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Eric-OH

Intro/2019 GCL Observations

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Welcome aboard!  I enjoyed your introductory post very much. Looking forward to more.

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26 minutes ago, Tony-OH said:

Please welcome Eric to the site folks. Eric is a former WBAL sports producer who has also worked for the Sporting News. He'll be giving us lots of information this spring from the major and minor league camps and then will give us our first looks at many of the new GCL players this year.

We're glad to have Eric join our team.

 Tony, I’m very glad you were able to add somebody to the staff. You put a lot of effort into this site, and you should be rewarded with skilled assistance and public accolade. By the way, I’m also a former army guy, although nobody ever shot at me, God be praised. I’d be really interested in knowing a little bit more about your army experience? 

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15 hours ago, Eric-OH said:

Hello O’s fans and readers my name is Eric Garfield, I live in Sarasota and I’m going to be covering the team down here and reporting what I see.  When Spring Training kicks off, I’ll be at the stadium/games every day and when it’s done I’ll be your eyes at Minor League Spring Training and then the GCL as the season goes on.  Quite a privilege for any O’s fan!

Last year I watched the GCL very closely (every home game) and keeping things in perspective as far as age relative to league and the both the organization’s rankings and the low percentage that make the bigs out of a league this far down, it was a great season to watch.  They played well, won the league and some skills were shown that I took note of.  I have read the posts concerning the GCL and hope that some questions are answered or addressed here.  The stats and sample sizes don’t tell the whole story, and I learned that by watching.  Overall I’d say that O’s fans have a better mix of talent than they’re used to churning down in the low minors.

This first post is looking a bit at some names that aren’t widely discussed and why they stood out to me.

Nick Roth-RHP mostly reliever but made 2 starts.  I liked him better as a reliever and he was used as the team’s closer down the stretch before going north to Aberdeen.  What I saw was a righty who keeps the ball way down and doesn’t give righties a chance to square him up and held them to .200 in 11IP.  He was 3-3 in saves, including the league clinched and as a reliever had 20K/13.2 IP.  Also had one only walk in the GCL and it was a close call.  His control is his calling card in my opinion.  He’s 22, not young for this level but it’s hard to get off to a more impressive start and he did his job while on the mound.

Darrell Hernaiz-SS/2B It’s not hard to squint and see big things from this guy as he knows how to carry himself on a baseball field and perform both at the plate and I the field.  His best skill is by far his hand speed ands I saw several flips that he made turn into beautiful double plays.  Also, he has that knack for letting the ball get in on him that last extra second before starting his swing because of that hand trust.  The sample size is obviously small and he’s still 17 years old(!) until early August, but he’s motivated to prove he was a draft day steal in the 5th round.

I’d say that his ability to drive the ball is behind his contact tool, as only one of his two home runs cleared he fence.  But you can see that when he connects he can put a charge into the back of the power alleys at age 17 so not too bad.

Christopher Burgess-Catcher This one will require a little bit more squinting but I would suggest you try.  Burgess is a well built guy with a catcher’s trunk which is appropriate because he was the foundation of this team.  He provided the clutch at bat when needed, slowed things down when pitchers got jittery and organized the infield time and time again showing full confidence from a guy with a few years (age 22) but no pro experience.  He made a strong impression on me with his leadership and the team needed it often, he was ready.  Also was a good at bat, ending the season at .286, .840OPS and a pair of homers, again only one clearing the left field wall.  For good measure he threw out 6 of 8 potential base stealers and made just 3 errors in 104 innings.  For an organization that has considerable depth at catcher, I would not forget about him.  Watch him play one time and you’ll like him too.

Moise Nolasco-RHP Nolasco has had periods of moderate success in the organization and I can see why.  He was the swing guy and has a very smooth, low effort delivery and release.  When he was on and throwing strikes, his innings were quick and efficient and he finished the year with a WHIP of 1.01 holding righties to a .226, but lefties to an even better .125.  His stuff floats lefties and has significant late tail.  A little consistency would provide a more solid picture but he played his role and got outs when needed.  This will be his fourth season in pro ball so maybe we’ll see a bit of a groove.

Mason Janvrin-This one’s easy.  As a leadoff hitter he used his speed to beat out several infield hits, grinding to get  to first and cause damage once there.  He hit.340, stole 14 bases in 15 chances, got on base at a .380 clip and took the fastest routes to fly balls in his zone.  Janvrin’s a fast player and can use his speed well.  He didn’t show that selective of an eye at the plate, and wants to get the game started swinging.  The kind of guy that runs to first hard after a walk (only 6 in 91 AB), I was not at all surprised when I got to Ed Smith Stadium and found out that he’d been called up.

