York are hungry for winners and have first-year managers. Media pundits are already writing the AL East off as a two-horse race. Can the Orioles hang with the two divisional behemoths?

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles

Mesa's son among O's 3 Rule 5 Draft picks

Baltimore also selects lefty Cortes, righty Araujo
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Orioles were active in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, taking three of the 18 Major League picks on Thursday morning.

The O's picks included left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. from the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, righty Pedro Araujo from the Cubs' Triple-A roster and righty Jose Mesa, who was on the Yankees' Double-A roster. Baltimore, the last team to continue picking, passed in the fourth round to end the Major League phase.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Orioles were active in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, taking three of the 18 Major League picks on Thursday morning.

The O's picks included left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. from the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, righty Pedro Araujo from the Cubs' Triple-A roster and righty Jose Mesa, who was on the Yankees' Double-A roster. Baltimore, the last team to continue picking, passed in the fourth round to end the Major League phase.

:: Rule 5 Draft coverage ::

The Orioles picked ninth in the Draft, which goes in order of worst-to-best 2017 record. With just 34 players on their 40-man roster heading into the Rule 5 Draft -- the lowest total among the 30 Major League clubs -- the O's had targeted pitching. Given that they still have Rule 5 Draft pick Anthony Santander, who was their selection last year but spent most of the season on the disabled list, it would have been tough to carry another Rule 5 Draft position player. Baltimore will head to Spring Training -- barring any trades -- with four Rule 5 Draft players, trying to see if one can stick.

Cortes, who just turned 23, spent most of the 2017 season in Double-A and Triple-A, and he had an impressive end to the season. The lefty posted a 1.25 ERA in his final 10 outings and had a 1.49 overall ERA in 48 1/3 innings at Scranton. In '17, he went 7-4 with a 2.06 ERA, striking out 105 with 32 walks over 104 2/3 innings. Cortes was selected by the Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 Draft out of Hialeah (Fla.) High School.

"He's advanced, and he pitched well at Double-A and he pitched well at Triple-A," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "And we think he may be able to compete for a spot as a starter with the big league club. He has good pitches and experience, and he has had success at every level.

"I think he can compete to be a starting pitcher. This is a guy that has very good pitching instincts. He knows how to locate his pitches. He knows how to field his position and combat the running game. He has a lot of skills, some very unique skills. Look at his record of success at every step of the way. The critics will say he doesn't throw hard, and that's true. He is not a hard thrower. But he can do a lot of other things that count in getting a hitter out."

Araujo, 24, is 26-9 with 2.63 ERA in 145 games (22 starts), with 394 strikeouts in 341 2/3 innings.

"We saw him [pitch] very good in the Arizona Fall League. [Scout] Dave Engle recommended him," Duquette said of Araujo. "He shows three good pitches with good control. He has also gotten very good results over his pro career and [he] is a bullpen option."

Mesa, 24, the son of former Orioles pitcher Jose Mesa, ended the season with the Yankees' Double-A Trenton affiliate. Mesa went 4-0 with an 0.79 ERA in eight games for Trenton. He was drafted in the 24th round of the 2012 Draft.

"He looks just like his daddy and has the same kind of build," Duquette said. "Very similar delivery. It looks like a flashback to when his dad was a closer with the Indians. He's got a good curve with good control, nice composure and a nice assortment of pitches. We like all three pitchers we took, and we feel like they have a legitimate shot to compete in the spring."

The Orioles did not lose any prospects in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, but they did lose Yermin Mercedes to the White Sox in the Minor League portion. They also lost Brian Perez, a shortstop from their Double-A roster, to the A's, along with lefty Mitch Horacek (Rockies), and outfielders Jay Gonzalez (D-backs) and Angelo Mora (Dodgers).

In the Rule 5 Draft, players who first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and they're only allowed to do so if they have room on their 40-man roster. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2013 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2014 Draft is in the same position.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles

Orioles looking for Sisco to mature in Majors

Young catcher needs to improve defensively, could platoon with Joseph
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- This was the plan last winter, when the Orioles signed catcher Welington Castillo after he was non-tendered by Arizona, to give top prospect Chance Sisco another year of development at Triple-A and not rush him to the big leagues.

