Tag Archive | "dariel alvarez"

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After missing out on Upton, Orioles welcome Kim back to lineup

Posted on 26 July 2016 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After learning earlier in the day that veteran outfielder and trade target Melvin Upton was instead going to Toronto, the Orioles thankfully welcomed back Hyun Soo Kim on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Korean outfielder was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and was back in the starting lineup for the first time since straining his hamstring on July 10, the final game before the All-Star break. Kim was batting second and playing in left field for the second game of an interleague set with the Colorado Rockies.

With reserve outfielder Joey Rickard out with a thumb injury until September, the Orioles were attempting to acquire Upton in exchange for struggling right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez and a prospect or two. However, the sides could not finalize the financial realities of a deal — with one report saying owner Peter Angelos changed an agreement — as Jimenez is still owed just over $18 million through next season and Upton will make roughly $22 million through 2017.

It would have been interesting to see how manager Buck Showalter would have used both Upton and Kim in the outfield. Upton plays better defense and hits more home runs, but Kim’s .410 on-base percentage dwarfs the veteran’s .304 mark and his skill set complements the rest of a homer-driven lineup nicely.

The optimal solution would have been a platoon with Kim playing against right-handed starters and Upton starting against lefties, but might the Orioles have been tempted to overlook the latter’s inferior hitting profile to utilize his speed and defense?

Coincidental or not, the Orioles enjoyed their best offensive month of the season (6.6 runs per game) in June when Kim became a regular against right-hand starters. In contrast, Baltimore has averaged just 2.9 runs per game in Kim’s absence since the All-Star break.

To make room for Kim and right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez — who was reinstated from the paternity leave list — the Orioles designated outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment after optioning outfielder Dariel Alvarez to Triple-A Norfolk late Monday night. This means the Orioles entered Tuesday night’s game with 13 pitchers and 12 position players on the roster.

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2016 Orioles preview: Dariel Alvarez

Posted on 09 March 2016 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than a month away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2016 Orioles every day as they try to return to the playoffs for the third time in five years this season.

March 1 – Adam Jones
March 2 – Chris Tillman
March 3 – Jonathan Schoop
March 4 – Brad Brach
March 5 – Nolan Reimold
March 6 – Yovani Gallardo
March 7 – Matt Wieters
March 8 – T.J. McFarland

OF Dariel Alvarez

Age: 27

Contract status: Under contract at least through the 2021 season

2015 stats: .241/.290/.379, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R, 0 SB, 31 PA

Why to be impressed: The Cuban outfielder may have the best throwing arm in the organization and recorded 10 assists for Triple-A Norfolk in 2015. Alvarez posted a .792 on-base plus slugging percentage against left-handed pitching for the Tides last year, making him a potential platoon partner in the Orioles outfield at some point this season.

Why to be concerned: A .729 OPS in the International League in 2015 doesn’t exactly scream that Alvarez is ready for an extended stay in the majors, and manager Buck Showalter offered him just 31 plate appearances when he was promoted to the big leagues in late August. Rapidly approaching a non-prospect age, Alvarez is another hitter in the Orioles system incapable of drawing walks.

2016 outlook: After Alvarez posted impressive numbers at Double-A Bowie in 2014, it was disappointing to see last season’s drop-off and you now wonder if he’ll be anything more than a bench player. The likelihood of Mark Trumbo being the everyday right fielder now makes it very likely that Alvarez will begin the year in Norfolk, barring injuries.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: .245/.280/.380, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 13 R, 1 SB, 115 PA

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Orioles can’t afford to experience déjà vu in outfield

Posted on 27 January 2016 by Luke Jones

The surprise expressed by some over L.J. Hoes being designated for assignment on Tuesday says all you need to know about the current state of the Orioles outfield.

Dan Duquette still has work to do with spring training only a few weeks away.

Any notion that Hoes — a former third-round pick who has yet to establish himself as a bona fide major leaguer — was even a sleeper candidate to start in right field reflects how little quality depth the Orioles have at the corner outfield spots. The acquisition of Efren Navarro from the Los Angeles Angels doesn’t change that reality, either.

