Sign Up! Join our newsletters, get a FREE e-Edition
Track Record: An impressive prospect as a teenager in Cuba, Diaz, signed with the Dodgers for $15.5 million after the 2015 season. He began 2018 with Double-A Tulsa, put together a strong first half, and was fresh off a two-homer performance at the Futures Game in July when the Orioles made him the centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade. Diaz overdid it a bit trying to show he was worthy of that distinction at Double-A Bowie, but his low batting average did little to dampen expectations. Scouting Report: Diaz has a pretty well-rounded skill set, but the Orioles are working to continue the refinements he was making as a Dodger. He has fast hands and all-fields power, but is working to iron out his lower half. The Orioles observed that his back foot was pointed at the umpire; others saw his front half causing him to pull his hands through to quickly, taking away the opposite-field power that comes naturally to him. His ability to rein his swing in and hit the ball the other way late in counts, plus Diaz's ability to work a walk, indicate a strong approach that should allow him to continue to post high on-base percentages. He's proven capable of making adjustments both with the Dodgers and with the Orioles, and must realize that his bat speed and strength will supply plenty of power as he matures. He doesn't need to rush and get pull-happy to create holes in his swing. Defensively, Diaz showed the Orioles he can handle all three outfield positions, with enough range for center field but an arm that fits in right. His twitchy athleticism allows for plenty of projection to add to his above-average speed, but his career 44.4 percent stolen base rate shows he has work to do to turn his speed into an offensive weapon. The Future: In terms of ceiling and present pedigree, Diaz is a peerless talent among position players in the Orioles' system. He's the closest thing to an everyday impact player that the farm system boasts, and even if he doesn't show his entire range of skills immediately upon his arrival to the majors--which could be as soon as early 2019--Diaz is the type of player who will contribute enough to stick and grow into an above-average everyday player. He may push for a roster spot out of spring training, but with several other young outfielders on the roster already, Diaz may have to wait his turn at Triple-A Norfolk.
Track Record: A baseball/basketball start in high school, Hall was touted as perhaps the premier prep lefthander in the 2017 draft, and the Orioles were thrilled when he fell to the 21st pick. After bypassing a Florida State commitment for $3 million, he has lived up to expectations so far. After struggling some with his delivery upon his debut in 2017, Hall turned in a full, healthy season in 2018. Over the second half of the season he was arguably the best pitcher in the South Atlantic League. Hall allowed only 32 hits in 53.2 innings while posting a 0.82 ERA in 11 appearances after the all-star break. Scouting Report: Hall got better as the season went on for low Class A Delmarva, and held his fastball velocity throughout the season, topping out at 97 mph and sitting 92-95 mph from an effortless, balanced delivery with excellent arm speed. His changeup, which came into the season as a below-average pitch, improved significantly and joins his fastball and breaking ball as future plus pitches. Hall learned to pitch without his best stuff at times in 2018, and his mental development with his natural athleticism bode well for the future. Hall ate up righthanded hitters, holding them to a .180/.292/.276 stat line, which also is a positive indicator for future success as his fastball and changeup kept righthanded hitters from ever getting comfortable. The Future: Hall's early success and health put him in position to break the Orioles' developmental struggles when it comes to high school pitchers. He projects as a mid-rotation starter at worst, with the only caveat that he needs to stay healthy. He'll get a chance to do that at high Class A Frederick in 2019.
