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Minor League Thought Of The Day 3/24-2019 DSL Hitters Ready To Make The Jump

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Sorry for the lag in days, coming up with topics is a different challenge but I do kind of look forward to it.  To that end, I’d like to welcome @cboemmeljrofficially to the Hangout and urge anyone who reads me to look at his stuff too, especially on he minors.  He cares and he gets deep.  He’s a team improving addition and would be even better if there were some games to look forward to.  I hope for our sake and everybody who follows, supports and covers the O’s we can look forward to that.  

Looking over some numbers, I remembered that an O’s team official had mentioned to me that late March was a target date for organizing players who had been in the Dominican Summer League last year of arrive stateside.  I think it was the 27th.  But it made me wonder who would or could form the framework of this year’s Gulf Coast League Orioles squad as he’d mentioned 20+ players will be making the milestone journey to the US.  I decided to look at some profiles for players who have shown something as far as development or stood out for one reason or another.

1B James Rolle-

At 6-4 230, he’s a pretty big lefty who had trouble with left handed pitching (3-18)but otherwise did ok with a .283 average/.341 on base in his debut.  He also had only 3 errors at 1st in 230 innings so that stood out to me.  Batting sixth and playing regularly he hit 5 home runs and struck out 36 times to mix with only 7 walks. Call it a .793 OPS over 113 ABs and that’s his start.  

SS Noelberth Romero-  

Romero came over in the Andrew Cashner deal and split his 2019 between the Red Sox organization where he played in 30 games and the Orioles, with 28. Overall he hit .273 with a .340 on base in 216 ABs adding in 18BB and 32k.  Also he went 4-6 in steals, interesting enough.  What stood out to me is that Romero is listed as a SS which would make sense given his lack of size (listed at 145), yet 47 of his 57 games and over 75% of his chances were at 3rd base. I wrote SS because that’s what the team’s site says.  Also 18 years old so consider me intrigued to see him get into Gulf League Games.

CF Kevin Infante-

At age 19, the Cuban outfielder had a very solid debut batting .298 over 225AB, mostly batting second.  Infante had 18 extra base hits, 11 steals, 22 RBI and 94 total bases as an everyday player.  On-base at .365 he could do even better if he switched some of his 40 strikeouts to walks, although he managed 18 of them too so he’s laid a nice foundation for GCL at bats.  Infante had only 2 errors in over 500 innings in the outfield with 7 assists and a range factor of 2.25.  

CF Stiven Acevedo

Acevedo is a 6-4 outfielder whose .250 debut batting average includes a .236 vs righties.  He scored 36 times in 61 games mostly batting second as a 17 year old so some leeway is expected due to youth.  11 extra base hits, 4 steals and a 55:24 K to walk ratio shows he’s not innover is head.  Let’s see how some better stuff in a better would affect him at the plate.  He made 7 errors in his 470 outfield innings, but had 9 assists and 3 double plays so he made a few guys pay for wanting an extra base. 

RF Isaac Bellony-

Bellony had 230 debut at bats mostly batting 3rd last season and batted .239.  The low average doesn’t paint the true picture however as he stole some bases (6-13), hit a few homers (6) and turned 21 XBH into a solid 42 RBI.  Bellony also walked 34 times so his 60 Ks hurt a bit less.  14 doubles, a triple and over 40 runs scored makes me think he’ll be part of an outfield I get to see in person.  Probably in right.

1B Josue Cruz-

Cruz is listed as a LF, but played 48 of 65 games at 1B last year so that’s my call.  It makes sense as he’s both tall and lefty, by the way 5 errors in 372 chances at first says he can stay there.  Cruz hit .260 with 10 HR batting 5th in the order so maybe he’ll stay there too and present a strong power foundation.  Against left handed pitching he had 9 walks, 12 strikeouts in 27 at bats and ended up .259 so looks like he’s bringing some good hitter qualities to the table.  Improvement from his debut to year 2, Cruz brings that too.  In 2018 he had 178 AB and finished with no HR, 7 XBH and 93K:13BB.  Last year he brought everything up significantly, finishing his 237 AB season with a .253 average, 11 HR, 29 XBH and 40 walks with his 94K.  Much better!  Let’s see him scooping throws over at first whenever baseball gets started again.  

LF Juan De La Rosa-

Debuted with the Mets in 2017 and has played outfield only, not center.  6-3, 207 lbs at age 21 so he’s  a veteran as far as experience, age and build compared to his league mates.  Improved his average each season; .250, .254, .284.  Improved steals each season as well; 2, 9, 15. His best season was last year where he turned 176 AB into 16XBH, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 36 Runs and .810 OPS.  Juan handled cleanup responsibilities well, batting .350 out of the 4 hole.  

SS Erinson Placencia-

He was 17 last year and stands 6-1, 170.  Batting mostly 6th the righty finished with a .345 average and a smoking .500 on base thanks to his 25 walks outweighing his 19K’s.  Throw in his 22-84 hits/AB and  22 runs and 34 total bases and you have a nice, small sample .905 OPS from a middle infielder.  2-4 steals can be better with more coaching and picking better opportunities.  

C Wilkin Grullon- 

He’s the catcher who stood out to me the most and I got to see him at camp-catching several bullpens and in the cage once, looking darn good lining singles into mid left field.  He’s ‘stocky’ at 6-0 220 and makes a wide target.  Footwork and quick twitch athleticism is not his game as much as solid bat skills seem to be.  In 2018 he debuted to a .206 average in 68 ABs before improving last year to a .287 average in 100 more AB.  He walked 17 times, had a .386 on-base and 12 of his 51 hits went for extra bases.  Wilkin got to lefties to the tune of .317 and most of his plate appearances were as a cleanup hitter where he hit .270.  

Im a supporter of his direct competition Hector Lucero whose best split after a .158 debut was 3-10 with 5RBI with a man on 3rd.  Catching isn’t as strong as outfield overall at this point. Speaking of outfield specifically, I’m looking forward to seeing both Ricky Castro and Frank Toletino play there this year as they didn’t contribute much last season. Castro definitely looks like a ball player both in his uniform and shagging flies with ease in the field. I’ll look at some of the arms over the next few days.  

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I thought there was a good chance we'd see most of those names in the GCL, particularly Infante, Bellony, Romeo, the other OF we picked up from the Red Sox, and Placencia.  Those would be my best bets among hitters.  Cruz and Rolle 50/50 and Acevedo at less than 50/50.

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5 minutes ago, RZNJ said:

I thought there was a good chance we'd see most of those names in the GCL, particularly Infante, Bellony, Romeo, the other OF we picked up from the Red Sox, and Placencia.  Those would be my best bets among hitters.  Cruz and Rolle 50/50 and Acevedo at less than 50/50.

I didn’t mention Elio Prado, he’s the OF from the Sox, as he’s a definite and there is lots to read/watch about him. I’m still confused at how or why Boston was willing to part with him. The organization seemed motivated and ready to have this pipeline start to produce developable talent.  I think the influx could be large. Unfortunately it’s yet another process that this outbreak has slowed.

Your estimations have merit, let’s hope that we see some action soon. 

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2 hours ago, Mountain Bird said:

Thank for the details Eric. This info is invaluable.

You’re welcome.  I’m glad to do it.  I’m very hopeful that some of these guys will have a future in an O’s uniform and we get to start watching it happen.  Let’s start learning them now.

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