The Orioles cannot afford a repeat of last year at the positions flanking five-time All-Star center fielder Adam Jones. In 2015, Baltimore left fielders combined to hit .210 with a .640 on-base plus slugging percentage and were worth minus-0.7 wins above replacement. Right field was better at 2.0 wins above replacement, but nearly half of that value stemmed from the 29 starts Chris Davis made at the position.

If the season were to begin today, Korean newcomer Hyun Soo Kim would likely be the starting left fielder with Nolan Reimold trotting out to right field. That combination doesn’t inspire confidence in an otherwise-strong lineup.

To be fair, the Orioles have spent gobs of money this offseason re-signing Davis and Darren O’Day to long-term deals, inking Matt Wieters to a $15.8 million qualifying offer, and acquiring slugger Mark Trumbo and his $9.15 million salary for 2016. The Kim signing at $7 million over two years could pay major dividends, but you’d prefer a relative unknown who was playing in the Korean Baseball Organization a year ago to be slated as the No. 4 outfielder to start a season for a contending club.

The 32-year-old Reimold managed to stay healthy last year, but a .247 average with a .738 OPS in 195 plate appearances doesn’t scream starting right fielder. The club’s other options don’t carry great appeal, either.

Rule 5 selection Joey Rickard, 24, hit a combined .321 at three levels in the Tampa Bay system last season, but why did the Rays — a club always needing cheap talent — leave him off their 40-man roster? At the very least, he’ll be a name of interest to watch during spring training.

Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez was promoted to the big leagues in late August, but he’s 27 and received a meager 31 plate appearances with the Orioles, making you wonder whether manager Buck Showalter has much confidence in him. He has an exceptional throwing arm, but a .305 on-base percentage at Triple-A Norfolk in 2015 isn’t what you’re looking for.

Henry Urrutia provided one of the feel-good moments of the 2015 season with his walk-off home run against the New York Mets in August, but the 28-year-old struggles to pull the ball and isn’t a graceful fielder despite some improvement over the last couple years. He was optioned back to the minors just before September call-ups and wasn’t summoned to Baltimore again.

The Orioles could always turn to Trumbo at a corner outfield spot, but the fielding metrics suggest first base as his only suitable position without compromising the overall defense. Showalter has already indicated that he’ll serve as Baltimore’s primary designated hitter with Davis back in the fold.

And there’s always Jimmy Paredes, who played right field regularly in winter ball this offseason in hopes of finding a defensive position he can handle. But the bigger problem could be Paredes’ .517 OPS in the second half of 2015 after he posted an .807 mark before the All-Star break.

This group sounds a lot like last year’s flawed collection that included Alejandro De Aza, Travis Snider, Delmon Young, Steve Pearce, and David Lough. If we’re being honest, it looks even worse on paper than that group did at this point last year.

Wednesday’s report indicating that the Orioles still had a five-year offer on the table for Yoenis Cespedes even after re-signing Davis to a $161 million contract creates hope that Duquette will still make an impact addition to the outfield. A couple attractive options still remain on the free-agent market.

His signing would require the Orioles to surrender their first-round pick in this year’s draft, but Dexter Fowler holds a sparkling .363 on-base percentage in his career. His speed would also be a nice addition, and he could probably make a positive transition to a corner outfield spot after less-than-impressive defensive metrics in center over the last few seasons.

Austin Jackson is coming off consecutive years with an OPS below .700, but he’s only 29, is still a solid defender, and performed fairly well before being traded in the midst of each of the last two seasons. Perhaps some stability would help get his career back on track, and he wouldn’t command a draft pick or — one would assume — a lucrative commitment to sign him.

There’s always the possibility of a trade, but the Orioles’ shortage of quality prospects has been discussed ad nauseam. We’ll believe it when we see it.

Other platoon types such as Will Venable, David Murphy, and Matt Joyce remain unsigned as well.

In a perfect world, fans would probably like to see the Orioles add two quality outfielders to the current mix, but the rest of the lineup is strong enough to carry a question mark at one of those corner positions as long as that individual plays good defense, which was another issue at those spots.

