With a need in RF and coming off a solid September, DJ Stewart seemed be in a good position for a spot on the Orioles opening day roster. Instead, he was optioned to Norfolk in the second round of cuts today.
Surprisingly, Stewart was actually hitting ok this spring, batting .267 with a .766 OPS with five doubles but he had struck out nine times in his 33 PAs with just two walks. He also has a below average arm that doesn’t work well in right field. Although a small sample size, Stewart’s statcast info from last season was below average and you have to wonder with all the data the Orioles are looking at now, whether those numbers were still below average.
The emergence of Anthony Santander this spring might have been his undoing. Santander is not going to win any gold gloves in right field, but his arm is stronger and offensively, Santander has been amazing, slashing doubles from both sides of the plate and hitting two homers.
No surprises among the other cuts even though spring training darling Yusniel Diaz was also cut. Diaz has never played above AA and comments by Brandon Hyde suggested that he was going back to the minors to at least start the season. Diaz hit .333 with an .839 OPS this spring and will most likely start in RF for Norfolk.
Other cuts included RHP Dillion Tate, RHP Luis Ortiz, RHP Bo Schultz, LHP Sean Gilmartin and C Martin Cervenka. Tate and Ortiz were disappointments this spring, Schultz might be at the end of the line for the 33-year old, and Gilmartin struggled with his command. Cervenka was never going to make the club so now he can go down to minor league camp and compete for a spot in Norfolk though he could be returned to Bowie to start 2019.