Track Record: It's fitting that the Orioles' compensatory pick for losing Nelson Cruz to free agency after the 2014 season resulted in another pure hitter. Mountcastle won the Carolina League batting title in 2017, and showed few ill effects from a fractured wrist once he settled in at Double-A Bowie. Scouting Report: Mountcastle's fluid hands and developed frame make him a hitter with power, not the other way around. Both can be plus skills going forward, and he'll need every bit of his bat to boost a defensive profile that's below-average anywhere on the diamond. Mountcastle has made a specific effort to get himself into counts where he can drive the ball, and so far it's paid off. A shortstop when he signed, Mountcastle slid over to third base in 2017. Even with improvement there in 2018, Mountcastle remains well below-average there and projects to left field or first base. Mountcastle's biggest hurdle to a defensive home is his well below-average arm. Scouts don't believe he can handle any position in the dirt that requires him to throw regularly. Left field or first base is his most likely long-term home, but even left field will be a stretch because of his arm. The Future: Mountcastle's bat will make him an everyday big leaguer, but his value will be tied to where he plays. The farther down the defensive spectrum he goes--and scouts believe his arm would be a liability even in left field--the more pressure he'll have on the bat. He can hit his way into the major league conversation in 2019 from Triple-A Norfolk.
Track Record: Hays became the first member of the 2016 draft class to make the majors in 2017, establishing himself as the Orioles' top prospect in the process. But his candidacy to win the starting right field job never took off in 2018 after spring shoulder soreness. He scuffled upon his return to Double-A Bowie and missed two months with a stress fracture in his ankle. He bounced back with a decent August (.267/.287/.500) but had ankle surgery in September. Scouting Report: Hays got away from his all-fields approach, appearing to sell out for pull power and get through the zone too quickly. His naturally quick hands and solid approach allow him to catch up to heat and recognize spin, but he only did that in August when he closed off his stance, and even then, his over-aggressive approach meant that he rarely got on base other than when he cracked an extra-base hit. When his above-average power is a symptom of his fluid, adaptable swing instead of the end goal, Hays has an above-average hit tool, although his on-base percentage is largely tied to his batting average. His plus arm projects best in right, but he can also play center. The Future: Hays hit the reset button once he returned in August and showed his immense talent and everyday outfield ceiling was still in there. He'll get another crack at the Opening Day roster in what's expect to be a crowded outfield.
Track Record: Rodriguez pitched his way into the first round of the 2018 draft after transforming his body by adding 20 pounds of muscle and reworking his delivery to use his strapping frame last winter. That made him the biggest pop-up name in the draft, and led the Orioles to sign him to a $4.3 million bonus. Rodriguez didn't allow a run until his seventh outing in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in outings that were limited to three innings or less. Scouting Report: Though his fastball was up to 97 mph as an amateur, Rodriguez generally worked at 91-94 mph as a pro with good angle and life down in the zone. It's not uncommon for prep pitchers to see their velocity back up a little while they adjust to pitching on a five-day schedule, and Rodriguez has the strength to gain back some of that velo. His slider, which sits in the low 80s with tilt, is the newest of his secondary pitches, though his two-plane, mid-70s curveball might fit better from his high arm slot. His fringy changeup wasn't necessary in high school, but is developing. He's able to get down the mound well with a big frame and repeatable delivery, allowing him to locate down in the zone. The Future: Rodriguez has all the makings of a physical workhorse starter who can slot into a rotation and provide quality innings with a ceiling as high as a No. 3 starter. The Orioles have made a big investment in developing both reliable back-end starters among college draftees to blend with higher-ceiling high school pitchers. Rodriguez and Hall are vital cogs to that approach. Rodriguez could get his first taste of full-season ball at low Class A Delmarva to begin 2019.
Track Record: Akin is the most advanced arm to develop from the Orioles' increased focus on college pitching that began in the 2016 draft. He battled conditioning and mechanical issues in 2017, but had no such troubles in 2018 as he won the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award. Scouting Report: In 2017, Akin battled an oblique injury and a dip in his velocity. He saw his fastball velocity creep back up a bit in 2018. He touched 95 mph and held 91-94 deep into outings at Double-A Bowie while keeping the deception that makes the pitch effective. Hitters have trouble picking up his above-average fastball out of his hand and have to honor the fact that Akin is fearless throwing it to either side of the plate. The same goes for his plus low-80s slider, which he throws to both left- and righthanded hitters, as well as his average low-80s changeup. The Future: The Orioles mulled adding Akin to the major league roster at times in 2018, because his consistent success won over some doubters in the organization. But with so many other players to add to the roster, Akin's arrival was put off until 2019, when he'll likely be a candidate for the rotation in spring training. Even if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster, he will likely pitch in Baltimore in 2019.
