2019 Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects Chat

Image credit: Yusniel Diaz (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

The Baltimore Orioles top 10 prospects ranking for 2019.

Jon Meoli: Good afternoon and thanks for joining this year’s Orioles chat here at BA! Regular readers of their content might not know me, so by way of introductions, I cover the Orioles for the Baltimore Sun and got my start writing about prospects at SoxProspects.com, so I know what they look like, to borrow a phrase from a recent Orioles manager. There was some confusion below about links taking readers to the 2018 midseason rankings instead of the top 10 for the 2019 offseason, so here’s the correct link if that’s still persisting: https://www.baseballamerica.com/teams/2003-baltimore-orioles/organizational/?year=2019. I’ll try and get to all of the questions in the queue, of which there are several I’m already looking forward to, but keep them coming and we’ll go as long as we need. Thanks for checking in!

Colin (DC): 

    Do you view Yusniel as a “sum-of-his-parts” collection of 50s, or does his have true above-average to plus tools (other than his mentioned speed) which lead you to believe he has a future as an above-average outfielder?

Jon Meoli: Let’s start at the top and kind of go in order in terms of questions already in here. I don’t really have Díaz as a sum-of-the-parts type, and he has above-average grades pretty much across the board in the grades submitted for the handbook. There’s just so much potential in there, and even saying that is discounting the fact that he’s a proven professional hitter at every level he’s been at save for his time in Bowie. That all said, I think Díaz might be the type who it doesn’t come for quickly when he gets to the majors. But by the time things click for him, which his constant improvement since he came stateside shows it probably will, this might be the player that separates himself from the Orioles’ outfield glut.

Barry (Hagerstown): 

    Are no. 2-4 all pretty interchangeable? I could see a scenario where Mountcastle is more valuable than Hays and DL Hall being a better prospect than both Hays and Mountcastle and no.2 on this list?

Jon Meoli: After Díaz came, in order, Hall, Mountcastle, and Hays. I think of Hall as more of a clear No. 2 who in many editions of this type of list this offseason could end up being No. 1. Everyone I talked to who saw him this year saw him at different times of the season, and saw different things work well that another may not have had, but the sum of that is someone that in scouting parlance can have “the devil” put on him. That’s a 6 fastball, a 6 breaking ball, and a 6 changeup. That said, Díaz got the nod because he’s much closer and there are just so many pitfalls for a high school pitcher as it is, let alone one in this organization. As for Mountcastle and Hays, they were in opposite order last year, but the tiebreaker this year went to Mountcastle’s productive season. I believe that Hays’ issues were equal parts physical (shoulder and ankle) and mental, with his swing overtaken by the launch-angle revolution when it didn’t need to be. But the Hays I saw in August looked a lot like the one from last year that was the top prospect in the organization. He just didn’t get it done this year the way you’d have expected going into the year.

Danny (Richmond VA): 

    Where do you see Mountcastle ending up defensively? LF? Can he stay in the infield?

Jon Meoli: I think Mountcastle’s defensive future is only on the infield if it’s at first base. Otherwise, we’re talking a left fielder or even a designated hitter. There’s been improvement at third base, but for an organization that’s been talking up its need to get back to sure-handed defense and taking all the outs that are available to them, it’s hard to see how he can fit in on that kind of infield. While there was a lot of back and forth on his ranking here at No. 3, though, it does put the focus on something that’s pretty significant to note. This guy is a really, really good hitter. He has loose hands and can react to secondary pitches, can catch up to fastballs, and always makes hard contact. And he’s done it all at age-21 in Double-A. The focus is more on the negatives than the positives, and I’m just as guilty of that as anyone. I think they should be taken in equal measure without one outweighing the other.

Frank (Indianapolis, IN): 

    I know you’re not party to the compiling of the BA top 100 prospects list, but how many of these guys would you consider worthy of making it?

