Hey guys, welcome to the 2018 Sally team preview series. I’m excited to get these going again. This is my 3rd year of doing the previews, they make for a great off-season project and I learn a ton from them.
Today I’ll be talking about the 2018 Delmarva Shorebirds. The single-A full season affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. for a look back at the 2017 and the 2016 previews. Click the links:
For those not familiar with the series: I scour the rookie levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2018 and whenever possible I try to include a scouting report. New for this year, I’ll also be interviewing some of my favorite prospectors to find out who they’re most excited about coming out of rookie ball. Both the high end players and some sleepers to watch for. I’m looking forward to collaborating with some talented people. Some that I know fairly well and others that I’m just a fan of there work.
Assisting me on the Delmarva piece is Luke Siler (on Twitter @The_Luke_Siler) he’s part of the scouting team for “Orioles Hangout” (Home) (and on Twitter @OriolesHangout). I haven’t known Luke for long but it’s easy to see when reading his work, he’s got a good eye. He strikes me as a good dude and he know’s the Orioles system very well. It’s an honor to have him here.
At Notes From The Sally it’s all about live look scouting, once I see the Shorebirds you can expect write ups on many of the players listed. My goal is to see every team in the Sally at least twice in the 1st half. My preliminary run through the schedule has me seeing Delmarva in late April and in the 3rd week of May both times on the road in Hickory. Plenty of time to get into all of that though.
Lets meet the Notables – (I’m attaching scouting reports to many of these players. Most are pre-draft looks from sites I trust.) It creates a nice before and after, as Luke has seen many of these players post draft and gives his own takes).
LHP) DL Hall- Age 19, listed 6′ 180 lbs, bats and throws left. He was drafted 21st overall in the 2017 draft out of High School in Valdosta, GA (southern part of the state, near the FL boarder).
John Sickles of “Minor League Ball” released a piece on Hall one month prior to the draft. You can read that here: https://www.minorleagueball.com/2017/5/15/15494632/2017-mlb-draft-d-l-hall-lhp-valdosta-georgia
SS) Adam Hall- Age 18, listed 6′ 170 lbs, bats and throws right. Hall was drafted 60th overall in the 2017 draft out of High School in London, Ontario, CA. (2 Hours west of Buffalo).
The “Canadian Baseball Network”, quoted some industry sources regarding Hall, while also filling in some interesting details. Written at the time of his signing. https://www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/2017-draft-canadian-baseball-network/inf-adam-hall-round-selected-draft-position-overall-mlb-draft-team
LHP) Zac Lowther- Age 21, listed 6’2″ 235 lbs, bats and throws left. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft out of Xavier Univ (Cincinnati, OH).
Burke Granger of “2080 Ball” (and on Twitter @burkegranger) wrote up Lowther as part of a series titled “MLB draft bites”. You can find that here: MLB Draft Bites: Week Nine
RHP) Michael Baumann- Age 22, listed 6’4″ 225 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft out of Jacksonville Univ.
CF) Lamar Sparks- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 170 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 draft out of high school in Katy, TX (30 miles west of Houston)
RHP) Gray Fenter- Turns 22 in January, listed 6′ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 draft out of High School in West Memphis, AR (Memphis, TN metro)
Fenter was on my radar two years ago but got injured and had Tommy John surgery, glad to see him getting healthy.
Now here’s Luke Siler with an outstanding write up. He gives us a ton of names to watch for coming out of short season ball:
Question #1 The Orioles selected young lefty DL Hall 21st overall in the ’17 draft. What’s his repertoire? Ceiling? Floor? Do you see him reaching Delmarva in 2018?
