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Diaz, Mountcastle among 18 spring invites

January 25, 2019

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles set the stage Friday for a Spring Training that figures to be rife with competition, officially inviting 18 non-roster players to big league camp.Top prospects Yusniel Diaz and Ryan Mountcastle headline the group, which also includes fast-rising right-hander Dean Kremer and outfielder Ryan McKenna.For the Orioles' new

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles set the stage Friday for a Spring Training that figures to be rife with competition, officially inviting 18 non-roster players to big league camp.
Top prospects Yusniel Diaz and Ryan Mountcastle headline the group, which also includes fast-rising right-hander Dean Kremer and outfielder Ryan McKenna.
For the Orioles' new front office, spring will provide initial in-person looks at the talent already in the system they've inherited and vowed to supplement. Diaz, Kremer and Zach Pop, who also received an invite, are prime examples. All were acquired last summer in the Manny Machado trade. Diaz is currently the club's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, while Kremer led all Minor League hurlers in strikeouts in 2018.
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For others, like Mountcastle, the spring could result in positional clarity. There is debate whether the O's No. 2 prospect remains at third base or shifts to a corner-outfield spot. Like Diaz and McKenna, Mountcastle isn't expected to crack the O's Opening Day roster. But all likely earn big league promotions before summer's end.

Camp will also provide opportunities for several players the O's inked to offseason Minor League deals: Right-handers Bo Schultz and Gregory Infante and catcher Carlos Perez fall into this category.
Also receiving invitations were left-handers Sean Gilmartin and Chris Lee, righties Josh Lucas and Gabriel Ynoa, catchers Martin Cervenka and Andrew Susac, infielders Christopher Bostick, Jace Peterson and Zach Vincej and outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.
Notable prospects not extended big league invitations include left-hander Keegan Akin, the Orioles' reigning co-Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and righty Taylor Grover, whom the club selected in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 13.
Minor Leaguer suspended
Orioles rookie-level outfielder Trey Whitley received a 50-game suspension following a failed test for a "drug of abuse," Major League Baseball announced Friday. The Orioles' 28th-round selection in 2018, Whitley hit .160 across 31 games in the Gulf Coast League last summer, his first in professional baseball.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.