Jon Meoli: I would say the top four are the ones who can be in consideration for a national list like that, though some of the shine may be off Hays after what happened to him this year. Díaz and Mountcastle haven’t done anything to really knock themselves out of contention. I think DL Hall would be a lot higher were he another organization’s first-round pick last year, though that takes away some from the work that Delmarva pitching coach Justin Lord did with him and Brenan Hanifee down there to guide them through a full season. Hall cracked the top-100 here late in the season, though, and there’s plenty of room to grow.

Zac (NY): 

    I saw Keegan Akin a few times with Aberdeen. He never seemed to have overly special stuff but he consistently got results. I assumed he’d be a solid reliever in the big leagues. Given his stellar 2018, it seems people are sold on him as a starter. What’s his ceiling in the rotation and do you think he might carry more value as a Tommy Kahnle-type middle innings stopper?

Jon Meoli: Count me among those who came around on Keegan Akin this year. He was famously No. 11 last year, leaving him off the online portion of this list to the consternation of many. But his stuff took a step forward this year, and with his fastball up to 95 mph while keeping the deception that’s made him so hard to pick up. He vacillates when it comes to having feel for his changeup and slider, but his breaking ball can be an out pitch even as lineups are stacked with righties against him. Some think the command and physical profile might lead him to the bullpen, but it’s not a high-effort delivery and it’s one the Orioles have made more repeatable. He’d probably be in the back-end of a big league rotation, but around here could be a No. 3 who eats innings and keeps them in games.

Phil (Cumberland): 

    How much does whiffing on the Mesa brothers and Sandy Gaston show the Orioles inability to sign top Latin American players and how much of a ripple effect does it have if any on the organization rebuild?

Jon Meoli: Let’s go off the rankings path for a second with this one. I’d say that it does show their inability to make an impact in that market, but there’s no really denying that considering it’s been so long since they fully committed to the Latin American market in a way that could change that. Their conscientious objection for years was always going to make it hard to go in immeditately when they declared they’d start signing international players again, this just shows how hard. They had the bonus pool to make an impact, but the players found better deals for themselves elsewhere, and that’s not just from a financial standpoint. The Orioles simply haven’t signed many players of their ilk before, and the ones they did sign haven’t made an impact save for Jonathan Schoop. I think it’s going to be paramount for whomever runs the rebuild to build an infrastructure down there in both scouting and facilities that makes the Orioles an attractive part of the market again. If they can’t do that, especially given how much attention the misses on the Mesas and Gaston have received, there may not be a lot of patience for him or her.

Andrew Morris (Richmond VA): 

    What do you think the biggest separator is between sports 5-8?

Jon Meoli: Andrew has a good sense of timing for where we are in the chat with this one. Looking at it now, it is an interesting dynamic in that range. In Grayson Rodriguez, there’s a ton of upside and the cache that comes with being a recent first-round pick. If he is what they think he is, it’s a four-pitch mix and an innings eater in the top half of a rotation. He should get every chance to be that. Then comes Akin, who is more polish than stuff and pitched his way into consideration. Then comes Hunter Harvey, who hardly pitched again but just has such good stuff that even with the significant risk associated, can’t be ignored given the paucity of impact arms in the organization. No. 8 is Ryan McKenna, who wasn’t even ranked last year but put together his tools for one of the best seasons in the system, his struggles at Bowie notwithstanding. The separators were probably the fact that the top end of this tier can make an impact in the rotation, where the Orioles are going to have some significant needs going forward, while McKenna plays a pretty crowded position (or set of positions). On that note…

Isaac (West Virginia): 

    Has Ryan Mckenna done enough that he is now seen as a big league regular in the future?


Zac (NY): 

    Your current projections for 2022 have Mullins, Diaz and Hays in the outfield. Who is the likeliest odd man out if McKenna forces his way into that mix and why?

