The 40-man: A look at who made it and who didn’t

Congrats are in order for Zach Britton, Joe Mahoney and Matt Angle, who were added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster on Friday.

Now they cannot be taken by another club in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings. But some players were left unprotected and can be taken by another club, however, must stay in the Majors for all of 2011 or they will most likely return to Baltimore.

By the way, it should be pointed out that Britton was drafted in round three, Mahoney in round six and Angle in round seven. Britton was taken out of high school, while the other two were drafted from college.

Making the 40-man doesn’t guarantee they will play well for the Orioles one day, but they are three solid talents that were not taken in rounds one or two.

Among the surprises that were left off the 40-man to me are Ryan Adams and Wynn Pelzer. To a lesser extent, Pedro Beato.

This doesn’t mean the organization doesn’t like these players or think they have potential. It just means they don’t think they will lose them in the Rule 5, or if they do, that they will likely return.

Remember, not many players change hands in the Rule 5, first of all and many that are taken are returned. The club is not taking a huge risk leaving some players off the 40-man, but with those that do get added, they are taking no risk at all, of course.

Just 17 players were taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft last year and 21 the year before.

Britton and Mahoney were named O’s minor league pitcher and player of the year for 2010 and I have gotten to know each somewhat during many interviews. They are both talented players that also seem to have great attitudes and work ethic. I can see why the club added them.

I have not had the chance recently to interview Angle. But with his addition, though, the O’s seem to be saying they believe he could be, at least, a big league reserve outfielder.

Angle has impressed with his defense, his speed and his smarts. The O’s seem to like his mastery of the fundamentals and he does little things well, I have heard, like advance runners. He knows how to play the game.

His shortcoming is a lack of pop in a bat that produced just nine extra-base hits in 87 Triple-A games.

Adams has a bat that could be good enough, one day, for the Majors. The question remains his defense. Reports on that from the Arizona Fall League have been mixed at best.

The O’s need to find a position where he can be close to Major League average with the glove. I expect to see him get some time in the outfield next year as they keep looking for a spot for him.

Pelzer, we hear, has a real power arm and potential. The O’s gave up Miguel Tejada to get him but maybe they figure Tejada would be gone by now anyway and they got a free look at Pelzer, who pitched 20 innings over 10 games at Bowie.

Beato went 4-0, 2.11 at Bowie last year and got out both left-handed hitters (.214 average) and right-handed batters (.236). He pumped some life back into his career with his conversion to a relief role after starting for four seasons.

It is conceivable to me that some club may try to add a player that goes 6’6” with a power arm and stash him in their bullpen all year. The O’s must think the odds of that happening though, are pretty low. Maybe I’m just higher on Beato than I should be.

Among other players that needed to be protected but were not are Tyler Henson, Billy Rowell, Steve Johnson, Tim Bascom, Brandon Cooney, Pat Egan, Chad Thall, Brandon Waring and Robbie Widlansky.

It’s also interesting that the O’s still have five spots left on their 40-man roster. Of course they will need a roster spot for any free agent they add or any of their own that they re-sign.

Maybe this a sign that they figure to be active in the market this winter. Plus, they can always drop a player or two or more from the roster later, if more spots are needed.

For now, we know that Britton, Mahoney and Angle made the 40-man. Now we wait to find out later if the O’s will lose a player they decided not to add to that roster.

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