Track Record: Harvey quickly established himself as one of the Orioles' most talented pitchers, but in six pro seasons, his career has been totally derailed by injuries. It includes elbow soreness in 2014, a fractured leg in 2015 and groin surgery in 2016 before Tommy John surgery later that summer. From 2015 to 2017, he threw a total of 32.2 innings over three seasons. Despite that, the Orioles added Harvey to their 40-man roster before the 2018 season. He impressed in spring training, leading the Orioles to consider adding him to the big league roster. But after nine starts for Double-A Bowie he went back to the disabled list again with a shoulder injury. Harvey has spent time on the disabled list in five of his six pro seasons. Scouting Report: Harvey's stuff has never been an issue, but it won't matter if he can't pitch. Coming from a crossfire delivery that could be problematic for his command at the highest level, Harvey' plus fastball sits 92-95 mph and has reached 97 with run and angle, and his two-plane curveball still impresses. His changeup is still a developing pitch, and he added a cutter in 2018, though not in games. There's some effort in Harvey's delivery, and while his frame has filled out, it hasn't shown in an improved ability to be able to handle a workload. The Future: The Orioles constantly point to another injury-beset top pick--Dylan Bundy--in not discounting Harvey's promise to be a No. 3 starter. It's a big ask for a pitcher who has never thrown 100 innings in a pro season to ramp up to such a heavier workload. If he can't hold up, he has an electric high-leverage relief arsenal.
Track Record: The top prep player in New England in his draft year was snatched away from the hometown Red Sox when the Orioles drafted him and signed him away from a Liberty commitment. McKenna exploded with 28 extra-base hits in 67 games in 2018 at high Class A Frederick, earning a Carolina League all-star nod before struggling after a promotion to Double-A Bowie. Scouting Report: McKenna refined his approach to be on time for the fastball and adjust to breaking balls, helping his bat speed and barrel control play up into what projects as an average hit tool with fringe pop, but plenty of gap power for extra-base hits. Conversely, his ability to bunt for base hits was lauded as he dealt with his late-season slump, and he still was able to work a walk even when it wasn't going well. His above-average speed plays up and makes him the best bet in the Orioles' minor league system to stick in center field, where he projects as an average defender with an average arm. The Future: McKenna is the type of player for whom the sum may exceed the parts. He improved to the point that an everyday major league role is possible. His ability to play all three outfield positions gives him a path to being a fourth outfielder as well, but he'll need to prove he can hit at the higher levels of the minors. A return to Double-A Bowie is the first step on that path to Baltimore.
Track Record: A late-bloomer who wasn't drafted out of high school, Kremer has progressed tremendously since the Dodgers made him the first Israeli citizen selected by a major league club (Kremer was born in California to Israeli parents and holds Israeli citizenship). Kremer struggled as a swingman in 2017, but adjusted his repertoire with the Dodgers analytics staff's help to emphasize his curveball. Acquired in the Manny Machado trade, he led the minors with 178 strikeouts in 2018. Scouting Report: Kremer's ability to miss bats comes through a well-balanced four-pitch mix, highlighted by a 91-94 mph fastball that touches 95. His biting 74-76 mph curveball both misses bats and gets weak contact, and he uses it in all situations, while his slider still could develop into a putaway pitch and his changeup is coming along. He has an advanced feel for pitching and sequencing and has distinguished himself already in the system by showing an aptitude for learning and an ability to process and carry out plans to refine his arsenal and approach. The Future: Kremer might not have more than a No. 4 starter ceiling. But he's had success in the upper level of the minors and has a clear path to a big league job in the not-to-distant future for a team that will be in dire need of young, durable starting pitchers. Kremer could push to Triple-A Norfolk in his first full year in the Orioles system.