There were lots of solid performances and with a team slightly older than league average that should be expected.  Several players started their climb up and finished the season at a higher level.  Before I close out I’ll share a few brief takes-

Trevor Putzig-this infielder showed a real knack for contact, good drive through the ball and a not too long swing that he had control of throughout the plane.  I don’t remember him having many bad at bats at all .  8 extra base hits, 1:1 BB to K rate and a .850 OPS is why he went up to Aberdeen

Lamar Sparks-Sparks is an outfielder who looks to be growing into a very strong frame.  He did not show consistency, but also didn’t start of see consistent playing time.  This is a guy who can go from first to third in 4-5  low effort strides and if he learned how to use that speed as an asset would be very dangerous on the bases.  In the outfield he finds the ball and can accelerate to it without shifting to a high gear.

The starting rotation-Truly the reason that this team played well and finished out a great season was the guys who started and gave them innings in the heat.  Jake Prizina, Jake Zebron, JJ Montgomery and Jensen Elliott made 27 starts, finished with 144 K’s and a 1.03 WHIP in their 141.2 collective innings.  It’ll be interesting to follow this group on the way up.  I saw them beat lots of good lineups, less than stellar umps and take some baby steps in their development.

 

Welcome to the site and I look forward to bumping in to you over the next few weeks!

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@Eric-OH

Im really happy to have someone at whom to direct questions because I have several.

can you explain the proper age range for a level? People talk about young or old for a given level and that’s clear but I don’t know the range.

none of these guys is on the top-30. Most are organizational guys but do any of them have a genuine chance for a cup of coffee or more?

Finally-for now, haha- what’s the best sign that a guy is about to get promoted?

thanks!

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3 minutes ago, Philip said:

@Eric-OH

Im really happy to have someone at whom to direct questions because I have several.

can you explain the proper age range for a level? People talk about young or old for a given level and that’s clear but I don’t know the range.

none of these guys is on the top-30. Most are organizational guys but do any of them have a genuine chance for a cup of coffee or more?

Finally-for now, haha- what’s the best sign that a guy is about to get promoted?

thanks!

I’m glad to help and do the looking for O’s fans down here in Sarasota.  I’ll take all the questions that fans like us can think of.

Firstly it’s important to realize that the administration is still new so some of the things we’ve been accustomed to are quite different.  I think that looking at age level you can take a look at levels of amateur experience first.  If a player has performed in college then they may not need as much rookie league seasoning after being drafted so start their career in short season A.  Maybe we’re talking about 21-22 years old here-post college. If less college experience and perhaps a younger age, then that’s what the rookie league is for.  Also, there are international players who have signed even younger (15,16,17) and their clock could be different.  The age of the GCL’s pitchers was older relative to their league so their solid performance was somewhat expected.  They averaged 22 years and others were in the 20 range.

As an aside, there were several Dominican Rookie League guys added to the GCL O’s in-season and none made an impact although Ricky Castro got some playing time and lead off ABs.

Regarding the players’ chances of making the bigs or closing in on it my thought is this.  If you look at the previous decade of O’s rookie league teams they’d have one or maybe two guys that stand out but really lots of players who did not maximize their pro opportunity.  The two who stand out are Schoop and Eduardo Rodríguez.  I think it’s reasonable to think that there will be years where there will be more and I was particularly impressed with this group.  That’s a very intelligent question and for me, the fun of baseball is in watching the answer happen.  Also, I mentioned the need to squint.  From the guys I mentioned, it would not shock me to see Nick Roth or Mason Janvrin use what they’ve got to move up and deserve some closer looks.

Finally, to speculate on a level jump or call-up is hard to do because so many people have some influence over the decision.  I’m thinking that this regime has only on-field performance and necessary experience as their valuations instead of arbitrary AB thresholds, service clock, expectations etc.  I’m hoping to learn a lot about Elias’ style and methods this season.

 

 

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I'm hoping Sparks, Hernaiz, and Henderson can all make the big jump to Delmarva.  Sparks has really lost about two years coming back from shoulder surgery.  

Manuel Daza, RHP, may not be much of a prospect but he got called up from the DSL and did a nice job in the GCL towards the end of the season.

 

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23 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

Hall could do it if he starts hitting for more power.

Hall could do what?

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3 minutes ago, RZNJ said:

Hall could do what?

Sorry, wrong thread.

Hall could make a top 100 list if he started hitting for more power.

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5 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

Sorry, wrong thread.

Hall could make a top 100 list if he started hitting for more power.

By the way, I don’t mind his name being DL now that the DL has become the IL...

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37 minutes ago, RZNJ said:

I'm hoping Sparks, Hernaiz, and Henderson can all make the big jump to Delmarva.  Sparks has really lost about two years coming back from shoulder surgery.  

Manuel Daza, RHP, may not be much of a prospect but he got called up from the DSL and did a nice job in the GCL towards the end of the season.

 

I remember Daza starting in the last week of the season.  It was a doubleheader and they clinched a tie with his win, he was low motion and in the middle of the plate.  There was no starter who came in and got lit up so he fit right in.

Sparks had a very confident air to him and the physical filling out will be key to his development.  He can be fast and quick, there aren’t many guys maximizing that skill in today’s game so who knows?  I’m hoping for the same things, but if I drafted the H&H brothers I’d be good with their start and optimistic about their baseball education going forward.  At this point we know that they we’re not overmatched at step 1 and responded positively to adversity at step 1.  

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