Now Sisco, who was part of the O's September callups, will be relied on in 2018. With Castillo declining his option and the Orioles' main emphasis on starting pitching this winter, the organization will place its confidence in Sisco. After all, vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said following Castillo's move to free agency that he felt good about the tandem of Sisco and Caleb Joseph behind the plate, with Austin Wynns -- added to the 40-man roster -- an insurance option.

BALTIMORE -- This was the plan last winter, when the Orioles signed catcher Welington Castillo after he was non-tendered by Arizona, to give top prospect Chance Sisco another year of development at Triple-A and not rush him to the big leagues.

Now Sisco, who was part of the O's September callups, will be relied on in 2018. With Castillo declining his option and the Orioles' main emphasis on starting pitching this winter, the organization will place its confidence in Sisco. After all, vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said following Castillo's move to free agency that he felt good about the tandem of Sisco and Caleb Joseph behind the plate, with Austin Wynns -- added to the 40-man roster -- an insurance option.

Yes, it was a small sample size. But the 22 Major League plate appearances Sisco had this fall were encouraging. He had six hits, including two doubles and two home runs. He also walked three times and finished with a respectable line of .333/.455/.778. The O's Minor League Player of the Year, Sisco has long been lauded as a hitter more mature than his age as the left-handed bat has put up some impressive Minor League numbers.

Defensively, Sisco did not throw out a baserunner in five attempts and will spend this winter -- along with Spring Training -- trying to improve behind the plate, which has always been more of a weakness than his bat.

At Triple-A Norfolk, Sisco made some defensive strides, throwing out 41 percent of potential basestealers in the second half of the season. The 22-year-old Sisco just began catching his senior year of high school.

According to MLB Pipeline, which lists Sisco as No. 44 on its Top 100 Prospects list: "Improvements in Sisco's blocking, receiving and game-calling last season have helped to assuage some concerns about his defensive profile. Scouts now project him to be average behind the plate, though his fringy arm and catch-and-throw skills limit his impact on the running game."

Baltimore's second-round pick in the 2013 Draft, Sisco was primarily a shortstop before his conversion to catching. Given the O's recent woes in their rotation, they can't afford to have a liability behind the plate, making Sisco's improvement key in determining if he'll platoon with Joseph or earn his way into an everyday role, like outfielder Trey Mancini did this year.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles, Caleb Joseph, Chance Sisco

O's prospect Scott impresses at Fall Stars Game

MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Typically, when Tanner Scott takes the mound, everyone looks to the radar gun expecting to marvel at 100-mph fastballs.

While Scott, the Orioles' No. 6 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, did showcase his fastball, it was his slider that grabbed the attention as he helped lead the East to a 4-2 win over the West in the Fall Stars Game on Saturday night.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Typically, when Tanner Scott takes the mound, everyone looks to the radar gun expecting to marvel at 100-mph fastballs.

While Scott, the Orioles' No. 6 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, did showcase his fastball, it was his slider that grabbed the attention as he helped lead the East to a 4-2 win over the West in the Fall Stars Game on Saturday night.

:: 2017 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game ::

The 23-year-old lefty utilized the pitch to carve up the West lineup, but as he started getting loose, he wasn't sure if he'd be able to command it in the game.

"The first time I threw it in the 'pen, I was like 'Ah, it's not there,'" Scott said. "Because playing catch, I was like, 'Where's it at?' And I started throwing in the 'pen and was like 'OK, it's there.'"

Scott struck out four in his two innings of work, with all four strikeouts coming courtesy of the slider.

"This year they just had me working on throwing my slider more as a starter, and I have trust in it and I'm going to go out there and throw it every time," Scott said. "I trust it, I have confidence, and today it was how it was during the year and it was successful."