Track Record: Once Knight was done with an All-American junior year that included beating every top pitcher and going undefeated in the Southeastern Conference, then pitching Arkansas to the finals of the College World Series, the Orioles signed him to an above-slot $1.1 million bonus as a third-round pick. They gave him a break before sending him to short-season Aberdeen, where he essentially continued working as a Friday starter on a pitch count before he went back to finish his degree. Scouting Report: Knight worked 91-95 mph at Aberdeen after a long college season, showing an elite spin rate on both an 82-84 mph slider and his slower curveball, plus a potential above-average changeup. What stood out to the Orioles in their brief look was his aptitude for mixing his pitches and the purpose with which he threw each pitch. Knight's lean frame shows some projection, as does his athleticism and his loose arm action. The Future: Such a feel for pitching and the weapons Knight has means there won't be much resistance on his path to a No. 3 starter ceiling in the low minors, though his heavy workload at Arkansas and his slight build will naturally cause durability concerns.
Track Record: Hanifee signed for an above-slot $500,000 after jumping onto the 2016 draft radar, but he didn't debut until 2017 at short-season Aberdeen. His 2018 at low Class A Delmarva was a master class in efficiency, with Hanifee presenting himself as a throwback starter who pitched to contact and worked deep into games. He gave the Shorebirds 11 quality starts in 16 outings before workload restrictions. Scouting Report: Hanifee was a favorite of scouts during in 2018, with one remarking that he pitches like he's 35 years old. His 91-94 mph fastball has tremendous sink and helped him to an above-average groundball rate, though he can command it well and change eye levels with it as well. He throws his slider for strikes with plus potential, and his changeup can get to average or a tick above. Everything plays up because it's down in the zone. The Future: Hanifee reaching his No. 4 stater potential will hinge on his secondary pitches and continued ability to locate. His athleticism and advanced approach make that more likely than a typical high school draftee. He'll try to continue his progress at high Class A Frederick in 2019.
Track Record: Tate was a breakout star for UC Santa Barbara and the top college pitcher in the 2015 draft class. He went fourth overall to the Rangers and signed for $4.2 million before being dealt to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran. He made strides with New York and was an Eastern League all-star at Double-A Trenton when he became the top piece in the Zach Britton trade at the 2018 deadline. Scouting Report: Tate works from a deliberate but athletic delivery, and he saw recent improvement by coming more set with his hands and allowing himself to stay tall over the rubber longer. His fastball has sinking life at 92-94 mph when he gets through it, but it flattens out at times. Likewise, his mid-80s slider and changeup have plus potential on their best days, but Tate struggles to harness them consistently. The Future: The Orioles added Tate to the 40-man roster after the year to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He could reach a No. 4 starter ceiling with repetitions and consistent innings, but an impact set-up man in short stints is most likely.
Track Record: Ortiz presented an intriguing amateur skill set but fell to the 30th overall pick in 2014 because of arm tightness, signing for $1.75 million. Undeniable talent and health questions followed him from the Rangers to the Brewers then to the Orioles in the 2018 trade-deadline deal for Jonathan Schoop. Durability issues and conditioning are holding him back. A hamstring injury covering first base ended his first major league start in September, and thereby his season. Scouting Report: Ortiz's upside mostly resides in his arm strength, with a plus fastball up to 96 mph in shorter stints and a potentially above-average slider when he stays behind it. He also shows feel for a changeup, but Ortiz didn't show the ability to repeat his delivery or command his pitches at the major league level. He is listed at 230 pounds but is significantly heavier, with a plump physique that has produced questions as to whether he'd be able to stay healthy or control his delivery. The Future: Ortiz has previously been touted as a starter with No. 3 potential, but it's more a back-end rotation ceiling with a higher likelihood to end up in the bullpen after what he showed in 2018.