There’s still time, but the Orioles need to do whatever it takes to fight off that feeling of déjà vu in the outfield that plagued them throughout the 2015 season.

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Orioles promote Alvarez, option Urrutia to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Luke Jones

In the last days before September call-ups, the Orioles have promoted 26-year-old outfielder Dariel Alvarez from Triple-A Norfolk for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

To make room for Alvarez on the 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned outfielder Henry Urrutia to the Tides on Friday. With Texas sending three left-handed starters to the hill over the weekend, it made sense to add an extra right-handed bat to the 25-man roster prior to Sept. 1 and to recall Urrutia after rosters expand.

Considered one of the few positional talents in the higher levels of the Baltimore system, Alvarez was hitting .275 with 16 home runs, 72 RBIs, and a .729 on-base plus slugging percentage in 541 plate appearances for the Tides this season. The Cuban outfielder has the strongest throwing arm in the organization and was starting in right field and batting eighth in the series opener against the Rangers.

Alvarez ranked third in the International League in total bases, fourth in hits, and fifth in RBIs. He was also selected to this year’s Triple-A All-Star Game and won the Triple-A home run derby.

Opinions have varied on Alvarez’s ceiling as many members of the organization are high on his potential while some outside analysts view him as no better than a fourth outfielder for the long haul. Plate discipline has been a point of concern with the right-handed hitter as he’s walked just 16 times this season.

The Orioles also reinstated catcher Steve Clevenger from the paternity list to take the place of right-handed reliever Jorge Rondon, who was optioned to Norfolk on Thursday.

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Five questions pondering Hardy, Rice, Alvarez, Ravens franchise value

Posted on 24 July 2015 by Luke Jones

On Fridays, I’ll ponder five topics related to the Orioles or Ravens (or a mix of both).

Five questions …

1. Is it just me or should the Orioles be concerned about the remainder of J.J. Hardy’s contract? Baltimore’s announcement of a three-year, $40 million extension with the veteran shortstop on the eve of last fall’s American League Championship Series seemed like good news at the time, but it was fair to wonder if it was a sound investment in a middle infielder on the wrong side of 30 and wrapping up a season plagued by back issues that zapped his power. Hardy entered Friday’s game with a .345 slugging percentage, which would be the lowest of his career after he hit only nine homers and slugged .372 last season. To be fair, Hardy is hitting .263 with four homers and a .401 slugging percentage since June 9, but his lack of power is just one of many reasons the Orioles have struggled with offensive consistency all season and he’s still owed a total of $26.5 million in the next two seasons.

2. Is it just me or is it obvious why Ray Rice hasn’t gotten another shot in the NFL? The question really isn’t whether the former Ravens running back should get a second chance, but the fact that Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson have survived their own off-field transgressions would lead you to believe the 28-year-old is in line for an opportunity. Many — including myself — have discussed Rice’s poor 2013 season and his workload dating back to college as factors supporting the idea that his career might be decline, but it comes down to one factor and one factor alone — the surveillance video of him striking his wife being on display for the world at any moment. Photos and words describing an incident are heinous, but many have sadly become desensitized to those mediums. The video and its public release changed everything, however, as NFL owners have been unwilling to budge on Rice to this point.

3. Is it just me or is it difficult to explain the Orioles’ dramatic struggles on the road? There are a slew of reasons why the 2015 season has been disappointing, but one of the biggest mysteries is why the Orioles have been so poor away from Camden Yards. Baltimore’s 19-30 road record entering the weekend series at Tampa Bay was the worst in the American League while a 27-18 home mark is in line with the success of the last few years. Few would have predicted the Orioles repeating their excellent 46-35 road record from 2014, but even a record in the neighborhood of .500 away from home would have them within striking distance of the Yankees. Alas, a mark of a good club is being able to hold its own on the road and Buck Showalter hasn’t seen that from the Orioles in 2015. Plain and simple, you can’t expect to contend when you play like a 100-loss team on the road.