Successful may be a bit of an understatement as the West offense failed to even make contact with the pitch. Scott threw five of his eight sliders for strikes and all five generated a swing and miss.

Scott's slider averaged 86.7 mph and his fastball, which topped out at 98.3 mph, averaged 97 mph, according to Statcast™.

Overall, Scott fired 18 of his 29 pitches for strikes and gave up one hit in his scoreless outing.

The dominant appearance was Scott's best of the AFL thus far, as he's given up six earned runs over his first three starts for Salt River

During the regular season, Scott posted a 2.22 ERA and struck out 87 over 24 starts (69 innings) with Double-A Bowie and finished the year with the Orioles, as he was called up and made two appearances in September, allowing two earned runs on two hits in 1 2/3 innings, with two strikeouts.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

 

Baltimore Orioles, Tanner Scott

O's Mountcastle finds Fall League rhythm

With Showalter in stands, Baltimore's No. 3 prospect homers
MLB.com

MESA, Ariz. -- The numbers may not have been there, but Ryan Mountcastle felt good about the way he was swinging the bat in the Arizona Fall League. The Orioles' No. 3 prospect felt he was hitting the ball hard, but just happened to be hitting the ball at people.

Well, instead of hitting it at people, Mountcastle hit it over everyone as his two-run homer jump-started the Salt River offense and helped snap a three-game losing streak in an 8-2 win over Mesa on Tuesday afternoon.

MESA, Ariz. -- The numbers may not have been there, but Ryan Mountcastle felt good about the way he was swinging the bat in the Arizona Fall League. The Orioles' No. 3 prospect felt he was hitting the ball hard, but just happened to be hitting the ball at people.

Well, instead of hitting it at people, Mountcastle hit it over everyone as his two-run homer jump-started the Salt River offense and helped snap a three-game losing streak in an 8-2 win over Mesa on Tuesday afternoon.

The 20-year-old, who finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs to boost his AFL average to .236, picked a good time to go deep as Orioles manager Buck Showalter was in attendance for the game.

"Whenever somebody important is here, you try to play good, play hard," Mountcastle said. "Just like every other day, you can't try to do too much when he's here and I felt good today."

Box score

The Rafters offense was limited to just three hits through five innings as Tigers No. 28 prospect Spencer Turnbull fired 3 2/3 scoreless frames for Mesa in what was his best start of the AFL thus far.

However, the Salt River bats came to life in the sixth as the team scored six runs on six hits, including three homers in the span of 10 pitches.

"I don't know," Mountcastle said when asked what changed in the sixth. "It just all came together in one sweep. All the guys felt confident and we just rallied around that."

Orioles No. 9 prospect Anthony Santander started the scoring with an RBI single before Mountcastle opened the floodgates with a two-run homer to left.

"Just trying to get something I could drive to the outfield and score a couple runs," Mountcastle said. "Just got a pitch I could hit and hit it out."

Mountcastle, a first-round pick from the 2015 Draft, hit .287/.312/.489 with 18 homers in 127 games between Class A Advanced Frederick and Double-A Bowie this season.

While his bat has been impressive, Mountcastle has also been tasked with learning a new position. After spending the bulk of his career at shortstop, Mountcastle played 37 games at third base this season, a position he's working on in Arizona.

Video: Ryan Mountcastle excited to play in the Fall League

"Starting to feel more confident over there the more games I play," Mountcastle said. "I'm starting to feel pretty good over there."

After Mountcastle got the ball rolling, the rest of the Rafters offense caught fire.

Two batters later, Corey Ray (Brewers' No. 2, No. 58 overall) hit his first homer of the AFL, a two-run homer to left, and on the next pitch the Marlins' Rodrigo Vigil hit a homer of his own.

Vigil, who finished 2-for-4, later added an RBI single as Salt River extended the lead with a run in the eighth.

Salt River also received a strong start from Adrian Houser, who lowered his AFL ERA to 3.38 through four starts.

Houser, who spent the first half of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery in July 2016, threw 30 of his 47 pitches for strikes, struck out two and gave up one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless frames.