Track Record: A well-regarded college shortstop at Florida, Martin came as advertised defensively in pro ball, yet he had failed to produce offensively in his first three seasons in the Athletics' system. That changed at Double-A Midland in 2018, when Martin hit .300 to rank third in the Texas League batting race. He also established career highs for home runs (six), doubles (29), stolen bases (25) and walks (44). The Orioles selected him with the first pick in the 2018 Rule 5 draft. Scouting Report: After years of tinkering with his swing, Martin found a setup that worked for him and he stuck with it. He also updated his contact lens prescription in the offseason. The timing of Martin's breakout season was unusual because he missed spring training while recovering from meniscus surgery on his right knee, and then he missed time in April with a lower back strain. He certainly didn't seem restricted at the plate or in the field. Martin tends to chase breaking pitches too often, and his batting average figures to come down in future seasons when the hits don't fall as frequently, but even as a fringe hitter with below-average power he could help a team. That's because he is a lockdown shortstop with plus range, plus speed and a plus arm. His fundamentals are strong and he converts nearly all routine plays. The Future: Martin's energetic style endears him with teammates and his work ethic should carry him to a big league role as a probable second-division shortstop or utility infielder. Given Baltimore's shallow middle infield depth, he seems like a good bet to stick with the major league club.
Track Record: Stewart's potential to develop into a lefthanded-hitting power bat, plus his background as the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, made him attractive to the Orioles with their top pick in 2015 and earned him a $2.06 million bonus. He finally showed why with a 20 homer-20 steal season at Double-A Bowie in 2017 before a hamstring injury knocked him off track in 2018. He made his major league debut in September anyway. Scouting Report: Stewart's total package may be one of a big leaguer, even if the parts don't seem it. His swing, while improved of late, can be one-plane still, sapping some of the utility of his above-average power and leaving potential holes going forward. He makes strong contact when he gets the barrel to the ball. He runs well underway and plays a capable corner outfield, though neither tool is more than average. The Future: Stewart faces an ideal situation in Baltimore to break in and try and realize his fringe everyday potential. He could very well thrive in a platoon role or as a bench bat.
Track Record: Lowther struck out a school-record 123 batters as a junior at Xavier, and after signing for slot ($779,500) in 2017, he continued to baffle hitters in the low minors in 2018. He was drafted in part because he had elite extension in his delivery, and the deception continued at two Class A levels in 2018, when he struck out 11 batters per nine innings to lead all Orioles minor league starters. Scouting Report: Lowther throws from a low three-quarters delivery with quick, whippy arm action. He has fringe-average fastball velocity at 88-92 mph, but hitters simply can't see it, and he locates the pitch well in the zone. His delivery helps his low-80s changeup and slurvy breaking ball play up, with each pitch showing average potential, though his whole arsenal dips as he gets deep into games. The Future: Lowther's ability to sustain his above-average command and keep hitters off his fastball will be his separator once he hits the high minors. Lowther has shown he can make adjustments at new levels quickly and will get that chance at Double-A Bowie in 2019.
Track Record: As the Orioles get back into the international market, Encarnacion is an example of the talents they can find there. Signed for $10,000 by the Braves and acquired in the July 2018 trade for Kevin Gausman and Darren O'Day, Encarnacion has hit at every level since making his U.S. debut in 2017. He earned postseason South Atlantic League all-star honors for his efforts between low Class A Rome and Delmarva in 2018. Scouting Report: A strapping athlete with good bat speed and leverage in his righthanded swing, Encarnacion shows potential for at least an average hit tool and plus power, with a loose swing and average bat control. His approach, however, is extremely aggressive and will need to be refined significantly to allow him to reach his ceiling. He shows a plus arm at third base and is presently average there, though he could also play a corner outfield spot. The Future: Encarnacion is the type of potential impact everyday bat that the Orioles' international philosophy has made scarce in their system. He likely will go to high Class A Frederick in 2019 with an eye on shoring up his approach.