4. Is it just me or is it time to take a look at Dariel Alvarez and Christian Walker in Baltimore? Instead of more discussion about a crowded outfield of underwhelming veterans, the Orioles should be making room for the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder, who has 13 homers for Triple-A Norfolk and has rebounded nicely after hitting .238 over the first two months of his 2015 campaign. It remains to be seen whether Alvarez profiles as anything more than a reserve outfielder in the majors, but his rifle throwing arm and power are skills worth evaluating while the Orioles continue to receive so little from their current options. It could also be time to take a look at Walker instead of continuing to run Chris Parmelee out to first base and while contemplating a trade of Chris Davis. The 24-year-old got off to a terrible start, but Walker has heated up over the summer and has four homers in his last 10 games.

5. Is it just me or is it difficult to believe the Ravens are entering their 20th season? As the great John Eisenberg penned earlier this week, seeing Forbes magazine rank the Ravens as the 24th most valuable sports franchise in the world was a pleasant reminder of how far the city has come in football perception. It was just two decades ago that Baltimore kids only dreamed of having an NFL team while their parents and grandparents shared stories of Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, and Bert Jones. Not only have the Ravens been profitable, but they’ve been a model of consistency on the field with two Super Bowl titles, four AFC championship game appearances, four division titles, and 10 playoff appearances in the last 15 years. While many opine that NFL owners didn’t support the city’s bid for an expansion team in the 1990s because the package was so attractive to owners pondering relocation, the current franchise value only reiterates how wrong the league was in not giving the ball to Baltimore over other cities.

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Road improvement big part of Orioles turnaround

Posted on 23 June 2015 by Luke Jones

(Updated 10:25 p.m.)

Many reasons have been discussed for the Orioles’ June turnaround, but one of the biggest has been a revitalization away from Camden Yards.

Upon losing their fifth straight game and dropping their third in a row in Houston on June 3, the Orioles had not only fallen a season-low six games below .500 but sported an 8-17 record on the road, tied for the second-worst mark in the majors. A 3-2 victory over the Astros the following afternoon started a run of 14 wins in 18 games that continued with a 6-4 victory over Boston at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

Their current 15-20 road record is still no shining achievement, but the Orioles have won seven of their last 10 away from home including this past weekend’s important series win against Toronto at Rogers Centre, a place where they were swept in April.

The Orioles entered Tuesday tied with Kansas City for the second-best home record in the American League at 22-13, but continued improvement on the road will be critical to their ability to contend in the tight AL East. In running away with their first division title in 17 years last season, manager Buck Showalter’s club sported a 46-35 record on the road, which was tied for second in the AL.

You can simply look at the previous three seasons to see how critical road performance has been to the Orioles’ postseason aspirations. In making trips to the playoffs in 2012 and 2014, the Orioles sported matching 46-35 regular-season records away from Camden Yards. Two years ago, they finished a strong 46-35 at home, but an underwhelming 39-42 road record led to an 85-77 mark and third place in the AL East.

July will bring a major test to the Orioles’ mettle as they’ll play 15 of 22 games on the road.

Pondering Schoop and Flaherty

After beginning his rehab assignment going 1-for-11 in his first three games for Double-A Bowie, second baseman Jonathan Schoop exploded Monday night with a home run and two doubles.

The Orioles have made sure that Schoop has taken his time in rehabbing a right knee injury suffered in mid-April, but the 23-year-old’s return and potential will be welcomed at the bottom of the lineup. What this means for Ryan Flaherty remains to be seen, however, as he had a very solid .744 on-base plus slugging percentage entering Tuesday.

Schoop clearly possesses more upside, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Showalter continue to give the 28-year-old Flaherty some playing time as he can spell the young second baseman as well as veteran shortstop J.J. Hardy to keep them fresh. With Hardy’s well-documented back issues and Schoop’s knee, Flaherty should continue to receive at least two or three starts per week.

And he deserves it with his improvement at the plate this season.

Another outfield option on the horizon?

As the Orioles ponder how to figure out a crowded outfield picture, another potential option at Triple-A Norfolk has begun emerging recently.

Dariel Alvarez has been on the organization’s radar for quite some time, but the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder has collected multiple hits in 11 of his last 14 games entering Tuesday. Over that time, the right-hander is batting .410 with four home runs, five doubles, and 12 RBIs over 61 at-bats.