Jon Meoli: On McKenna, and the outfield in general. This was an interesting question I hadn’t really thought about. Mullins graduated this year so I didn’t do too much considering where he’d be, though I’m not sure he’d have been above Díaz or Hays either way. So I guess if McKenna was going to force any of those players out of a regular role, it might be Mullins for a few reasons. Defensively, McKenna was the choice to play center field in Bowie more often than not, even with Díaz and Hays there, so there’s clearly a thought in the organization that that’s his defense is best suited there compared to the others. Mullins got the major league experience there, and you can argue how that went depending on your predisposition to his future in center field. What’s going to decide the fate of all of them, really, is whether Mullins can hit right-handed. If not, he might end up losing platoon time there with the likes of Hays and McKenna playing against lefties instead.

Bill (Salisbury): 

    Seems Cedric Mullins seems to continue to play above his tools, future leadoff hhitter and everyday Center Fielder on a top tier team?

Jon Meoli: Another on Mullins here. I think that’s way above his capabilities at this point. He can be a leadoff hitter and everyday center fielder on this particular Orioles team, but when you look at the center fielder’s in the World Series with an elite defender in Jackie Bradley Jr. and LA’s cadre of impact guys that move through there, that’s the comparison you make when we say top tier. He’s going to have plenty of time to grow into more than he currently is, and I think learning some of the difficulties at this level in August and September will be key to that.

Dave (Baltimore): 

    With all the trades how much has the Oriole farm system actually improved?

Jon Meoli: Here’s a two-parter, and the short answer to this part is yes. They traded for 15 players, including 14 with prospect eligibility, and I count nine in the top-30. The ones listed here, plus the next tier including Dillon Tate and Luis Ortiz, certainly make things better. I think the team’s position as the most obvious of obvious sellers, the lack of real leverage in these conversations, the underlying financial considerations in shedding salary that became clear as they removed future pieces like Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop from the mix, and their lack of pro scouting infrastructure made the returns lighter than the volume might expect. But this list would certainly look a lot worse without some of those names.

Justin (Charm City): 

    Wow, no Luis Ortiz or Dillon Tate? What do you think about Duquette’s acquiring them both before the trade deadline as it happened?

Jon Meoli: Here’s the second part of that equation, and one I wrestled with a lot. Like many other people, all I had on them was the public reports at the time of the trade, and they paint pictures of tremendous potential. That’s all still in there to an extent, so this isn’t a total burial. In early iterations of this list, I had Ortiz and Tate in the 6-10 range they were generally slotted into after the July trades. But as I was trying to iron out that portion and reward the likes of McKenna, Dean Kremer, Brenan Hanifee, and others for the way they improved so markedly, I kept trying to find ways to get them into this top 10. And when I asked myself why Ortiz and Tate were there, I realized it was really only because that’s where they were and that’s where the assumption would be that they’d go. They were ranked there, and if we’re being honest, part of the reason they were key pieces in their respective trades, because they were drafted in the first round earlier this decade. But now they’ve also been traded twice, and based off people who have seen them throughout, still largely have the same developmental needs. Now, I wrestled on the podcast here with Kyle about how it was hypocritical to basically have Grayson Rodriguez where he is because he’s a first-round pick, keep ranking Hunter Harvey highly despite his injuries, and then do this. But Rodriguez is 18. Harvey has premium stuff. Tate and Ortiz are pitchers whose best pitch is their fastball and need a myriad of things for there to be the requisite consistency to start. So does everyone, and basically every grade in the 6-20 range is the same, so they could have gotten in to make the trades look good I suppose. I wanted to reward those who improved instead.

Bobby (Pennsylvania): 

    Is Dean Kremer still being underrated? Seems he had a big year and as many strikeouts as almost anyone in the minors if not the most

Jon Meoli: Speaking of Kremer, here’s a short answer in a bunch of long ones. I think No. 9 for someone who was basically a swingman searching for a role this time last year and went on to lead the minors in strikeouts is a fair jump. He missed a ton of bats thanks to his switch from a two-seam/slider mix to a four-seam/curveball mix (which came courtesy of the Dodgers’ analytics staff), and there’s potential for a four-pitch mix there, none of it’s really overpowering enough to bump the grade high enough to get him that much higher on this list. He’ll be an interesting one to watch see if the momentum carries over into his first full year in this organization. I think it will.