Track Record: Hall put himself on the map with the Canadian junior national team in games and showcases, showing enough to earn an above-slot $1.3 million bonus as a 2017 second-round pick. An oblique injury limited him to two games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League season in his pro debut, and things came slowly for him at short-season Aberdeen in 2018 before a 19-game hitting streak in August won him New York-Penn League player of the month honors. Scouting Report: Hall came into the system as a below-average fielder and thrower but built those tools up to the point where they project as above-average. His approach improved as he stopped trying to hit for power and let his quick bat do the work, and with the defensive profile, an average hit tool would be plenty even with below-average power. He's already one of the best baserunners in the system. The Future: Hall has developed quicker than the Orioles thought and should make his full-season debut at age 19 in 2019 at low Class A Delmarva. Continued progress defensively will lessen the pressure on his bat and help him to an average everyday ceiling at a middle infield position.
Track Record: Grenier passed up a chance to sign with the Cardinals as a 21st-rounder in 2015 to go to Oregon State, where the Beavers won the College World Series and Grenier won the Brooks Wallace Award as the nation's top shortstop in 2018. He signed for $1.8 million as the 37th overall pick and went straight to low Class A Delmarva. Scouting Report: With the Shorebirds, Grenier showed much of the profile he carried out of the draft. He's a plus defender with plus range and above-average hands who can make all the throws at shortstop, but his major league value will hinge on his bat. The Orioles already began calming down his swing to get him to the best version of it more often, but the hope that it can be an average hit tool doesn't have the brightest outlook after he hit .216/.297/.333 in his pro debut. The Future: Grenier's defense will carry him quickly through the system, regardless of his bat, even if it's a long way between where he is now and a second-division, glove-first regular role. He may bump up to high Class A Frederick for 2019.
Track Record: An Australian who signed for $300,000 in 2015, Wells has succeeded at every level since his pro debut in 2016. He won the Jim Palmer minor league pitcher of the year award for the Orioles in 2017, has been an all-star at every level--most recently at high Class A Frederick--and represented the Orioles in the 2018 Futures Game. Scouting Report: As a pitchability lefthander with a light fastball at 87-91 mph, Wells needs his command to be perfect, which it only was at times this year. At his best, he shows plus command with a feel for three pitches, including a changeup and curveball that each have average potential. There's not much physical projection, but Wells has a simple, repeatable delivery and knows how to pitch with what he has. The concern is that even exceptional command won't be enough at more advanced levels because of Wells lack of any one overpowering pitch. The Future: Even a tick more velocity would raise Wells' ceiling a bit, but at this point, he is a No. 5 starter or swingman at best. If he can command and get outs at Double-A Bowie in 2019, that outlook could be solidified.
Track Record: After getting great returns from Austin Hays in the third round out of Jacksonville in 2016, they went back to the Dolphins roster for Baumann in 2017, signing him for a below-slot $500,000 as a third-round pick. Baumann cruised to high Class A Frederick within a year of signing, where he was challenged as a power pitcher despite his college pedigree. Scouting Report: Baumann has a plus fastball in every sense, from its 92-96 mph velocity to its present sink and command potential. He fills up the zone with the pitch, but has been punished for leaving it over the plate at higher levels and must keep it down in the zone. The same goes for his slider, which he sometimes struggles to get behind. Baumann also throws a changeup that's a clear third pitch from a balanced delivery and boasts a sturdy pitcher's frame. His control is below-average, pushing the quality of his stuff down and limiting his strikeouts. The Future: Baumann's starter track will be vital to him being able to develop the secondary pitches necessary to reach a back-end starter's ceiling. He could prove more useful as a high-leverage set-up man down the road, but he will likely begin 2019 at Double-A Bowie in the rotation.