A call-up probably isn’t imminent with the 25-man roster already too crowded, but Alvarez possesses an electric throwing arm and has improved his average to .282 with 11 homers, 38 RBIs, and a .761 OPS. If he continues his recent trend at the plate, the Orioles will certainly be tempted to take a look at him in the second half of the season.

All-Star Game voting fix

Much has been said — including from this writer — about the All-Star Game voting that currently features seven Kansas City Royals in line to start for the AL, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark pointed out one of the biggest — and easily correctable — problems with the system.

A simple visit to the voting website illustrates how one can mindlessly vote for every player on their favorite club by simply clicking the team’s logo at the top of the page. If you give people an excuse to be lazy, many will take the bait to save even a minute or two of time.

To be clear, the Royals, Orioles, or any major league team can campaign for their players to be All-Star selections as much as they’d like, but can we at least make homers hellbent on only voting for their own players — in Kansas City or anywhere — to put in some effort by voting manually for each position?

At the very least, this would force fans to look at other names in the process, which isn’t too much to ask if we’re going to let them vote for the players participating in a contest that determines home-field advantage in the World Series.

 

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Harvey, Alvarez headline list of invitees to Orioles spring training

Posted on 10 February 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles released their 2015 spring training roster on Tuesday with a group of 15 non-roster invitees headlined by pitching prospect Hunter Harvey and Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez.

Harvey, the club’s first-round pick of the 2013 draft, received a clean bill of health early in the offseason after his first full professional season was cut short by a flexor mass strain in late July. He went 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 87 2/3 innings for Single-A Delmarva last season.

Alvarez, 26, has been hyped by members of the organization this offseason in regards to his tremendous throwing arm in the outfield as well as the ability he showed at the plate last year. In 564 plate appearances split between Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie, Alvarez batted .306 with 55 extra-base hits.

Other familiar names among the non-roster invitees include the 40-year-old lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson, former Toronto and Texas catcher J.P. Arencibia, and outfielder Nolan Reimold, whose minor-league deal was officially announced Monday. Baltimore native and St. Paul’s product Steve Johnson was also invited to spring training after the 27-year-old right-hander re-signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles last month.

Notable absences from the group of non-roster invitees include pitcher Suk-min Yoon and outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who advanced all the way to Double-A Bowie last season. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Sarasota last month that Yoon would not be invited to big-league camp.

On a personal note, it’s impossible not to think of this movie clip when the list of non-roster invitees is released every winter:

With first baseman Chris Davis allowed to play in spring contests despite having one game remaining on his 25-game ban for Adderall use, the Orioles are technically carrying 41 players on their 40-man roster this spring.

Pitcher and catchers will report to Sarasota on Feb. 19 while full-squad workouts begin on Feb. 25.

Below is the entire 2015 spring training roster:

40-MAN ROSTER

PITCHERS (22)
73 Tim Berry (L)
35 Brad Brach
53 Zach Britton (L)
49 Dylan Bundy
16 Wei-Yin Chen (L)
71 Oliver Drake
68 Eddie Gamboa
61 Jason Garcia (Rule 5 selection)
39 Kevin Gausman
50 Miguel Gonzalez
29 Tommy Hunter
31 Ubaldo Jimenez
17 Brian Matusz (L)
66 T.J. McFarland (L)
25 Bud Norris
56 Darren O’Day
30 Chris Tillman
64 Logan Verrett (Rule 5 selection)
58 Ryan Webb
63 Tyler Wilson
59 Mike Wright
40 Wesley Wright (L)

CATCHERS (3)
45 Steve Clevenger
36 Caleb Joseph
32 Matt Wieters

INFIELDERS (7+1)
19 Chris Davis (does not count toward 40-man limit)
3 Ryan Flaherty
2 J.J. Hardy
13 Manny Machado
43 Rey Navarro
38 Jimmy Paredes
6 Jonathan Schoop
18 Christian Walker

