Well, that's why I said he's a hard guy to project, he really is. I mean who do you compare him to. He has Vidal Nuno stuff or worse, but he does a ton of crazy, deceptive things that make the stuff play up to the point where he hasn't been hittable at all in the minors, even being young for his level.
I try to be super realistic in my reports and not overplay someone's chances. I liked Cortes enough to rank him the top LHP available in the Rule 5 draft, and the second best SP option behind Burch Smith (who I really like and I think should do well for the Royals this year).
Cautiously optimistic is probably the right place to be on Cortes.
This is the report on him I did before the Orioles selected him in the Rule 5 draft. He was one of my top targets for the draft. Read at least the delivery section. Basically, he changes the way he delivers the ball from pitch to pitch more than anyone in the majors.
Let's pretend Nestor Cortes isn't a rule 5 pick for a second.
Ok, so in that case, the Orioles have a guy who...
Threw 63 innings of 2.26 ERA ball in 2015 as a 20yo in short season ball.
Threw 106 innings of 1.53 ERA ball in 2016 as a 21yo split between low A and A+ ball.
Threw 104 innings of 2.06 ERA ball in 2017 as a 22yo split between AA and AAA.
The Orioles didn't have one pitcher in AAA who was 22 years old for any of 2017.
He's struck out more than a batter per inning on average and his HR/9 innings pitched is a minuscule 0.38 in his last two seasons. (for comparison, the lowest in the majors in 2017 among pitchers with 100+ innings was 0.60)
If this guy had been acquired any other way, a lot of people would be excited about trying him in the rotation.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are reasons to question whether he'll be as successful as a major league player from a scouting perspective and he's hard to project because he's such a weird pitcher.
But the guy has done nothing except pitch exceptionally.