SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles began the process of releasing perhaps as many as 30 or more minor league players when they cut eight this morning from a camp that had 175 players and will be adding more with players coming down from Baltimore.
The club released left-handed pitchers Cameron Coffey, Eric Wooten and Matt Bywater, right-hander David Baker, catchers Adam Davis and Kevin Dultz, third baseman Dudley Leonora and outfielder Tim Smith.
Among that list are five Orioles draft picks, two minor league free agents and a player that was signed as an international amateur.
Coffey is notable on this list because the Orioles drafted him in the 22nd round in 2009 out of a Houston (Tex.) high school and signed him to an over-slot bonus of $990,000. In three seasons on the farm, he went 7-9 with a 4.19 ERA and reportedly struggled to get back the velocity he had in high school. Coffey had Tommy John surgery while in high school and the O’s selected him and gave him the big bonus to get him out of his college commitment to Duke.
Smith was signed in January as a minor league free agent, but he’ll never play a game in the organization after this release. Smith just played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, going 0-for-2 in three games.
Baker was the club’s 14th-round pick in 2009. In four minor league seasons, he went 7-12 with a 4.32 ERA.
Bywater was drafted in the seventh round in 2010 out of Pepperdine. In two seasons, he went 3-7 with a 3.63 ERA.
Wooten was a 15th-round selection out of Central Arizona College in 2011, and went 4-3 with a 2.67 ERA over two seasons.
Davis was drafted in the 11th round in 2011 out of Illinois. He batted a combined .211 with four homers and 18 RBIs over two seasons.
Dultz was signed as a minor league free agent last December, but now is cut loose before ever playing a game for the organization.
Leonard was signed as an amateur out of the Netherlands in August 2008. He once showed some promise on the farm, but last year hit just .200 at Aberdeen and .163 with Delmarva. He had a .232 average over four O’s minor league seasons.
These moves leave the O’s with 167 players in minor league camp at Twin Lakes Park. More releases are coming as opening day approaches for the club’s four full-season affiliates.