While Houser kept Mesa off the board, the Solar Sox did scratch across a pair of runs in the sixth behind a trio of Cubs prospects.

David Bote, who is hitting .353, was hit by a pitch to open the frame and scored two batters later on an RBI single from Ian Rice. Jason Vosler then followed that up with an RBI hit of his own.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

 

Baltimore Orioles

Orioles' Arizona Fall League overview

Mountcastle continuing breakout campaign with trip to AFL
MLB.com

The Orioles are well represented in this year's Arizona Fall League, with five of their eight participants ranking among the team's Top 30 Prospects. Headlining that group is Ryan Mountcastle, who, at age 20, is adding on to an impressive season in which he reached Double-A.

"This is such a great opportunity to come out here against this competition," said Mountcastle, Baltimore's No. 3 prospect, about being chosen for the Fall League. "It's the best of the best out here from the Minors."

The Orioles are well represented in this year's Arizona Fall League, with five of their eight participants ranking among the team's Top 30 Prospects. Headlining that group is Ryan Mountcastle, who, at age 20, is adding on to an impressive season in which he reached Double-A.

"This is such a great opportunity to come out here against this competition," said Mountcastle, Baltimore's No. 3 prospect, about being chosen for the Fall League. "It's the best of the best out here from the Minors."

Arizona Fall League roster & stats

The second of two first-round picks made by the Orioles in 2015, Mountcastle made an immediate impact the following year in his full-season debut by slashing .281/.319/.426 with 10 home runs and 28 doubles over 115 games with Class A Delmarva.

He made even greater strides at the plate in this past season, first in the Carolina League, where he posted a .314/.343/.542 line with 15 homers and 35 doubles across 88 games with Class A Advanced Frederick en route to a Double-A promotion in mid-July.

On top of the inherent challenges of being a 20-year-old in Double-A, Mountcastle also was asked by the Orioles to move from shortstop, the position he had played his entire career up to that point, to third base.

"It was pretty smooth," he said regarding the transition. "There are double plays I need to work on that are a little bit different than shortstop, with arm angles and stuff like that. But outside of that I feel pretty confident over there."

Meanwhile, the right-handed hitting Mountcastle was challenged at the plate for the first time in his career. In 39 games with Bowie, he batted .222/.239/.366, albeit with three homers and 13 more doubles.

Baltimore's Top 30 Prospects

"It was a great learning experience for me," said Mountcastle, who finished his season with a .287/.312/.489 line, 18 home runs and a Minor League-leading 48 doubles between the two levels. "Facing that higher-level pitching and competition, it was definitely something I took a lot from."

Any of his struggles from Double-A certainly haven't followed Mountcastle into the AFL, where he's now hit safely in eight straight games with a six-game RBI streak for the Salt River Rafters after going hitless in his first two contests. He's batting .268 (11-for-41) overall with two homers, three doubles and eight RBIs.

"Baseball -- you're going to fail, it's going to happen," he said. "You just have to keep your head up and stay confident."

Orioles hitters in the Fall League

Steve Wilkerson, IF -- The switch-hitting utility player, an eighth-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, turned in is his best offensive season to date as he established career highs in most categories while making a smooth progression up to Double-A. Wilkerson, 25, has continued to swing a hot bat in the Fall League, posting a .321 average with four extra-base hits in his first eight games.

Anthony Santander, OF (BAL No. 9) -- The Orioles were able to keep Santander, whom they selected from the Indians system in the December Rule 5 Draft, on their 25-man roster for the entire season thanks largely to a strained right forearm that sidelined the 23-year-old (on the 60-day DL) until mid-August. Once healthy, Santander collected 11 hits in 30 at-bats (.267 average) over parts of 13 games in the big leagues while seeing time at both outfield corners.