Track Record: Kline appeared to be on the verge of a breakout in 2015 when a weighted ball program brought him a bump in fastball velocity, but an elbow injury that summer eventually required Tommy John surgery. He rehabbed through 2016 and required two cleanup procedures in 2017 before returning as an electric reliever in 2018. Scouting Report: As a starter, Kline had a diverse and effective mix, but no true putaway pitch to complement his mid-90s fastball. But the corresponding jump in his arsenal out of the bullpen means he has a dynamic three-pitch mix. His 94-96 mph fastball explodes out of his hand and is a plus-plus pitch when up in the zone, while his mid-80s slider and mid-80s changeup can be thrown in any count and get swinging strikes. Each has plus potential, and Kline held his stuff on a reliever's schedule. The Future: Kline turned 26 in September and would have been in the majors if he had innings left after so long off the mound. He was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason and will compete for a spot with the Orioles in spring training.
Track Record: Bannon was the Big East Conference player of the year at Xavier in 2017 and he showed increased power in his pro debut. The Dodgers skipped him to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga in 2018, and he hit 20 home runs in half a season to win California League MVP despite being sent to the Orioles in the Manny Machado trade in July. He struggled upon a jump to Double-A Bowie in his Orioles debut. Scouting Report: Bannon moved from third base to second base with the Baysox, where his smaller frame and low arm swing play as part of an average defensive profile. His swing was exposed some after the trade, with his high leg kick from an open stance limiting his barrel control and disrupting his timing. His swing feasts on low pitches when he's on them, and his advanced approach has helped him hit at every level he's played in save for the Eastern League. The Future: Bannon's track record shows he's liable to hit in Bowie when he returns there next spring, and that's what will have to carry him to a fringe everyday role in the majors.
Track Record: Pop, a product of the Canadian National Team system, dealt with an arm injury in his junior year at Kentucky that hurt him in the draft, but he's shown no issues as a pro. He climbed three levels in 2018 between his time with the Dodgers and Orioles after he was part of the Manny Machado trade. All told, Pop generated an elite groundball rate while striking out 8.9 per nine innings. Scouting Report: Pop may have a typical reliever's fastball/slider arsenal, but his heater has atypical life. It's a heavy 92-96 mph sinker from a low arm slot, but he'll need his mid-80s slider to reach its above-average potential to keep hitters off his fastball. His heater has a plus-plus ceiling, and Pop showed enough command for the Orioles to believe he profiles as a potential impact reliever. The Future: Pop might have the best pure stuff of anyone acquired by the Orioles in their five July trades, and he has both the mentality and the arsenal to be an effective bridge reliever to get his team to the back-end of the bullpen.
Track Record: Rom signed for an above-slot $650,000 as a 2018 fourth-rounder to forgo a commitment to Michigan. He got his first taste of the pro game in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, where he struck out 8.2 per nine innings and dominated lefthanded hitters. Scouting Report: Rom's fastball sat 89-91 mph ahead of the draft, but dipped down after he signed following a long high school season. What he lacks in fastball velocity, he makes up with bite and shape on a potential plus slider at 77-80 mph, and his split-changeup has above-average potential. The fact Rom has shown velocity before and has a projectable pitcher's frame with room to add muscle and arm strength from a clean, easy three-quarters arm slot should ease his transition into full-season ball. The Future: Rom has a back-end rotation ceiling, and his slider could play well in relief. He could get a crack at the low Class A Delmarva rotation in 2019.
Track Record: Carmona was a top player in the 2016 international class when the Brewers signed him for $725,000. He hit well in the Dominican Summer League in 2017 before coming to the U.S. He spent 2018 in Rookie ball both before and after he was part of the Jonathan Schoop trade in July. Scouting Report: Carmona's current promise is inflated by the fact that there's no one skill that can't be dreamt on at this point. He's a big for a shortstop but handles the position well. His physical projection creates the possibility that he could be a switch-hitter with at least an average hit tool and above-average power with bat speed. That same projection could take him off shortstop, however. He has the arm for either shortstop or third base. He has played second base as well. The Future: Carmona will get every chance to develop into a reliable everyday player at shortstop, and he may not have much impediment in the Orioles' system. He could be challenged with his full-season debut at low Class A Delmarva in 2019.