OUTFIELDERS (8)
12 Alejandro De Aza
57 Alex Hassan
10 Adam Jones
9 David Lough
28 Steve Pearce
23 Travis Snider
51 Henry Urrutia
27 Delmon Young

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

PITCHERS (6)
70 Dane De La Rosa
62 Hunter Harvey
34 Mark Hendrickson (L)
52 Steve Johnson
75 Chris Jones (L)
65 Chaz Roe

CATCHERS (3)
15 J.P. Arencibia
60 Ryan Lavarnway
74 Brian Ward

INFIELDERS (3)
67 Michael Almanzar
1 Paul Janish
41 Chris Parmelee

OUTFIELDERS (3)
79 Dariel Alvarez
14 Nolan Reimold
48 Matt Tuiasosopo

 

MANAGER/COACHES
26 Buck Showalter (manager)
54 Dom Chiti (bullpen)
47 Scott Coolbaugh (hitting)
55 Einar Diaz (assistant hitting)
11 Bobby Dickerson (third-base coach)
24 Wayne Kirby (first-base coach)
77 John Russell (bench)
37 Dave Wallace (pitching)

ADDITIONAL SPRING STAFF
9 Brady Anderson
72 Rudy Arias
85 Sean Berry
14 Mike Bordick
88 Kevin Bradshaw
83 Scott Beerer
76 Brian Graham
91 Mike Griffin
81 Jose Hernandez
89 Miguel Jabalera
86 Ron Johnson
78 Gary Kendall
80 Jeff Manto
16 Scott McGregor
84 Alan Mills
87 Rick Peterson
82 Jett Ruiz
17 B.J. Surhoff
90 Don Werner

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Who will be the Orioles’ breakout performer in 2015?

Posted on 05 February 2015 by Luke Jones

With Orioles closer Zach Britton agreeing to a $3.2 million contract on Wednesday, it was a reminder of just how far the left-hander has come over the last 12 months.

The sinkerballer entered last year’s spring training out of minor-league options and not even assured of a roster spot, but the 27-year-old instead emerged to become one of the best closers in the American League. Britton wasn’t the only breakout performer for the 2014 AL East champions as journeyman Steve Pearce hit 21 home runs and posted a hefty .930 on-base plus slugging percentage, but the Orioles will be looking for at least one or two players to emerge unexpectedly if they’re to advance to the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Who will be a breakout performer for the Orioles in 2015? (choose up to two)

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With that in mind, below are six candidates who could fit that description of “breakout performer” in 2015:

RHP Kevin Gausman
Skinny: The 24-year-old did a fine job establishing himself as a legitimate major league starter last year by going 7-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 20 starts, but executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is predicting Gausman to take a major leap in 2015, which would have him vying for the top spot in the rotation along with Chris Tillman. The 2012 first-round pick’s high-90s fastball and split-fingered changeup are nasty pitches, but further developing his circle change or slider would make the 6-foot-3 right-hander downright scary. After pitching 166 2/3 innings including the minors and the postseason last year, Gausman could still face a slight issue with an innings limit, but that would mean he’s having great success in the rotation.

2B Jonathan Schoop
Skinny: The Curacao native played Gold Glove-caliber defense as a rookie, which is why he stayed in the lineup despite a .209 average and a .598 on-base plus slugging percentage. Schoop showed promising power with his 16 home runs, but his plate discipline (13 walks in 481 plate appearances) must improve to make him a more dangerous offensive option. Considering he had only 270 at-bats at Triple-A Norfolk in 2013, Schoop’s offensive struggles weren’t surprising, but his .191 average in the second half was lower than his .221 mark in the first half. Beyond the natural progression of a young player, the Orioles hope his .749 OPS in August and improved patience in the playoffs (three walks in 24 plate appearances) were signs of better things to come.

OF Travis Snider
Skinny: The Orioles didn’t give up much for the 27-year-old outfielder, but they hope his strong second half for Pittsburgh in 2014 is evidence that things have finally clicked for the 2006 first-round selection after years of disappointment. Considered a solid fielder, Snider hit .288 with nine home runs and posted an .880 OPS in 188 plate appearances in the second half to help the Pirates to a postseason appearance. A left-handed hitter with power potential profiles well playing his home game at Camden Yards, and it appears likely that manager Buck Showalter will give Snider every opportunity to win the starting right field job. If the 2014 version of Snider comes to Baltimore, it would go a long way in easing the pain from the departure of Nick Markakis.