Orioles pitchers in the Fall League

Keegan Akin, LHP (BAL No. 8) -- A second-round Draft pick in 2016, Akin is pitching in the Fall League as a 22-year-old after a promising but inconsistent first full season with Frederick. He fared much better during the second half after taking a nearly two-week break to work on his mechanics, only to have his progress halted by a trip to the disabled list early in August. Pitching out the bullpen this fall, the 6-foot, 225-pounder has given up one earned run on five hits in seven innings (four appearances). He's utilized his full four-pitch mix in spite of the relief role, throwing a fastball that's been up to 96 mph while sitting mostly 91-94 along with a slider, a curveball and a changeup, all of which typically register in the lower 80s.

Luis Gonzalez, LHP -- Gonzalez, 25, turned in a breakout performance in 2017, his eighth professional season and his third straight year in the Carolina League. He appeared in a career-high 36 games for the Keys, posting a 2.47 ERA with 75 strikeouts and a .173 batting average against in 62 innings. Armed with a 92-94 mph two-seam fastball and a mid-80s cutter, Gonzalez is capable of getting out hitters on both sides of the plate, and he actually fared much better against righties (.130 BAA) than lefties (.241) during the regular season.

Jesus Liranzo, RHP (BAL No. 22) -- Liranzo's stuff took a step back with Bowie during the regular season as he shifted between the bullpen and rotation. He struggled similarly in both roles, and he now owns an 11.57 ERA, with more walks (6) than strikeouts (3), through 4 2/3 innings (four appearances) in the Fall League.

Tanner Scott, LHP (BAL No. 6) -- The 2017 Futures Game selection is back in the Fall League for the third straight year, this time with a taste of the big leagues under his belt. The 23-year-old southpaw was rewarded with a mid-September callup after an impressive Double-A campaign in which he posted a 2.22 ERA with a .188 batting average against and 87 strikeouts over 69 innings (24 starts). He appeared in two games out of the Orioles' bullpen down the stretch, allowing two runs in one inning in his big league debut against Boston before striking out one of the two batters he faced versus Tampa Bay three days later.

Video: Orioles prospect Scott on his third Fall League stint

"After I was up there -- it wasn't for long -- but it shows you how amazing it is, and I definitely want to get back there," said Scott. "I'm going to work on everything I can to get up there again and stay up there. It's the big leagues -- it's still my dream to get there and be there for a while."

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

 

Baltimore Orioles

O's impressed with high-ceiling Draft picks at instructs

MLB.com

After selecting college players with their first Draft pick in back-to-back years, the Orioles shifted their focus toward younger, more high-ceiling talent in 2017, selecting a pair of prep standouts in DL Hall and Adam Hall.

The Orioles were thrilled to find DL Hall, ranked 14th on MLBPipeline.com's list of the Top 200 Draft Prospects, still on the board ahead of their first pick, No. 21 overall.

After selecting college players with their first Draft pick in back-to-back years, the Orioles shifted their focus toward younger, more high-ceiling talent in 2017, selecting a pair of prep standouts in DL Hall and Adam Hall.

The Orioles were thrilled to find DL Hall, ranked 14th on MLBPipeline.com's list of the Top 200 Draft Prospects, still on the board ahead of their first pick, No. 21 overall.

From Aberdeen to instructs, O's getting good look at arms

Viewed by many evaluators as one of the Draft's premier left-handed pitchers, Hall became the first high school hurler to be taken in the first round by Baltimore since Hunter Harvey in 2013. He signed for $3 million, the largest bonus given by the organization since Kevin Gausman signed for $4,320,000 in '12 (No. 4 overall pick).

The immediate results weren't there for Hall, Baltimore's No. 4 prospect, during his professional debut in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, as he posted a 6.97 ERA in 10 1/3 innings while making five starts. But the 19-year-old southpaw still impressed club officials with his combination of stuff, feel and potential, a trend that continued this fall during the Orioles' instructional league in Sarasota, Fla.

"It's a plus fastball and plus breaking ball with DL, but it's free and easy -- there's not a lot of effort. It's nice to see the rhythm and ease to his delivery," Orioles Director of Player Development Brian Graham said.