Griffin (Towson): 

    Dillon Tate, Cody Carroll, and Luis Ortiz all look like solid pitching prospects. Of the three who was the closest to making this list and which one has the most upside potential?

Jon Meoli: Should have added this one after the Tate/Ortiz screed, which was too long, I’m sorry. I have Tate above Ortiz and both well ahead of Carroll. Even if it’s not the best look for either to have been dropped off the list in an organization that’s nowhere near the quality of depth of the system they came from, there’s still talent in their arms and give me the starters-turned-relievers who have had to set guys up and turn over a lineup and hone their secondary pitches for years over big-armed relievers who have always been that any day of the week.

Frank (Chicago, IL): 

    Between rhp’s Hanifee and Dietz, who are you higher on and why?

Jon Meoli: I’m much higher on Hanifee, who I badly wanted to get on the top 10 to make the cutoff for being here on the website but couldn’t figure a way to do. He’s got a great sinker, a mature approach to pitching, and can get both of his secondaries to be above-average if he keeps on this track. He’s also a starter all the way. Dietz has a much bigger arm and had some success at Delmarva earlier in the year, but the control issues and delivery questions that led to him posting a 2.06 WHIP and walking over a batter per inning at Frederick were always there. It’s probably a relief-arm long-term.

J.P. (Springfield, IL): 

    Thanks for chatting. Did Lowther merit any consideration for your top 10, especially considering what many would consider to be a breakout year?


Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): 

    Did Zac Lowther and his Invisiball get anywhere near the top 10? He was fun to watch in A Ball.


Ryan (Abingdon): 

    True or False: Zac Lowther will be a left handed Yusmeiro Petit for the Orioles. (80-100 inning reliever with surprisingly good results because of perceived lack of stuff and less than ideal physicality)

Jon Meoli: Had a few questions about Zac Lowther, and the answer is yes. He was actually at No. 10 in the midseason rankings before all the trades, and was knocked out because Díaz jumped right to No. 1. Add in a few draftees and a half-dozen trade pieces, and he got bumped down to the next 10. I won’t throw a comp like Petit out there, though it’s an interesting one that I hadn’t thought of. I think there’s the deception there and the makings of the command for Lowther to start until he doesn’t despite a fastball that bumps up to 91 mph but sits in the high-80s. Unfortunately for him, that profile is one where pitchers are required to prove it at every level, and where by the time the big leagues have their say, not a lot do. The extension and deception make everything else play up, and there’s a world where he’s probably already at Bowie next year, which will be a tremendous test.

Bryan (Illinois): 

    Can DJ Stewart stick as a starting OF?

Jon Meoli: I think that by the time all the rest of the outfielders from this list matriculate up (Díaz, Hays, even McKenna), it’ll be hard for Stewart to separate himself as a starter there. He’s a better defender than at first look, and is a player who has not only grown on the Orioles but grown on me of late. It’s just that considering the Orioles’ roster limitations with Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, and Trey Mancini occupying a corner outfield spot, first base, and designated hitter (and Davis and Mancini around for four years apiece, respectively), there are only so many spots. Put someone like Ryan Mountcastle in that mix, and you might have to shoe-horn one bat into the outfield, but trying for two would lead to the same issues the Orioles have had in their outfield for years. And in that scenario, it’s hard to see Stewart passing so many other players to get regular time. That said, I was glad to see him hit when he was up in September. He was put in a terrible position by the organization after a difficult year and showed himself well. That means something.

Mike (Tampa, FL): 

    What kept Cadyn Grenier off your list, and in your opinion can he stick at short in the foreseeable future?