Track Record: A late-bloomer who was never exactly on the fast track, Araujo signed with the Cubs for $100,000 as a 17-year-old in 2011 and didn't make it out of the Dominican Summer League until 2014. He wasn't in full-season ball until 2016, and he made one appearance in Double-A in 2017 before the Orioles took him in the Rule 5 draft. He made 20 appearances for Baltimore and struck out a batter per inning in his major league debut in 2018, but he struggled with his command suffering a season-ending elbow injury in mid-June. Scouting Report: Araujo features a low-90s fastball that tops out at 95 mph with sink and was able to get swinging strikes in the big leagues on both his slider and changeup. Opposing hitters whiffed on 33.9 percent of his pitches, but he pitched his way into bad counts. His command, while no better than average, wasn't an issue as much as a lack of conviction at a level far advanced than what he was used to. The Future: The Orioles kept Araujo around in the hopes that he can be a useful middle reliever once his Rule 5 roster restrictions expire. He will be back in the Orioles' bullpen in 2019.
Track Record: Rogers pitched as a freshman at Louisville despite Tommy John surgery as a senior in high school, and he signed with the Yankees for an above-slot $485,000 as a draft-eligible sophomore. He was surprised to start 2018 at Triple-A, but more than held his own there before joining the Orioles in the Zach Britton trade. His first major league start came a month later. Scouting Report: Rogers has been effective at every level in pro ball because of how he spots his 88-92 mph fastball and uses two offspeed pitches, including an average slider and plus changeup to keep hitters off balance. But without a go-to out pitch among them, Rogers needs to be precise down in the strike zone and hit his spots to generate weak contact. He had shown the ability to do that up until he reached the majors with average command from a three-quarters arm slot. The Future: Rogers reached the majors in the role that he may ultimately fill: spot starter. He could peak as a No. 5 starter or carve a useful role as a swingman or up-and-down rotation depth option.
Track Record: Dietz was the top junior college pitcher in the 2016 draft thanks to a growth spurt between seasons, and he signed for an above-slot $1.3 million as the 69th overall pick. A big-armed but raw pitcher, Dietz didn't start getting results until he repeated low Class A Delmarva in 2018. He was a South Atlantic League all-star but stumbled upon a promotion to high Class A Frederick, where he walked more than a batter per inning with a 2.06 WHIP. Scouting Report: Even when effective, Dietz struggles with both command and control, which limits his entire package. His fastball sits 92-96 mph with run and is a touch firmer in shorter stints, with his mid-80s slider far ahead of his firm, below-average changeup. He struggles to put all the pieces of his delivery together consistently, and thus can't consistently command any of his pitches. The Future: Anyone with Dietz's arm will get plenty of chances. The Orioles feel it suits his development to start so he can hone his delivery and secondary pitches. His future is almost certainly in the bullpen, where he has a middle-relief profile--if he can rein in his control. He could be back in Frederick to open 2019.
Track Record: The athletic Jackson struggled to hit until he got contact lenses his junior year at Stanford, and his increased offensive production got him drafted by the Mariners in the fifth round in 2015. The Dodgers acquired him from Seattle for righthander Chase De Jong just before the start of the 2017 season. After injuries sidetracked Jackson's first year in the Dodgers' system, he emerged as versatile threat during Double-A Tulsa's Texas League title run, finishing with 20 doubles, 15 homers, 22 stolen bases and an .804 OPS while playing shortstop, second base and center field. The Orioles acquired him in the 2018 Rule 5 draft and must keep him on the 25-man roster to retain his rights. Scouting Report: Jackson's athleticism has long been his calling card. He is a plus-plus runner with a plus-plus arm, two attributes that allow him to play in the middle of the diamond. His footwork and approach on ground balls are inconsistent, making him more reliable at second base than shortstop. Jackson's modest natural timing in the batter's box makes him a fringe-average hitter at best, but he found new power with physical maturity to enhance his overall impact. The Future: Jackson is being groomed for a utility future with his up-the-middle-athleticism. He'll try to show he can keep hitting at the big league level in 2019.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up