Luke- “I got the sense that the Orioles didn’t expect DL Hall to be available when they picked at #21. But were happy to scoop him up when he fell to them. Hall is a relatively undersized LHP (6′ 0″ or 6′ 1″ depending on the source), but boasts a mid-90s fastball out of a typical 3/4 arm slot. He gets to that velocity with a moderate effort delivery, generating power from his athletic lower half. His fastball is fairly flat, but has some life when used up in the zone. His delivery has an aggressive rotational finish where he falls off glove-side that lends itself to to control issues from time to time. He also shows a plus curveball that has serious depth and bite at it’s best. It’s less slurvy than you’d generally see from 3/4 lefties, a real power hook in the upper 70s to low 80s. There is a changeup as well that he didn’t use much in HS, it’s still in it’s infancy.”
“He had a brief, rough pro debut. He struggled with control, but reports from instructional were much more positive. I think I’d expect him to start the 2018 campaign with the Shorebirds, perhaps piggy backing with another pitcher to limit his innings per start. Hall has the stuff to become a #2/#3 starter and a starters delivery, but he’s pretty raw and there is a lot of developmental work ahead. Like any HS pitcher, there is a chance he flames out along the way, but with his FB/CB combo, it’d probably take an injury to keep him from at least being a lefty in the pen down the road.”
Question #2 Zac Lowther and Michael Baumann were both picked in the top 3 rounds of the 17 draft and dominated in the NY/Penn post draft. Same question’s stuff/Ceiling/floor? And do you think either or both comes to Delmarva in 2018 or do they both skip?
Luke- “Despite having similar draft positions and dominant NY/Penn league performances, Zac Lowther and Michael Baumann are not similar as pitchers.”
“Lowther is a 6’ 2” thickly built LHP. He has an abbreviated wind-up and a quick, whippy arm action from a low ¾ arm slot. It looks a little violent at first glance but he puts himself in good position by the time his front foot plants. He isn’t traditionally projectable, but he does look like he may be able to benefit for some pro strength and conditioning. His fastball sits 89-91 but I’ve heard that it touches 93-94 on occasion. It has plus late arm-side run but it lacks plane. The movement allowed it to miss bats at the short season level, but I’d expect that to diminish as he faces more advanced hitters. His curveball is the star of the show. It’s an upper 70s tight 11-5 late breaker, it’s only average to above average pitch but plays much better than that because he can spot it all over the plate better than some pitchers can command their fastball. NY/Penn league hitters were helpless against it. He also has the feel for a change-up that is deceptive but lacks tumble, it’s currently fringy but he didn’t throw it much in college and I’d project it to average.”
“Without a tick or two of velocity I can’t see much more than a 4th starter ceiling, but he should be a fast mover and has a relatively high floor (swingman) due to his plus command and at least two MLB average pitches from the left side. I’d expect him to start in High-A Frederick.”
“Baumann is an athletically built 6’ 4” RHP. He has a long, but smooth arm action and stays closed late which adds deception. He has a high ¾ arm slot and generates downward plane with boring action. The fastball sits 93-94 and touches 96. It plays well, even in the middle of the plate against LHB, it doesn’t get squared up at the short season level. He also shows a plus slider with sharp two-plane movement. The curveball and change-up are less refined but the change-up especially has a chance to be an average pitch. Currently, his control/command are below average but due to his deceptive delivery and good stuff, young hitters are swinging at bad pitches. His arm action will probably limit his command and I don’t ever see him as a guy who’ll be able to spot his pitches well, but he’s athletic and I could see decent control down the line.”
“Baumann has the upside of a #3 starter, but there is plenty of reliever risk here. If the command/control don’t improve he could still be a late inning relief option. The floor is probably middle relief. I think he could handle A+ ball, but Frederick is going to have a logjam of SP prospects (Lowther, Harvey?, Dietz, Wells, Humpal?, Peluffo, Peralta?, etc) so I think he may start in Delmarva.”
Question #3 Two young position players SS) Adam Hall and CF) Lamar Sparks were both drafted in the top 5 rounds. Are these guys boom or bust types or more relatively high floor with medium ceiling?
Luke- “Like most high school players, Adam Hall and Lamar Sparks are both high risk/high reward type prospects.”
