by Eric Garfield
It’s been a while since I had something on my preferred side, the minors and also today it was brought to my attention that I’m not identifying every single player I’m seeing daily at camp for our readers who don’t know them. It’s my responsibility to provide info, not just names so I’ve decided to give a very brief capsule on each player named on my camp roster.
I know that my daily observations can go long, just know that I’m aware of it but I’m trying to see everything and tell everything. Here, it’ll be shorter. I’ll do like a this player has shown me ____________ type of profile.
In short, the group is extremely hungry. All at different points in both their development and career, what I’m seeing is a mostly intense desire to make a name for themselves and several with the skills necessary to do that and much more. O’s fans have an intelligent and focused front office and a good base of talent to add to. I think it’s better than consensus but I’m just there everyday watching….what do I know.
First the guys on the list I haven’t seen or have barely seen:
Seamus Curran-1B a very large guy (6-6, 250lbs) who is at camp and not doing anything physical/last year at Delmarva he hit .224 with 17 home runs and 125K
Malachi Emond-righty pitcher-also a big guy who hasn’t done anything physical and only dressed once. His first year pro was 2019 at Aberdeen and he went 3-2 with a save and a 2.66 ERA and 1.18 WHIP
Mickey Jannis-the knuckleballer’s name is on my list but I haven’t seen him yet. His stats are all over the place after a decade in pro ball. Last year he had 108 k in 125.2 innings at AA and AAA. Hitters teed off to a .283 average. Eek
Francisco Jimenez-I haven’t seen him much but he’s at camp, maybe he’s been outside twice for morning exercises. He can build on a 8-1 record and 81K in his 83.2 innings pitched at Frederick, Bowie and Norfolk.
Zach Pop-I have not seen him at camp
Luis Ortiz-I have seen him outside in the morning going through calisthenics and that was 3 times at most. He’s still carrying a lot of weight. Last year he pitched 3 innings in the bigs, they hit him for a .308. Before that he pitched 67 in the minors where they got him for a .289. He had 50k/31BB in those 67 innings
Also Jay Flaa and Zach Muckenhirn may be there as they’re from North Dakota and there’s a car with ND plates there. I saw Flaa pitch sitting with Weams at an O’s game so I know he’s in town. I’m sorry if I don’t have capsules on them.
Now for everyone I have seen-
Ben Brezeale-4th year pro who is always busy catching, ive almost barely seen him without his gear on. Last year reached Frederick and batted .213 at two levels. Career fielding pct is .992
Jordan Cannon-loud and positive communicator who will punish a ball breaking late in front of him. Big burly guy who encourages his pitchers and restate positive. Last year was year 1 for him and he hit .212 climbing as high as Aberdeen
Brett Cumberland-a quiet and strong athlete who lets his on-field performance and demeanor speak for him. Great receiver/framer with an exceptionally quiet lower body. He’s a switch hitter but I’ve only seen him lefty and he pulls hard to that side bringing pop from a strong core. He can build on a 2019 where he reached AA and had a total of 183 AB at 3 levels.
Daniel Fajardo-always moving from station to station and always catching. He’s a great guy with a big smile but he’s a serious player. He’s a 7 year pro with 9 HR for his career and only 171 K’s in 1150 at bats. Daniel played at multiple levels each of the last 3 seasons.
Maverick Handley-another guy who usually has the gear on but I’ve seen some promising swings and takes with him in the box. He doesn’t seem the .200 hitter he was last year at Aberdeen. Stocky, barrel chested build and probably has shown the second best arm at camp to date.
Cody Roberts-this guy can throw from behind the plate. Accuracy, steam and a lack of wasted movement help him fire strikes down to second. He did not succeed controlling runners at Delmarva however allowing 23 steals, stopping 8 so he’s got work to do. He had a .610 OPS in his second pro season last year
JC Encarnacion-lots of baseball skills. Quiet guy, loud bat. Fundamentals are not the cleanest but he gets lots out his movements. I like him and he can throw across the diamond. Last year at Delmarva he played 120 games as a 21 year old(!) and hit .240 with a ton of K’s and a low slugging pct. Don’t close the book yet
Andrew Daschbach-very big guy who hits the fastest leaving HRs here at camp. Righty large plane swing with a big strike zone. Played at Aberdeen as a 1st yr pro last season and batted .222 with 47 K in 158AB. An 11th round pick from Stanford he’s got pop, promise and some work to do. 6-3 and 225 lbs gives him a good power framework.
JC Escarra-24 yr old lefty 1B. He’s big and thick and has some uppercut in his swing but this guy’s best skill is an awesome attitude. He’s trying hard but having fun and shows lots of desire. The volume and smile are impossible to ignore. He can build on a decent eye at the plate. Last year at Frederick he had 13 HR, 76K and 52BB in 440 ABs.
Cadyn Grenier-there’s lots of differing opinions on him. I see a guy who can play mlb defense today but prob could as a teenager. In the cage he’s getting there and can hit high stuff better than low. He’s built like an NFL fullback and has huge legs and a lower body truly built for grounder stopping. His stats have been underwhelming but did hit 7 out at Delmarva before going .208 in 24 games at Frederick.
