Second rule 5 target. I watched a handful of his games and some BP video.
Again, I’m targeting guys who can contribute in 2018, not players you stash and never play. So, I may not be profiling the same upside guys you read about on other sites.
One unknown coming into 2018 is who is going to be the Orioles utility infielder. The current candidates are Luis Sardinas, Steve Wilkerson, or resign Flaherty. Here’s another candidate.
Pablo Reyes – RH batter
Reyes is 24 and he was a low money international signing. He’s never really been on the radar so even though he hit well, it took him three years to make it stateside and out of the DSL. Since then he has been promoted a level a year and has hit at least 10% better than league average at each level. He hit .274/.356/.410 in AA with 10 HRs. He played mostly at 2B (2017 top 100 prospect Kevin Newman played SS) but he did play 30+ games in CF and 15 games at SS.
Reyes is small, 5’10”, listed at 150, although he looks a little more filled out than that.
At the Plate
Reyes has an extremely quick bat. The swing is high effort and not as short to the ball as you’d like it to be, but the bat speed plays. He is a patient hitter (walks almost as much as he strikes out) but he does have issues with elite velocity up in the zone. He needs to understand his strike zone better. When he gets his arms extended he’s got some real pop too.
He’s at least an above average runner, maybe plus. He’ll steal a bunch of bases, but he didn’t look like he was getting good jumps, and he gets caught by good catchers.
I didn’t see him in CF, but he was excellent at SS and 2B in the games I saw him in. I’m pretty confident he’d be an upgrade to Schoop or Beckham as a defensive replacement. It appears like he’s a SS quality defender, playing 2B because a better prospect is at SS. He’s got an average arm that plays up due to smooth hands and a quick release. He’s good around the bag and he turns double plays well. He’s extremely consistent as well, and has a good internal clock.
Why was he left unprotected
Always been an under-the-radar guy and because it’s taken him so long to play stateside, he’s always been a little old for his level so his performances haven’t caught much attention. Always he’s small, another way to get overlooked.
Why the Orioles should pick him
If the Orioles are going to give Wilkerson a shot at the utility spot, then there is no reason not to pick this guy and let him compete for the spot as well. He compares very favorably to Wilkerson. He’s a better fielder, he has more bat speed and raw power (even though he’s small). He just performed similarly at the same level and was almost 2 years younger. He has a more consistent history of performance. He also can probably play CF in a pinch.