“Adam Hall is a 6’ 0” SS, who didn’t play much after signing due to an oblique/abdominal injury. From pre-draft video, I saw a loose swing, a little bat wrap/length, above average bat speed. More of a line drive swing plane, but I could see him developing pull power at maturity. He is quite thin, but wiry, and could probably add some mass without slowing him down much. He has run plus-plus 60 yard dash times and he looks to have the actions and arm to have a chance to stick at SS. We’ll have to wait and see how he handles pro pitching to know more about his hit tool. So the range of outcomes is large, from an above average regular SS to an org guy.
“Lamar Sparks is a 6’ 2” CF and is a guy that wasn’t high on the pre-draft national radar. Some tools, raw, and a projectable frame were all that I heard about him. He really impressed in his pro debut, showing a good approach at the plate, a simple, leveraged swing, and good bat speed. He doesn’t have any pop currently, but he has room for 30lb of mass on his frame easily, and has a swing conducive to putting balls over the fence. He’s a plus runner and he has a plus arm, from what I’ve heard, his defense in CF needs work, but he has the tools to stick there. Again, big range of outcomes from above average CF to an org guy.”
“I think both players are likely to start in Delmarva.”
Question #4 Any recent draftees selected outside the top 5 rounds stand out post draft?
Luke- “Other 2017 O’s draft picks that stand out for one reason or another (in order of preference)”
“Cameron Bishop (26th round overslot) – Missed his entire Junior season at UC-Irvine, but the Orioles got him to sign for around 600k. Big, strong lefty (6’5”), showed 3 average pitches (FB, SL, CH) and a starter’s delivery. Command wasn’t great, but has a repeatable simple delivery so it should improve with reps. Some people like him better than Baumann or Lowther. I don’t, nothing in the repertoire wows me, but he’s a solid back end rotation prospect for me with a chance for more if the stuff sharpens as he’s further removed from injury. Could possibly make the jump to A+ ball, but most likely will start in Delmarva.
“Trevor Craport (11th round) – Drafted out of Georgia Tech, what Craport lacks in tools at the plate he makes up for with an advanced approach and solid bat to ball skills. He’s very pull happy, but it seems to work for him. He plays 3B and is a fringe defender there, he has enough arm, but lacks smooth hands/motions and average range. If he can stick at 3B his bat could profile as a regular there, if he must move down the defensive spectrum, I don’t think he has enough power to profile. I’d expect him to start 2018 in Delmarva.”
Jacob Brown (18th round) is an undersized NC HS OF/CF. He is extremely raw, I don’t think he saw much of national level competition in HS. There is a lot of swing and miss currently, due to lack of recognition and the aggressiveness of his swing. He swings really hard, but generates a surprising amount of power for a player his age, much less one who is only 5’ 9” tall. I haven’t seen him in the field but he is reported to have a plus arm and enough speed for CF. Will probably play 2018 in the GCL or NY/Penn league.
Mason McCoy (6th round) – McCoy is a senior sign out of Iowa who plays SS. He has the hands and arm to stick there. He’s not going to hit for much power, but the swing is line drive oriented so he could find enough gaps. He has shown great contact skills, especially for a guy who isn’t purely a slap hitter. The real test is whether those skills hold up to age appropriate competition. I’d like to see him tested in the Carolina league, but he may start in Delmarva.
Ben Breazeale – (7th round) – The Orioles have done well with senior signs in the past few years, and 2017 wasn’t an exception. Breazeale is a catcher out of Wake Forest. He utilizes a high leg kick and an aggressive weight transfer to generate power to all fields. If he could stick at catcher, I think he’d have enough bat to profile there. The problem is he’s not a very good catcher, he is decent with catch and throw, but is like a sieve with passed balls and isn’t a smooth receiver.
Ryan Wilson – (33rd round) – Wilson is a LHP out of Pepperdine. He doesn’t wow with stuff but he has a starter’s delivery and he hides the ball well. He has a tailing FB and the makings of a decent curveball. I like him as a deep sleeper pick, not sure what the O’s will do with him in 2018, but he could see Delmarva.
Question #5 Any Latin Players to watch for coming out of the GCL or Aberdeen?
