The Baltimore Orioles have an unusual number of players in spring training this year – so many of them being guys on the fringe of trying to make it for the first time, or others to return to a former position as a regular player in MLB. It is a lot to remember.
Two weeks ago I did two posts with quick bio and stats references on pitchers and position players – emphasizing the new people around the Orioles. A number of people commented upon enjoying that, so, here is a combined update – adding a few (surprising!) names since then from the great DD Spending Spree of 2014.
I will again assume most readers are familiar with those players who have been a part of the Orioles in the past, and I’ll just give some brief descriptive comments on those who may be more unfamiliar.
Pitchers who have played with the Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen, Brian Matusz, Bud Norris, Tommy Hunter, Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Troy Patton, Dylan Bundy, Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Johnson, Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, T.J. McFarland.
New pitchers or those who are not as well-known (though a couple have had short stints with the O’s):
Alfredo Aceves – RHP – The 31-year-old former Yankees and Red Sox pitcher hopes to revive his career. He has had times of both greatness and disaster – pitching mostly in AAA last year. He admires Dennis Rodman … ugh!
Nick Additon – LHP – Age 26. In 2013, he was 9-7 with a 4.10 ERA with AAA Memphis. He has previously been with the Cardinals organization.
Tim Alderson – RHP – In 2007, Alderson was the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the draft by the San Francisco Giants. He is age 25. At one time a top prospect, he had a high ERA at Norfolk for his 15 games with them in 2013.
Mike Belfiore – LHP – In 2013 he pitched 76 innings at AAA Norfolk in 37 games of relief to a 3.18 ERA – age 25.
Tim Berry – LHP – A 50th-round selection in the 2009 draft, Berry was 11-7 with a 3.85 ERA in 27 starts at Frederick. Berry pitched 152 innings – striking out 119 while walking 40. He was also 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League.
Brad Brach – RHP – He came to the Orioles in a trade with the Padres. The 6’6” reliever is age 27 and has posted a 3-6 record for San Diego in 109 appearances over three seasons. His career ERA is 3.70, and he averages 10.1 strikeouts per 9 innings. He has an option remaining.
Fabio Castillo – RHP – This 25-year-old has a career minor league ERA of 4.63 – most of it in the Texas organization, though last year at AA and AAA for the Giants.
Kelvin De La Cruz – LHP – He pitched for AAA Albuquerque with good stats of 3-1 and 2.89 ERA – 62 hits in 62 innings of relief and 78 strikeouts. The problem that sticks out is 5.1 walks per 9 innings.
Edgmer Escalona – RHP – Age 27, was 1-4 with a 5.67 ERA for the Rockies last year in 37 games. He is 19-16 with a 3.85 ERA and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 259 career relief outings over eight minor league seasons.
Eddie Gamboa – RHP – A long-time Orioles minor leaguer – trying to make it happen with a knuckleball. At age 29, Gamboa was a combined 6-11 with a 4.43 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 142 1/3 innings for Double-A Bowie (4-6, 3.64 in 16 starts) and Triple-A Norfolk (2-5, 6.23 in nine starts).
Brock Huntzinger – RHP – A third-round pick who has been in the Red Sox organization, this 25-year-old reliever had rather mundane numbers until the past two years. Splitting time between AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket in 2013, Huntzinger made 49 relief appearances while posting a 1.83 ERA. He was 2-2 with a 1.43 ERA in 24 games for Pawtucket.
Ubaldo Jimenez – RHP – The tall former Rockies and Indians pitcher is the biggest free agent signing by the Orioles in recent years – 4 years at $50 million. His second-half statistics last year were fabulous, as they have been at other times of his career … though there have been extended times of less stellar performance. He has been a resilient innings-eater and consistent starter every fifth day, even with a propensity for high pitch counts due to many strikeouts and walks.
Evan Meek – RHP – At age 30, Meek spent last year with the Rangers’ AAA affiliate, posting a 4.50 with a 6-9 record. He was a reliever for the Pirates from 2008-12 with a 3.34 ERA in 156 appearances.
Eduardo Rodriguez – LHP – A top prospect who will turn age 21 in April. Between Frederick and Bowie he was 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA. He threw 125 innings with a .241 average against. Pitched well also in the Arizona Fall League.
Josh Stinson – RHP – Out of options, and having pitched well for the Birds at the end of the season during a stint with the team, Stinson may well break camp with the Orioles. He pitched in 11 games and had a .169 BA against, with an ERA of 3.18 … but gave up four homers.
Suk-min Yoon – RHP – One of the best pitchers in recent year in Korea, he was signed to a three-year deal. Though he had injury issues last year, these are believed to be gone. He has experience both as a starter and a closer. He could be optioned to AAA to start the season.
Ryan Webb – RHP – Webb should be a great pickup as a free agent. He had good success for the Florida Marlins, posting a 2.91 ERA with 70 hits in 80 innings of relief. Throws a heavy sinker. Can anyone say “Closer?”
Mike Wright – RHP – A legit O’s prospect who sometimes gets left out of conversations that feature more famous minor league names. He was 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA at AA Bowie.