Karl of Delaware (Georgetosn, Delaware): 

    1st rounder Cadyn Genier wasn’t light out for Delmarva so thinking he may repeat low A. But Adam Hall will likely be with the Shorebirds, too. Any thoughts on the shortstop abundance for the Shorebirds?

Jon Meoli: Had a couple on Grenier, so combining them here. He has all the pedigree in the world coming from a national champion Oregon State team, and was challenged with an assignment to Low-A Delmarva to allow Hall to play every day in Aberdeen and to keep Grenier at a reasonable level given where he came from. No one doubts the reason he was drafted, which was his standout defense at shortstop. He can make all the plays required, throws well, makes good reads, and has good hands. The question as an amateur, and one that has followed him through the first few months of pro ball and down into the instructional league, was whether he can hit enough for his defense to float him to the majors. The Orioles got right to work on that, trying to help him find his “A swing” as frequently as possible and eliminate some of the variance in it from swing to swing. People outside the organization who watched him believed it’ll require a lot of work, but he’ll get every chance to make it in an organization that’s bereft of middle infield talent. That’s why he’s here in the first place.

William (Baltimore): 

    Hi Jon, could you please speak a bit about Adam Hall? Thanks!


Brother Hall (Aberdeen): 

    Adam Hall had a torrid finish in Aberdeen. He’s obviously far away, but does he compare to the top prospects in the system regarding upside?

Jon Meoli: I guess I should answer the part about Hall from the Grenier questions. I assume Grenier will go to Frederick to allow Jean Carmona and Hall to play every day at Delmarva. As for Hall himself, it impressed me how much the feeling on him changed inside and outside the organization over the course of this year. He was able to flip a switch in August and finish the year on a tear, but in terms of tools, I think that he, like Grenier, are currently defined by how well they defend. Hall obviously hit much better down the stretch, and is one of the best base stealers in the organization, but it’s a line-drive swing with more gap power at this point. As for the upside, I’ll put it this way. I don’t think he’s in that top tier of position players, but can see a world where he can keep steadily improving and do everything well and get to a McKenna-like level in terms of esteem and rankings, if that makes sense.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): 

    Of the hurlers moving from Aberdeen to Delmarva in 2019 who are your favorites?

Jon Meoli: I didn’t get a look at ton of pitchers from Aberdeen this year, but have heard nothing but good things about Blaine Knight from both his amateur days and the time he spent in Aberdeen before going to school. The Orioles like both Leonardo Rodriguez and Hector Guance, the latter of whom got some mentions when I asked evaluators who else I should be asking about. Add in Grayson Rodriguez, who we have to assume is headed there, and it might not be as deep of a group as began the year there in 2018, but will still be worth a few trips out to the shore for a beat writer covering a rebuilding team, if I had to hazard a guess.

Stacy (Baltomore): 

    Where do you see Robert Neustrom in these rankings? Where do you see him prospect wise?


Mark (Syracuse): 

    Hi there, where would Orioles 5th round pick Robert Neustrom stack up among the top prospect in O’s system?

Jon Meoli: Neustrom slotted into the back-end of the rankings, though I didn’t see him very good at Aberdeen when I got out there. It’s a good swing with some loft and power potential to all fields, and that showed a lot more in the instructional league than it did in an Ironbirds uniform. It seems like a corner outfield profile, which will ding his value internally a bit considering the depth out there, but he’s someone who again got mentions in the part of my conversation with scouts where they told me the non-names who may have popped for them.

Ryan (HarCo): 

    What have you heard about Robert Neustrom? He seems to me like a player to watch in 2019. And do Juan Carlos Encarnacion and Jean Carmona appear to have the baseball instincts and ability to adjust to put their tools to use?