Instructional league also brought a return to action for Adam Hall, who played in just two games during his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League -- he collected three hits in both contests -- before suffering a season-ending oblique injury in mid-July.

"Adam was healthy and did great. He impressed all of us out here," Graham said about the Orioles' No. 10 prospect.

Drafted by Baltimore in the second round and signed for $1.3 million, Hall is a well above-average runner with an advanced feel to hit and some power potential from the right side of the plate. Equally important is the 18-year-old Ontario product has a chance to remain at shortstop, where he profiles as a slightly above-average defender, one with the necessary tools to also profile at either second or third base.

"He's certainly impressive with his ability to swing the bat and run -- that's for sure," Graham said, "and we think he has a lot of ability at shortstop. But this fall it was all about getting him the reps and development he missed out on this summer.

"We're very excited about the futures of both DL and Adam."

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

 

Baltimore Orioles

From Aberdeen to instructs, O's getting good look at arms

MLB.com

Pitching for the Aberdeen IronBirds in the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League has become an important stepping-stone for Orioles prospects early in their careers.

Bridging the gap between the Draft and Instructional League for many players, it offers Baltimore's player development staff a chance to familiarize itself with some of the new up-and-coming arms in the organization.

Pitching for the Aberdeen IronBirds in the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League has become an important stepping-stone for Orioles prospects early in their careers.

Bridging the gap between the Draft and Instructional League for many players, it offers Baltimore's player development staff a chance to familiarize itself with some of the new up-and-coming arms in the organization.

"We have an individual plan for every pitcher and player here, so it's very specific and individualized," said Orioles Director of Player Development Brian Graham. "Instructional League is one of my favorite times, because you get to interact with the kids and talk to them at length in really specific terms."

This year's IronBirds staff arguably was the best in recent memory, led by a pair of 2017 Draftees in No. 13th prospect Zac Lowther (Competitive Balance B Round) and No. 11 Michael Baumann (third round), and also featuring 2016 fourth-rounder and No. 15 prospect Brenan Hanifee.

All three pitchers excelled in their respective professional debuts, with each guy posting impressive numbers while also opening eyes with their developmental progress. Now, the Orioles are getting a first-hand look at the talented trio during instructional league in Sarasota, Fla.

"They all pitched well, on top of their numbers, and they all did things that were good. It's difficult to come out your first year in pro ball and perform at a high level. The whole development process takes more time for some and less for others," Graham noted.

Lowther was particularly dominant in his 12 outings (11 starts) for Aberdeen, with the 21-year-old lefty posting a 1.66 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP and a .182 batting average against. What's more, he struck out 75 against 11 walks in 54 1/3 innings, continuing the trend of missing bats that had put him on the Orioles' Draft radar during his time at Xavier.

"Zac had such a good year, but it was also a long year for him, so we're conscious of his innings," said Graham about Lowther. "At the same time, he's a guy we want to see improve his fastball command and develop a more consistent breaking ball."

Baumann also drew raves for his performance in the NYPL, where his 1.31 ERA ranked second in the circuit among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander posted 43 strikeouts against 19 walks in 42 1/3 innings, all while holding opposing hitters to a .175 average and just two home runs.

"He showed the ability to thrown downhill with velocity," Graham said about the 22-year-old Jacksonville product, "and we liked his ability to feel his breaking ball."

Hanifee, meanwhile, made a strong impression in his professional debut at age 19 after a back injury kept him from taking the mound in 2016.

"Obviously a young kid, he did very well at that level. It was a long season for him but he handled it well," Graham noted.

Making 12 starts on the season, Hanifee, a projectable, 6-foot-5, 180-pound righty, went 7-3 with a 2.75 ERA while pacing the IronBirds' staff with 68 2/3 innings pitched. He compiled 44 strikeouts against 12 walks in 68 2/3 innings, recording more than twice as many ground-ball outs as he did air outs.

"His stuff is plus," Graham said. "He's very mature for a teenager -- the kind of kid who will go to a full-season club next year and compete there at a young age."

