Michael Baumann, RHP
Simply put, being able to hit 95 mph day after day gets you a shot on a pro mound. “Big Mike” won’t tack too much more on to that, already being 6’4”, but if the 21-year-old can work on his secondary stuff, he can be great. The slider is his best breaking pitch, and he will likely be asked to scrap his curve to focus on getting maximum spin and velocity on it. While he would move through the farm to Baltimore quicker as a bullpen piece, he has the durability to stay as a starter, a piece the Orioles desperately need.
Major League Comp: Ross Stripling without the 12-6 curve? Jimmy Nelson without the sinker? Kyle Barraclough with durability? Brandon Maurer but not bad? That runs the gamut of bad to average pitchers, but with the Orioles pitching, he’ll see OPACY soon enough.
Juan Escarra, 3B
Look at the 2017 Baltimore Orioles and you see nothing but positionless power hitters, thrust into rolls unforeseen. Enter, Juan Escarra. Slugging .600 with 15 home runs in 53 games, he certainly fits the power hitter’s role. As a collegiate first baseman, he doesn’t own a ton of defensive prowess. That never stopped Dan Duquette from signing Chris Davis, Trey Mancini, Pedro Alvarez, and Mark Trumbo. Likely more random than anything else, Escarra was hit by more pitches last year (16) than he was walked (15). Just…weird, man.
Major League Comp: 2016 Brandon Guyer finished the year with 31 HBP and only 19 BB. They are near polar opposite players, Guyer and Escarra; I simply like fun facts. In all honesty, Escarra will be a stereotypical slugger. For the sake of writing, let’s say, Kendrys Morales.
Mason McCoy, INF
The 4-year college player split his time between Illinois Central College and University of Iowa and had an exciting development with the bat—with yearly OPS’ of 1.076, .943, .757, and .868. His junior year was mired in strikeouts, but he found his stroke again, cutting his K number in half as a senior. His four years on the base paths were just as erratic, ranging from 30 SB to only seven. The one number that makes McCoy interesting is his BABIP consistency a, finishing his collegiate career at .384. While he’s not ready right now, the gaping hole caused by JJ Hardy leaving soon is wide open. He’ll join Adrian Marin and Ryan Mountcastle in competition for that spot.
Major League Comp: Tim Beckham. The high BABIP, the defensive versatility and skill, and the sly base running make this a perfect pit. Considering Beckham was once the top pick in ’08, it seems like quite a reach, but like I said…I don’t get paid to scout.
If one of these players achieves the Major League future I’ve laid out for them, the Orioles did well. If a few get to these heights, we can say with confidence that Baltimore had one of its best drafts in recent history. That could turn around a flailing farm system in no time.
If the entirety of this list does what I say, move over Gary Rajsich: I’m taking control.