Luke- “This is a short one. The Orioles have an “organizational philosophy” of not signing 16-year-old international prospects. They trade away most of their slots and generally only sign retreads other teams cut and older guys who slip through the cracks.”
“There are a few Latin players who may see Delmarva, none of them are particularly exciting.”
“Jean Carillo is a good defensive catcher who doesn’t hit.”
“Jose Lizarraga is a catcher who I don’t know much about but has a short little swing that allows for a lot of contact.”
“Carlos Baez is a SS with some tools but is a sloppy fielder and has a long, noisy swing.”
“Irving Ortega is a good defensive SS but practically gets the bat knocked out of his hands.”
“Leonardo Rodriguez is a tall RHP who was the only DSL pitcher to get invited to instructs and appears (from reports) to have a mid 90s FB”
None of these guys are even fringe prospects at this point. Leonardo Rodriguez and Lizarraga might be fringe guys, but I’d need to see a lot more of them to decide.
Question #6 Sleepers, a few players not listed above that you’re particularly high on. Maybe players that excel at one tool (+ raw power or + speed)?
Luke- “Here are the 5 best players I haven’t already listed yet who may see Delmarva in 2018. (In order of preference).”
“Brenan Hanifee (RHP) – Hanifee was the O’s 4th round pick in 2016. He was a multi-sport athlete in HS and he has only been pitching seriously for a couple years. So, as you’d expect his repertoire is pretty raw. His changeup is in its infantile stages, it’s currently a well below average pitch. He throws a slider that flashes average, but needs more consistency. So how did a guy this raw pitch to a 2.75 ERA as a young 19-year-old in the NY/Penn league? Well he has a nice sinking fastball (90-92mph) that he throws with great extension and a nice downward plane. It has tailing action and it plays above its velocity. Hanifee is a great athlete on the mound, and his control is impressive for a kid of his age and experience. I’d project plus command/control down the road. He has a projectable frame (6’ 5”) and I’d be surprised if there aren’t a couple tick of velocity to be had.”
Nick Vespi (LHP) – This is my dude, he’s a big bodied Lefty with a low 90s FB and a funky, deceptive delivery that it appears he modeled after Clayton Kershaw’s. I saw him early in the season and liked the stuff, but he wasn’t repeating his delivery and I’d never heard of him before so I kind of wrote him off. I saw him later in the year and suddenly, he’s repeating the delivery and throwing more strikes. He has a 4-pitch mix, and they all miss bats at times. He’s got a near plus sweeping slider that he throws to both LHBs and RHBs successfully. The changeup, I’d project to average. He’s got a big loopy curveball that misses bats when thrown as a chase pitch, but gets crushed when he tries to throw it for strikes, it’s a below average pitch. If he can develop average command/control, he’s a rotation piece, if not, he could have a role as a FB/SL lefty reliever. Also, worth noting, he had the highest swinging strike rate in all of short season ball (30+IP).
Gray Fenter (RHP) – Undersized overslot 2015 draftee (1m bonus in the 7th round), he threw about 30 innings in 2017 recovering from TJS. I haven’t seen him since his pre-draft video but he featured a mid-90s live fastball and the makings of an above average curveball.
Alexis Torres (SS/2B) – A 5th round draft pick in 2016, Torres has an advanced approach and a clean line drive swing, but has lackluster bat speed and little strength. Needs to add some good weight.
Seamus Curran (1B/DH) – An 8th round draft pick in 2015, Curran is a hulking 1B only type prospect. He’ll have plus-plus raw power at maturity. He has middling bat speed and a raw approach though. He missed developmental time after breaking his kneecap in 2017.