Based on the success and progress of Lowther, Baumann and Hanifee this summer, the Orioles are optimistic that all three pitchers can make the jump to full-season ball in 2018.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

 

Baltimore Orioles

Hays, Wells named O's Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have given fans reason for hope for the future in September and Austin Hays is one of the biggest reasons why. Hays, who was called up to Baltimore as part of roster expansion, was honored as the Orioles' MLB Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Year. Alex Wells, named Baltimore's Jim Player Minor League Pitcher of the Year last month, was also selected as Pipeline's Top Pitching Prospect.

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have given fans reason for hope for the future in September and Austin Hays is one of the biggest reasons why. Hays, who was called up to Baltimore as part of roster expansion, was honored as the Orioles' MLB Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Year. Alex Wells, named Baltimore's Jim Player Minor League Pitcher of the Year last month, was also selected as Pipeline's Top Pitching Prospect.

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.

Orioles' Prospects of the Year

Candidates were taken from each club's Top 30 Prospects list, with a combination of performance and prospect status taken into account. The end result is an impressive list of 60 names to keep an eye on.

Hays, ranked as the O's No. 2 prospect, had a breakout season in the Minors that saw him post a .329/.365/.593 slash line between Bowie and Class A Advanced Frederick. In 128 games between the two levels, the 22-year-old produced 69 extra-base hits, including 32 home runs, second most in the Minors, and 95 RBIs while scoring 81 runs.

Hays has been a model of consistency this season, posting strikingly similar numbers at the plate while playing in exactly 64 games at each level. He began the season by slashing .328/.364/.592 with 16 home runs in the Florida State League, and then built on that performance with a .330/.367/.594 clip and 16 more homers at Bowie. The Orioles selected Hays in the third round of the 2016 Draft as a junior out of Jacksonville University.

Wells spent the season pitching for the Class A Delmarva Shorebirds. The 20-year-old, whom the O's signed out of Australia, posted a 2.38 ERA over 25 starts.

He issued just 10 walks, including none in his last 68 innings.

What's most impressive about Wells is that he carried a sub-1.00 WHIP for the entire season.

According to MLB Pipeline's scouting report on Wells, he "pitches with an average fastball, operating in the upper 80s and scraping 90 mph, but the pitch plays up due to his ability to command it to both sides of the plate. His changeup registers in the low 80s with good fading action, and he sells it with fastball-like arm action. Wells has also made strides with his curveball, a 12-to-6 downer in the mid-70s, since turning pro, giving him a quality third pitch, and his whole arsenal plays up due to his above-average control."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles

Austin's powers: Hays showing off hot bat

Rookie continues sizzling start to MLB career after winning O's top Minors honor
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- There will be growing pains, for sure, but No. 2 prospect Austin Hays has shown over a short stretch what's he capable of bringing to the Orioles sooner rather than later.

The young outfielder -- who was named the organization's Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year on Thursday afternoon -- had two more hits in the Orioles' 3-1 win over the Rays, raising his average to .290 in the process.

Full Game Coverage

BALTIMORE -- There will be growing pains, for sure, but No. 2 prospect Austin Hays has shown over a short stretch what's he capable of bringing to the Orioles sooner rather than later.

The young outfielder -- who was named the organization's Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year on Thursday afternoon -- had two more hits in the Orioles' 3-1 win over the Rays, raising his average to .290 in the process.

Full Game Coverage

The 22-year-old Hays, who also committed a fielding error that helped Tampa Bay score on Thursday, has now hit safely in five of his past six games. He's batting .375 (9-for-24) over that stretch.

Orioles' Top 30 Prospects

"I was talking to Austin today, there's a lot of things he's going to have to experience himself," Showalter said of Hays, who led the Minor Leagues in total bases (310). "I have a problem with mistakes, but only if you repeat them. Little things that you do, you got to file them away and develop that trust with your teammates and your coaches that you're going to know how to approach those things. This guy was at Jacksonville [in college] a year and a half ago."

