Baltimore Orioles 60-Man Roster Prospect Analysis
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|Travis Lakins, Sr.||RHP|
|Dwight Smith, Jr.||OF|
RHP Cesar Valdez, 35, pitched five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in spring training after signing a minor league deal. That was enough for the Mexican righthander, who last pitched in the majors for the A's and Blue Jays in 2017, to make the cut. In all, the Orioles kept 12 non-roster invitees on their initial player pool.
The Orioles announced only 44 players, so they have room to add more at a later date. Still, for a rebuilding club, it was surprising to see five of their top six prospects—including top prospect Adley Rutschman and reigning Triple-A International League MVP Ryan Mountcastle—not included in their initial group of players. Rutschman, Mountcastle, pitchers Grayson Rodriguez (No. 2 prospect) and DL Hall (No. 3) and outfielder Yusniel Diaz (No. 6) all figure prominently in the Orioles future plans and would benefit greatly from the playing time and instruction that come with being a part of the 60-man pool, even if none are ready to contribute in the majors this year.
It is difficult to fully assess the Orioles 60-man pool with so many spots left to be filled. The better question is why they left so many spots open when they had so many obvious candidates for their alternate training site. With little to look forward to this year beyond the development of such youngsters, it would be puzzling for the O's to completely skip an entire year of development for all of them. Whether they add them in the coming days will present an incisive look into the organization's thought process.