“Bonus: 5 interesting relief arms (these guys aren’t even fringe prospects at this point, but they have something interesting about them). Reed Hayes (RHP) – Here an athletic guy, two-way player in college. Has a bit of a robotic delivery, but has premium stuff, with a 97-98 mph fastball and a curveball that can put guys on their butts. The results don’t match up, but he’s interesting. Brandon Bonilla (RHP) – Bobby’s son, extreme over-the-top delivery, ton of deception. Didn’t pitch much but struck out 41% of the batters he faced. Has trouble repeating delivery and can go from excellent to terrible from outing to outing. Has a good slider, but can’t control it. His upper 90s fastball misses a ton of bats by itself. Nick Vichio (RHP) – undersized FB/SL reliever, touches 96, haven’t seen him but have heard the stuff is legit. Old for the level. Yelin Rodriguez (LHP) – Haven’t seen anything but pre-draft video, but looks to be a lefty with good size and an easy arm action. Had a good season in the GCL, could be a starter. Scott Burke (RHP) – FB/CB multi-inning reliever, the curveball is above average. One of the most dominant pitchers in the NY/Penn league statistically. Old for the level.
Around the diamond (I highlighted who I think will be the starters and the primary backups).
Ben Breazeale- Age 23, listed 6′ 208 lbs, bats left and throws right. He was drafted as a senior sign in the 7th round of the 2017 draft out of Wake Forrest Univ (Winston-Salem, NC)
Jean Carillo- Age 20, listed 6′ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. He was signed out of Panama in 2013.
Jose Lizarraga- Age 20, listed 5’10” 170 lbs, bats and throws right. He was signed by the Marlins out of Mexico in 2015 and signed with the Orioles after his release in 2016.
Alfredo Gonzalez- Age 22, listed 6′ 165 lbs, bats and throws right. He was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.
Wagner Ramirez- Age 23, listed 5’11” 170 lbs, bats and throws right. He was signed by the Indians out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. And picked up by the Orioles after his release in 2015.
Chris Shaw- Age 23, listed 6’1″ 215 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 15th round of the 2015 draft out of the Univ of Oklahoma.
A lot of inventory at Catcher, maybe someone will take a step forward.
1B-DH) Seamus Curran- Age 20, listed 6’6″ 245 lbs, bats left and throws right. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft out of High School in Agawam, MA (Southern MA, Hartford, CT area).
Curran has made all three of my previews, it’ll be good to see him make the jump to full season.
1B, C) Luke Ringhofer- Turns 22 in February, listed 6’1″ 210 lbs, bats left and throws right. He was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2017 draft out of South Dakota State Univ (Eastern SD near the MN border)
1B) Ryan Ripken- Age 24, listed 6’6″ 205, bats and throws left. He was drafted in the 15th round of the 2014 draft by the Nationals out of Indian River CC (Fort Pierce, FL) signed with the Orioles in 2017 after being released by the Nats.
3B) Trevor Craport- Age 21, listed 5’11” 201 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft out of Georgia Tech Univ.
3B) Branden Becker- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 175 lbs, bats left and throws right. He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2015 draft out of High School in San Bernadino, CA (60 miles east of LA).
Becker got into only 8 games in 2017 due to injury. there’s not much on line about the injury, just this Tweet by Jordan Schatz (the sports editor for the local newspaper called the Cecil Whig).
Pause in the action as @IronBirds 3B Branden Becker exits game after suffering apparent shoulder injury on hit to hot corner
— Jordan Schatz (@Jordan_Whig) June 29, 2017
Not sure if he made it back for instructs.
Other options in the corner infield: 3B) Collin Woody
Looks like Curran and Craport will be on the corners. Becker should get some run, he’s seen some reps at 2B in rookie ball so he could see some time there too. Not sure what the do with Ripken, he could be backup 1B and DH.
2B-SS) Alexis Torres- Age 20, listed 6′ 183 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out High School in Puerto Rico.
SS) Adam Hall-
SS) Mason McCoy- Turns 23 in March, listed 6′ 175 lbs, bats and throws right. He was a senior sign in the 6th round of the 2017 draft out of the Univ of Iowa.
SS) Irving Ortega- Age 21, listed 6’2″ 165 lbs, bats and throws right. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.