New players or those who are not as well-known (though a couple have had short stints with the O’s):
Michael Almanzar – IF – At age 23, he is the Rule 5 draftee from the Red Sox organization, where he hit .268/.328/.432 last season at AA Portland. He’s a career .250/.302/.373 hitter in six minor league seasons. He would have to be on the Orioles 25-man roster for the season, or be offered back to the Red Sox.
Quintin Berry – OF – At age 29, Berry was a high school teammate of Adam Jones in San Diego. He’s a career .268/.339/.371 hitter in 107 games over parts of two major league seasons with the Tigers and Red Sox. Berry is 29-for-29 in stolen base attempts, including the playoffs. He can play all three OF positions.
Julio Borbon – OF – A minor league phase Rule 5 draftee, he is a career .272 hitter in parts of four major league seasons, and he played for the Rangers in the 2010 World Series.
Steve Clevenger – C – A local Baltimore product, Clevenger came to the Orioles in the trade with the Cubs for Feldman. He is presumed to be the most likely backup catcher choice. He was 4-for-15 with a double in four games with the Orioles.
Ivan De Jesus Jr. – IF – A second-round pick by the Dodgers in 2005, he batted .319 with 27 doubles, three triples, three homers and 32 RBIs in 103 games with Triple-A Indianapolis of the Pirates organization. De Jesus appeared in 48 major league games with the Dodgers and Red Sox during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, batting .205.
Alex Gonzalez – IF – Gonzalez, age 37, batted .177 in 41 games with the Brewers in 2013. He’s a career .246/.290/.396 hitter in 15 major league seasons, the first eight with the Marlins.
Caleb Joseph – C – He had a very good year at AA Bowie – hitting .299 with 31 doubles, two triples, 22 homers and 97 RBIs. It seems that his defense keeps him from advancing in the system.
David Lough – OF – Lough came to the Orioles in a trade for Danny Valencia. He is the presumptive top choice for the most games in LF. He excels on defense, though he hit .286 for KC this past season. The 28-year-old bats from the left side.
Chris Marrero – IF – Age 25, Marrero was the 15th overall pick of the Nationals in the 2006 draft. He has played in 39 MLB games and hit .232. In 2013, he hit .270/.331/.402 with 17 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs and 59 RBIs in 111 games at Triple-A Syracuse. Over eight minor league seasons he has hit .282.
Johnny Monell – C – Monell came from the Giants for cash considerations. Age 27, he a career .267/.351/.456 hitter in seven minor league seasons in the Giants organization. He is only 1-8 in the majors.
Michael Ohlman – C – Ohlman, 23, spent the 2013 season at Frederick and was named the Topps Player of the Year in the Carolina League after batting .313 with 29 doubles, four triples, 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 100 games.
Xavier Paul – OF – The Reds non-tendered Paul, age 28, a career .254/.316/.376 hitter in parts of five major league seasons with the Dodgers, Pirates and Reds. In 2013 he hit .244 with 12 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBIs in 97 games with the Reds. He hits much better against RH pitching.
Francisco Peguero – OF – Peguero, 25, in 2013 batted .316/.354/.408 in 70 games with Triple-A Fresno. He also appeared in 18 games with the Giants, going 6-for-29, but SF non-tendered him. A frequently-mentioned top prospect, he has a career .306 average over eight minor league seasons.
Cord Phelps – IF – Phelps, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Indians … appeared in 53 games for Cleveland over the last three seasons, batting .159. His minor league numbers are decent … has a career .370 on-base percentage in 582 minor league games. But it hasn’t carried over to the majors.
Jonathan Schoop – IF – Considered by most to be the future 2B of the Orioles, Schoop will probably get to experience 2014 in Norfolk to gain necessary experience and skills.
Brian Ward – C – Ward is a 28-year-old catcher who has been in the Orioles farm system since 2009. He has a career batting average of only .236, but has an OBP of .338.
Jemile Weeks – IF – At age 27, was the main component in the Jim Johnson trade… drafted by the A’s in the 1st round in 2008 as the 12th overall pick. Weeks spent most of 2013 at AAA Sacramento of the PCL – with a .271 batting average and OBP of .376. He batted .303 for the A’s in 2011, and the O’s hope to see that guy return.
Delmon Young – OF – Young, 28, was the first overall pick by the Rays in 2003 and is a career .282/.316/.423 hitter with 100 home runs in parts of eight major league seasons. He split last season between the Phillies and Rays, batting .260/.307/.407 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs in 103 games.
Players discarded this spring for one reason or another …..
Liam Hendriks – RHP – This Australian, who will be age 25, was claimed off waivers from the Cubs, who did the same from the Twins. He has pitched in 30 games with a MLB record of 2-13 and ERA of 6.06. However, his AAA stats are great – looking like a guy ready for the next step. (He was DFA-ed and picked up off waivers by the Blue Jays)
Chris Jones – LHP – He pitched 70 innings of relief at AAA Norfolk with a 2.67 ERA. (Released 2/28)