Video: TB@BAL: Miller crosses the dish on single, error

Hays, who has played in 12 MLB games this season, bobbled Daniel Robertson's third-inning single into right field, which allowed Brad Miller to score from second. Miller had been stopped at third until he saw the error and took off for home.

"Someone asked me if the ball snaked. I thought he had a pretty good approach to it," Showalter said. "When you have as good of an arm as he does, you don't have to rush those things. They're not going to send him there. Those are things you learn: Faster is not always better. ... That comes from knowing the runners a little bit more, which guys run."

Hays, who collected his first career hit and home run at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, has proven to be a quick study in past stops. His ascent this season was impressive, as he started in Class A Advanced Frederick and moved up midway through the year to Double-A Bowie, posting a combined line of .329./.365/.593 in 128 games with 32 home runs, 95 RBIs, five triples, 32 doubles and five stolen bases along with 172 hits.

A finalist for the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year award, Hays was also recognized by MLBPipeline.com as one of three outfield prospects on its Prospect Team of the Year.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles, Austin Hays

Young flamethrower Scott admits debut nerves

Orioles lefty uncorks wild warmup pitch, allows 2 runs in first appearance
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- A day after his Major League debut, Orioles pitching prospect Tanner Scott was all smiles: glad he got out there and glad the first one was behind him.

"I was feeling a lot of adrenaline," said Scott, whose first warmup pitch flew to the backstop as he got ready to navigate the eighth inning in the Orioles' 9-0 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. "A little nerve-wracking, but that first one is out of the way and that's a good thing. Felt good, and [I'll] try to get back out there."

Full Game Coverage

BALTIMORE -- A day after his Major League debut, Orioles pitching prospect Tanner Scott was all smiles: glad he got out there and glad the first one was behind him.

"I was feeling a lot of adrenaline," said Scott, whose first warmup pitch flew to the backstop as he got ready to navigate the eighth inning in the Orioles' 9-0 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. "A little nerve-wracking, but that first one is out of the way and that's a good thing. Felt good, and [I'll] try to get back out there."

Full Game Coverage

Scott allowed a pair of runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in the inning, getting Deven Marrero on a slider.

"The slider has come a long way, so it was really good to get my first strikeout on the slider," said Scott, who sets up his offspeed with a devastating fastball that touches triple digits. "My slider has come a long way and now I can throw it whenever I want. It's going to help me a lot."

Ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, the 23-year-old Scott went 0-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 24 starts at Double-A Bowie this season. He struck out 87 and walked 46 in 69 innings.

Asked if he could tell a difference right away between Double-A and the big leagues, Scott said: "Yeah, the strike zone is smaller and the hitters are better."

With plans to go to the Arizona Fall League after the regular season ends, there's no telling how much of a look the O's will get at Scott. But the lefty is going to use every opportunity to make an impression. And hopefully corral some of those early warmups.

"Actually, this morning I told [catcher Welington Castillo], I said, 'Hey Welly, did that go through the doors behind the [screen]?' He's like, 'Yeah, I don't know how.' He was laughing, so it's OK."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

Baltimore Orioles, Tanner Scott

O's mourn death of farmhand Gonzalez

MLB.com

The Orioles announced the passing of Minor League pitcher Miguel Gonzalez on Monday. The 21-year-old died from injuries sustained in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic on Saturday evening.

The team will honor Gonzalez with a moment of silence before Monday's home game against the Red Sox.

The Orioles announced the passing of Minor League pitcher Miguel Gonzalez on Monday. The 21-year-old died from injuries sustained in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic on Saturday evening.

The team will honor Gonzalez with a moment of silence before Monday's home game against the Red Sox.

"Our organization is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Miguel Gonzalez," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "Miguel was beloved by his teammates and coaches in the Dominican Republic. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this very difficult time."

Gonzalez signed with the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent in 2014 and pitched for the O's Dominican Summer League team for the past three seasons.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib.

 

Baltimore Orioles