Jon Meoli: I’ll tack this on in saying that’s what I’ve heard about Neustrom to get to the others. I think they’re two different cases, and though I never saw Encarnacion play, I think he’s the one with the reputation to do what you’re saying. He just swings at everything, and that works when you get to it and hit the ball with authority. The name that keeps coming up here, very unfairly though it is, is Jonathan Schoop. And everyone in Baltimore saw the way that Schoop could crush a mistake over the plate, but also saw how much trouble he got into when he expanded the zone. Encarnacion is big and athletic and just needs to refine the approach a lot. As for Carmona, I saw a bit of him in person, and he’s one that the Orioles are still waiting for the standout tool to pop out and show itself. The hope is that there’s still a lot of hope with a projectable 19-year-old, one who was well-thought of out of the Dominican Republic. That said, I spoke with one evaluator who had Carmona’s short-season team with the Brewers and said he liked several players better on that club alone.

Ryan (Abingdon): 

    Cameron Bishop’s scouting report coming into 2018 was not one that I am typically optimistic about. However, he performed quite well in Delmarva and seemed to make real progress. What kind of things did you hear about Bishop during your research for the O’s list?

Jon Meoli: I was actually the opposite on Bishop. He had the unique draft signing story, had reports that he was up to 95 mph from the left side before his injury ended his junior year, and then never heard anything like that in terms of stuff again once he got to the Orioles. He’s someone who has a lot of ways to get guys out, but doesn’t really have premium stuff, so he goes in the prove-it-all-the-way category with the likes of Lowther, Alex Wells, and even newcomers Josh Rogers and Bruce Zimmermann.

Nick (Phoenix): 

    Do you think Alex Wells sticks in the majors as a starting pitcher?

Jon Meoli: On that prove-it note, I think it’s a big ask, but Wells has the command to do it as long as he stays ultra-fine with it. He’s all about hitting his spots with his fastball and keeping hitters off balance with the curveball and changeup. A cutter might do wonders to make the fastball play up to give him another way to get weak contact down in the zone.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): 

    the Ironbird first baaseman (Escara) appears to have a pretty good bad – can you comment further on him? Did he make the Prospect Handbook top 30?

Jon Meoli: We’re in rapid-fire territory now. Escarra did actually make the back-end of the list as a late addition. He just stood out to too many people I trust in Aberdeen and down at the instructional league, though I grant you he didn’t have a ton of competition in his own colors to stand out from. He’s old for both of those environments, but made real improvements this year as he got further away from 2016 shoulder surgery. And unlike some of the other big sluggers the Orioles have up and down their first base depth chart, he’s a plus defender. He could easily start at Frederick next year and be right around where he’d need to be level-wise.

Ryan (HarCo): 

    Speaking of draft position propping up prospect status, have evaluators finally given up the ghost of Cody Sedlock?

Jon Meoli: A couple here from Ryan (or two different Ryans) to wrap up. A combination of his elbow issue in 2017 and this year’s shoulder issue, which Sedlock told me was related to thoracic outlet syndrome, have just sapped so much of the stuff that it’s hard to rank where he is presently. Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy didn’t lose their stuff through their injuries, which I guess is the separator there. When I saw Sedlock, he was barely touching 90 mph and using his entire arsenal at a low level. From what I understand, the stuff backed up from there. I have never been one to punish in something like this for injuries, but it seems the impact of those injuries is too much to ignore.

Ryan (HarCo): 

    Rylon Bannon was breaking out in the Cal League and came crashing back to earth with Bowie. He changed organizations and advanced a level. Should we give him a break? I’ve also hear mixed reports on his defense. Is he a plus 3bman or just so-so, potentially fitting better at 2B?

Jon Meoli: I think all those adjustments need to be taken into consideration. Last year, Mountcastle got a pass for struggling late in Bowie after dominating the Carolina League, and this year, McKenna did too. The fact that Bannon doesn’t have the background with the Orioles that those others did and had his success in the California League is certainly a detriment to believing in that, but he had to deal with a lot of change quickly, and that’s tough to do. He does have a very loud swing that can get upper-cut oriented, so he’ll have to find a balance of keeping what works for him and closing the holes that come from the big step he takes from his open stance. Defensively, the Orioles see a fit at second base, and that’s the position he’s played for most of his life before this year, so it works.