Adam Hall-I haven’t seen a ton of him but he has strong defensive fundamentals, speed and especially acceleration. His pro career is off to a good start and he’s batted .301 over his first 700 ABs with 60 steals and 117 runs scored. He played at Delmarva last season.
Darell Hernaiz-motivated and improving player with room to grow and every indication is he will. Fast bat, fast feet, fast pivots, fast transfers and fast eyes. Good attitude and players like him lots. Last year his pro career started at 17 and he hit .263 with 26K in 99 rookie league at bats.
Gunnar Henderson-I don’t understand how O’s fans aren’t flocking to Twin Lakes to see him-dude is a stud. His baseball movements are so clean and strong. The Gun show is on! In the cage he’s an animal and in both phases he’s good, developing and ready to keep going. Gun bounces from drill to drill singing his country and does so with extreme confidence. The time is coming for the hype train to leave the station…..Soon.
Joey Ortiz-a righty shortstop with pedigree, pop and a whip of an arm that he loves to show off. He’s a loud hitter in cage sessions and live BP and I like his future power profile very much. Ortiz can build on a pro debut at Aberdeen where he walked 30 times, K’d 37 and hit .241. Bringing up a .161 vs LHP will help.
Ryan Ripken-I love watching all the elements of Cal shine through everyday. To say he’s an instinctive defender would be an insult to his family name but Rip can handle the leather a little bit. Rip will turn 27 this season and has 19 taters in his 5 pro seasons to go with 300 strikeouts and 70 walks. He’s swinging. He’s reached AA and batted .283 there in 2019.
Jesmuel Valentin-Ive only seen the 25 year old son of José in defensive drills and he’s a magician with the glove. He positions his glove with precision and never ever gets outplayed by a hop. I don’t know why I haven’t seen him hit. He’s reached the bigs and last year had 403 AB at Bowie hitting .260 with 10SBs, 8HR and 47 runs scored to fortify that glove.
Toby Welk-Toby is having fun, kicking ass, getting better and seemingly on cloud 9 at camp. He’s got room to go but knows he’s already better off than most 21st round picks from D-3 schools. He can field. He can throw. He can hit. He reached high A last year after controlling Aberdeen pitchers to a .330 average and a .900 OPS. He’ll face adversity, respond well and be on prospect radars soon.
Willy Yahn-hes the guy who made me realize that saying someone is ‘the sum of their parts’ is not an insult but the ultimate compliment. He’s not as large as the other players but plays as big as the sky. Every person in camp respects him because he finishes the rep and never beats himself. If you watch him, you will root for him. I guarantee it. Yahn hit .271 with 5HR as a 3rd baseman at Frederick first than Bowie and had a .957 fielding percentage.
Mason Janvrin- he is the player who has excited me the most and has explosive speed and even more full throttle acceleration. He’s a great draft pick and isn’t perfect but reminds me of a righty Christian Yelich. Focused as hell. He turned 22 today and debuted last year reaching Aberdeen after making the rookie league look easy. 17 pro steals in 42 games is good. 7 professional walks and 5 extra base hits leave him room to improve. We’ll all know his name in 12 months.
Robbie Thorburn-turns 25 in 3 weeks and has been a pro for 3 seasons, reaching Frederick last year. High effort and energy player with ok swing mechanics, good feet in the outfield. His career strikeout to walk ratio is trending towards 4:1 and his best on-base season was 2018 at Aberdeen and it was .321.
Kyle Stowers-intriguing package of skills, physical ability and showing signs of putting things together at a young age. Strong but not thick. Great core strength and waist/hips combo. Good outfield strider, thrower and route taker. I’m intrigued and would put more on his plate. He can build on a 2019 where he debuted at Aberdeen and hit .215 but cleared the fence 6 times and had 13 doubles and 5 steals.
Zach Watson-I’m wondering if he’s hurt. He can run and accelerate very well. He can drive the ball when he barrels it. His arm is weak. He doesn’t do enough to make me understand where he is in development. I don’t have a good read on him but his first pro year he got to the Shorebirds and hit 5 total HRs. 36 games, 5HR/5SB/26runs. Ok. For reference, this is me being critical.
Zach Jarrett-has been in and out as he’s been called up to the O’s a couple times. Is a very big guy in person and has hands as fast as a boxer in the cage. He’s 25, has been a pro for 3 seasons and has played as high as AA. Last season he hit .270 with a 3:1 k to walk ratio but sent 11 over the fence. For a 28th round pick, not too shabby.
TJ Nichting-the best that I’ve seen from him is a few good catches he made in the O’s outfield playing left. TJ smiles a lot and is upbeat but not loud. This will be his 4th pro season and he carries a .678 career OPS accompanied by 14 bombs and 25 SBs. Last year he played at Bowie.
Robert Neustrom-if anybody looks like a baseball player it’s him. Good size, good strength, good arm, faster than average bat. He’ll turn 24 after this season and has 11HR through his first 550 pro at bats. I get the impression that execs like him-he’s a grinder. It’s Bowie time for him in my opinion.
I’ll do the arms for you tomorrow as this took longer than I thought. Also there will be some pitchers throwing then who I have yet to see so I can have one more session of data.