2B, 3B) Garrett Copeland- Turns 23 in February, listed 5’11” 190 lbs, bats both and throws right. He was drafted in the 30th round of the 2016 draft out of Austin Peay State (Clarksville, TN, 50 miles north of Nashville)
SS) Carlos Baez- Age 20, listed 6’3″ 175 lbs, bats and throws right
Other potential Middle Infielders: SS) Milton Ramos, (2B,3B,SS) Alejandro Juvier, (2B,LF) Tanner Kirk, (2B,LF) Frank Crinella.
A rotation of Torres, Hall and McCoy seems most logical. Baez seems ticketed for Aberdeen. That leaves Ortega who could be an extra fielder in Delmarva or Frederick. And Copeland and not sure where he’ll play,
LF) Jaylen Ferguson- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 9th round of the 2015 draft out of High School in Arlington, TX.
CF) Lamar Sparks
CF, LF, RF) TJ Nichting- Turns 23 in January, listed 5’11’ 188 lbs, bats both and throws right. He was drafted in the 9th round of the 2017 draft out of the Univ of NC at Charlotte (UNCC)
CF) Markel Jones- Age 23, listed 5’10” 175 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 33rd rd of the 2016 draft out of Brunswick CC (North Carolina coast, Wilmington area)
RF) Tristan Graham- Age 22, listed 6’4″ 215 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2015 draft out of Northeast Texas Community College (123 miles East of Dallas)
RF, LF) Will Robertson- Turns 23 in March, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 30th round of the 2017 draft out of Davidson College (Charlotte, NC Metro).
RF, LF) Zach Jarrett- Age 23, listed 6’4″ 220 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 28th round in the 2017 draft out of the Univ of NC at Charlotte.
Other potential OF (RF, LF) Gerrion Grim
If Sparks makes the jump, Nichting gets pushed to a corner. Two of Ferguson, Jones, Graham, Robertson and Garrett should get some significant at bats with the Shorebirds. While one or two maybe shoot straight for Frederick.
LHP) DL Hall
RHP) Brenan Hanifee- Age 19, listed 6’5″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of Bridgewater, VA.
Mark Brown of “Camden Chat” put together a prospect season in review for Hanifee. You can read that here:
LHP) Nick Vespi- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 215 lbs, bats and throws left. He was drafted in the 18th round of the 2015 draft out of Palm Beach CC (Lake Worth, FL).
RHP) Michael Baumann-
LHP) Cameron Bishop- Turns 22 in February, listed 6’4″ 215, bats and throws left. He was drafted in 26th round of the 2017 draft out of the Univ of California at Irvine.
LHP) Ryan Wilson- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 190 lbs, bats and throws left. He was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2017 draft out of Pepperdine Univ (Malibu, CA)
RHP) Gray Fenter-
LHP) Cameron Ming- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 177 lbs, bats and throws left. He was drafted in the 14th round of the 2017 draft out of the Univ of Arizona at Tucsan
Other arms to watch for Zach Muckenhirn and/or Travis Seabroke could be back.
A lot of inventory here too, I’ll guess
With Wilson and Ming also in the mix and Baumann skipping.
I enjoyed the deep dive into the Orioles system. Thanks again to Luke Siler (on Twitter @The_Luke_Siler) for doing the bulk of the heavy lifting on the piece. He’s a terrific follow on Twitter, he’s currently counting down his top 50 Orioles prospects. A very good read.
This Delmarva squad probably lands mid pack in terms of talent in the Sally. They’ll be led by there pitching but there are interesting bats all around the diamond too. Stay with Notes for lots of eyewitness scouting reports on many of these young players.
Next up on Notes is a Lexington Legends (Royals) preview. Two talented prospectors will be assisting: Patrick Brennan (on Twitter @paintingcorners) founder of The “Royals Farm Report” will be here giving us some names to watch for coming out of short season ball. And Clinton Scoles (on Twitter @TheGrandOLDGame) prospector for “Minor League Ball”, “Prospect 1500” and “Legends On Deck” will give us some potential returnees that caught his eye in 2017. Cheers