Young teenage third baseman Jomar Reyes has had two good seasons in the Baltimore Orioles minor leagues to begin his professional career.
It was exactly two years ago this weekend that we wrote in this blog about the signing of Reyes and another very young first baseman named Carlos Diaz. Reyes is from the Dominican Republic, while the one year older Diaz was from the Mexico City Red Devils. At the time, they were ages 16 and 17.
Each has been projected to be potential middle of the order power hitters. At the signing, Reyes was said to be 6-4, 230. Currently he lists on Baseball-Reference.com as 6-3, 220. Diaz is a big boy too, just a big shorter and stockier.
These signings were through Fred Ferreira, hired by Duquette to be the Executive Director of International Recruiting. Known as “The Shark of the Caribbean,” more than 60 of his international discoveries have made it to the big leagues. Along with the O’s Miguel Gonzalez, others from the past include Vladimir Guerrero, Bernie Williams, Roberto Kelly, Mike Pagliarulo, Armando Galarraga, Jose Vidro, and Wilson Valdez.
Jomar Reyes, who will only turn age 19 in three weeks, has had two good seasons at the Gulf Coast League and with the Delmarva Shorebirds. Currently, Reyes is ranked as the Orioles’ #4 prospect. And just this past week he placed as the #9 third base prospect in all of baseball by MLBPipeline.com. He was the only Orioles minor leaguer to be included in these positional lists. The only Orioles prospect to even make the MLB.COM top 100 list was Hunter Harvey at #85.
Diaz and Reyes presented, at the time of their signing two years ago, as extraordinarily interesting prospects that we committed to following in successive years. We acknowledged the hard truth that it is a very long journey from being a Latin teenager to making it as a middle of the order power bat in MLB. So this is our first update.
Reyes is very much on schedule. After hitting .285 in 53 games in the GCL summer of 2014, he batted .278 in 84 games for the Shorebirds this past summer, hitting five home runs. We can look for him to be playing at Frederick this coming season.
Diaz has had a more difficult experience. In 2014 he began in the Dominican Summer League with a .241 average in 50 games. This past year in the Gulf Coast League, he only hit .180 in 41 games. But again, remember, the Baja, Mexico native turned 19 the week before Christmas. He was the equivalent of a high school graduating senior this past season.
The compelling nature of a story like this is seen in a March 2014 spring training interview of Diaz by MASN’s Steve Melewski …
Diaz said, “There will be a lot of challenges. I left home for this dream. I am going to work hard, stay positive and follow what I am after.” He spoke with emotion when he talked about his family back home in Mexico and the support they have provided him to help him get to this point in his baseball career. “They are very excited because of all the sacrifices they went through to help me and get me what I need to play this game,” Diaz said. “Sometimes they had to sell stuff to buy me things or send me away for a baseball camp.
It is still a long, long way to Camden Yards, but there is a lot of time yet for these players to develop. And it should be interesting to watch over the coming years.