OF David Lough
Skinny: Many wrote off the speedy outfielder after he hit only .159 in the first two months of 2014, but Lough quietly batted .337 over his final 99 plate appearances, which obviously came sparingly over the final four months. The 29-year-old will be right in the mix with the likes of Snider, Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce, and Delmon Young for a corner outfield job this spring, and his speed gives an added dimension that the roster sorely lacks. No one questions his ability in the field as he was regularly a late-inning defensive replacement last year and manager Buck Showalter places a high premium on defense, giving Lough an edge over his competitors if he can prove his strong second half at the plate was a sign of his true ability and not just an aberration.

OF Dariel Alvarez
Skinny: The 26-year-old Cuban native has been discussed a great deal by the Orioles this offseason as the organization raves about his strong throwing arm in the outfield. He walked only 21 times in 564 plate appearances split between Double-A Bowie and Norfolk, but Alvarez showed good power with his 55 extra-base hits in the process of being named to the 2014 MLB Futures Game. Outsiders aren’t as high on Alvarez as a major league prospect as the organization is — his advanced age is a factor — so it will be interesting to see how quickly he might receive an opportunity in the majors should the projected cast of corner outfielders fail to get the job done.

RHP Mike Wright
Skinny: The 6-foot-6 right-hander is all but certain to begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk, but Wright has been regularly mentioned by Showalter over the last year or two as a pitching prospect to watch. The 2011 third-round pick struggled at Norfolk for much of last season until his final seven starts when he posted a 0.95 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. Wright possesses a low-90s sinker along with a solid slider and a changeup, a repertoire that makes him a fringe starting candidate who is probably better suited to pitch out of the bullpen in the majors. The Orioles wouldn’t appear to have a relief role for him going into the season, but he’s a darkhorse candidate to get the call should the 25-man roster suffer injuries in the rotation or the bullpen in 2015.

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Orioles prospect Harvey tosses scoreless frame to help US win Futures Game

Posted on 14 July 2014 by WNST Staff

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer

Joey Gallo let loose his powerful left-handed swing on a too-good-to-pass-up pitch over the plate, producing a soaring two-run homer to give his team the lead for good.

The real damage was done during batting practice, though, before the All-Star Futures game. One of Gallo’s head-turning drives in warmups whacked the top of the windshield of a promotional pickup truck parked on the concourse beyond right field.

The glass was shattered.

Soon, if Gallo continues his trajectory toward the Texas Rangers, the 20-year-old third baseman will be able to make his mark on the majors.

Gallo was picked as the MVP of the annual showcase for baseball’s best minor leaguers, for his long ball in the sixth inning that sent the U.S. team to a 3-2 victory over the World squad on Sunday afternoon.

“This one’s definitely the most memorable,” said Gallo, the assumed successor for four-time All-Star Adrian Beltre with the Rangers.

Gallo, currently with Double-A Frisco, has 31 homers and 73 RBIs this season in 85 games. This one-out drive on a 2-0 pitch from Houston Astros right-hander Michael Feliz was estimated at 419 feet.

“Good pitch for him. This guy has really good power,” Feliz said.

That was evident before the game. Gallo, who grew up in Las Vegas, had his parents here to watch. His mother even sent him a picture, with her posing next to the damaged vehicle. He got an even better message after hitting the real home run, from offseason workout partner Troy Tulowitzki, the captain of the National League team in the home run derby Monday night.

“He was telling me I should hit for him,” Gallo said. “I was like, ‘Aw, I wish I could, man. That’d be a lot of fun.’ Obviously I can’t do that.”

Someday.

Gallo followed a two-run homer in the top of the sixth by Javier Baez against Washington Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito.

With so many bad teams in recent seasons, the Chicago Cubs have been collecting a tantalizing bunch of potential stars, with Baez and Kris Bryant at the top of the list. Baez, the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft, and Bryant, the second selection in 2013, comprise the left side of the infield for Triple-A affiliate Iowa.