Nick (Phoenix): 

    Luis Gonzalez: on opening day roster? Closer potential?

Jon Meoli: I’m not sure about Opening Day roster, but probably in the mix for a relief role. Considering how much certain people in the organization liked him, it’s weird that he never got a shot this year. I can see why they do like him, but that makes me wonder whether he will get a chance at all. And as for closer potential, that’s asking a lot. It’s a sneaky fastball, but the slider comes and goes, and he has too many days where he doesn’t have his best stuff for a role like that.

Ryan (Abingdon): 

    Hunter Harvey, Tanner Scott, Luis Ortiz, Dillon Tate, Brandon Kline, Zac Lowther, Zach Pop, Cody Carroll, Luis Gonzalez… Do they Orioles have the makings of a talented and deep bullpen? If any of them pan out, are they more likely to help the next competitive Orioles team or be the next set of trade chips?

Jon Meoli: To stay on the reliever track, here’s the last question I’ve got. I think there’s certainly potential for another impact bullpen down the road in Baltimore, and the fact that there are so many once or current starters on a list like that is why. Branden Kline is a great example of a guy who has learned how to pitch as a starter, sees the stuff play up in shorter stints, and explodes as a reliever. That’s why he’s, to me, the best true reliever in the system, as opposed to the guys who might have better stuff but are relief-only from the time they begin their careers. Carroll, for instance, came from a bullpen full of guys with big fastballs for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. It takes more than velocity, though, so having the starting depth built back up through a few strong drafts and these trades will make it just as likely that the bullpen gets to that level as the rotation.

Evan (New York): 

    Is it time to give up on Jomar Reyes as an impact bat? Is he even in the top 20 anymore?

Jon Meoli: OK, real last call for questions. Nothing Jomar Reyes has done in the last few years indicates that upside is still there anymore. This is the third year running (one from before I did the rankings, and two for me now) where the word on Reyes was that he was much better down in the instructional league, and that has people feeling better about him. You can never say never about someone who has that kind of raw power and is still only 21, but you can certainly say “Enough for now.” That’s basically where I come down on Reyes now until he proves otherwise.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): 

    Of the Delmarva pitchers the guy with the fastest fastball was Diogenes Almengo at 95-98mph. He was in the Astros organization – how did the O’s get him? What’s his upside?

Jon Meoli: Almengo was released in the offseason and signed by the Orioles, which is pretty much where their Latin American player base comes from at this point. He’s got a big fastball and his name came up some, but relievers at that stage in their careers are likely relievers to stay.

NICK (Phoenix): 

    Any sense for how they handle Harvey assignment and load wise in 2019?

Jon Meoli: Beats me. Some people think the best way to go for Harvey is to basically treat him like the Orioles did with Dylan Bundy when he was out of options and have him pitch in big league relief for the first half of the season then build into something more down the line. Harvey doesn’t have the secondaries Bundy did to help guide him through a challenge like that, but it’s at least a thought. Whatever happens, though, the Orioles need to just let him pitch and deal with what happens. They limited his schedule out of spring training to conserve innings for later in the summer, and he got hurt anyway. So wherever he ends up, he shouldn’t be put in the back of a rotation or skipped or whatever. Just let him pitch, let him turn a lineup over, and let’s see what he has after all this time.

Jon Meoli: This seems like a fine place to end things. Thanks for all the great questions, thanks to the fine folks at BA for asking me to do this, and the fine folks at the Sun for letting me. I’ll be writing about these players as much as possible given the state of the big club, so be sure to give a follow @JonMeoli on Twitter for the latest in Orioles prospect news to check in on these players both for the future in Baltimore and your fantasy teams. Thanks again!

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