So when Baez rounded the bases, he jogged past his buddy Bryant.

“I just said, ‘You’ve got to save those for the season,'” Bryant said.

Baez pointed at his family members, seated near third base, as he headed for home.

“I feel good that I showed what I can do,” he said.

Bryant went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts while playing third base for the U.S team, which has won five straight Futures games and raised its record to 10-6 since the exhibition began in 1999.

Until the Baez-Gallo home run derby that broke out in the sixth, this was much more of a showcase of pitching prospects, mirroring the major league trend toward more dominance on the mound and shrinking slugging percentages.

The first five U.S. pitchers tossed scoreless innings, starting with Henry Owens, the Double-A lefty for the Boston Red Sox.

Minnesota Twins right-hander Alex Meyer, who could soon be pitching on the same mound for the big league team, needed only four pitches for the fourth. His fastball reached 97 mph.

Meyer, acquired from the Nationals in a trade for center fielder Denard Span, has 103 strikeouts in 89-plus innings for Triple-A Rochester.

World team starter Jose Berrios, another Twins prospect, taken with the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, struck out center fielder Michael Taylor of the Nationals to start the game and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

Julio Urias, a native of Sinaloa, Mexico, currently at Class A Rancho Cucamonga for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was the youngest player on display at age 17. He struck out Taylor with a 94 mph fastball in a perfect fifth inning.

New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who started the game last year at his future home, Citi Field, got the save.

Twins fans in attendance also had World team first baseman Kennys Vargas to cheer, the David Ortiz clone who hit a double in four at-bats in the cleanup spot.

The U.S. team was supervised by former Twins manager Tom Kelly, currently a special instructor for the organization. Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, who played for Kelly on the 1987 World Series-winning club, managed the World team.

In an ode to his Dutch heritage and class-clown personality, Blyleven presented the lineups before the game while wearing an oversized pair of yellow wooden shoes.

(Former Orioles first round pick Hunter Harvey struck out two batters while allowing a walk and a hit in a scoreless fourth inning for the U.S. side. Bowie Baysox OF Dariel Alvarez went 0-2 for the World team.)

 

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Bundy, E. Rodriguez headline Orioles minor league recap – 7/4

Posted on 04 July 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Friday…

-Catcher Steve Clevenger continued to swing a hot bat for the AAA Norfolk Tides. The Pigtown native went 2-4 with a home run and a double while adding two RBI and two runs scores to lift the Tides to a 7-2 win over Charlotte. Steve Lombardozzi went 2-5 with a double and three RBI while Buck Britton went 4-5 with a double, RBI and run scored.

-Already on his way to representing the O’s in this year’s All-Star Futures Game, Bowie Baysox OF Dariel Alvarez added to his totals Friday night. The centerfielder went 2-4 with a home run, four RBI and a walk in a 5-2 win for the AA Bowie Baysox over Akron. Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez did not factor in the decision after allowing just one earned run (five hits, two walks, seven strikeouts) over six innings.

-Former first round pick Dylan Bundy continued his rehab from Tommy John surgery by making his first start for the high Single A Frederick Keys. Bundy did not factor in the decision, allowing three earned runs (four hits, two walks, three strikeouts) over just 4.2 innings in a 8-4 loss at Lynchburg.

-Designated Hitter Chance Sisco continued a big season at the plate, going 3-5 with a home run, four RBI and three runs scored as the Single A Delmarva Shorebirds crushed Lakewood 17-5. Sisco is now hitting .338/.405/.462 with four homers, 17 doubles and 39 RBI in 63 games this season.

-Mets pitcher Dillon Gee’s rehab assignment was spoiled by the rookie level Single A Aberdeen Ironbirds, who picked up a 3-2 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones. It was only the third win of the season for the Ironbirds, who were struck out 10 times by the fifth year MLB starter over six innings.

-Baltimore native Steve Johnson is scheduled to pitch two innings for the Gulf Coast League Orioles team Sunday on a rehab assignment, according to multiple reports.

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