Revisiting roll call of Orioles' non-roster invites to spring training

The Orioles sent out their list of non-roster invites to spring training yesterday with the understanding that other names could appear later. Thirty wasn’t a set number. There’s always room for Jell-O and more lockers at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

Within hours, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez cleared outright waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. He, too, will be in Sarasota, giving the Orioles 38 pitchers in camp, including 12 of the non-roster variety.

The possibility still exists that the Orioles make a waiver claim, sign a free agent or consummate another trade. They aren’t shutting down.

“We’re still working on stuff,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said yesterday during a Q&A with fans at Wilde Lake High School.

Could be pitching, an infielder or an outfielder. And it could be a major league contract.

So much for narrowing it down.

The 40-man roster is full, but the Orioles can move pitchers John Means and Seth Johnson to the 60-day injured list.

In case you missed it yesterday, here is the updated camp roster:

RHP Eduard Bazardo
RHP Wandisson Charles
RHP Kyle Dowdy
RHP Reed Garrett
RHP Ofreidy Gómez
LHP Darwinzon Hernandez
RHP Morgan McSweeney
LHP Cade Povich
RHP Kade Strowd
RHP Cole Uvila
RHP Chris Vallimont
RHP Ryan Watson

Anthony Bemboom
Maverick Handley
Mark Kolozsvary
Ramon Rodriguez

Franchy Cordero
Lewin Díaz
Jackson Holliday
Josh Lester
Coby Mayo
Connor Norby
Ryan O’Hearn
César Prieto
Curtis Terry
Jordan Westburg

Daz Cameron
Colton Cowser
Heston Kjerstad
Nomar Mazara
Robert Neustrom

The best part, of course, is seeing so many top prospects in the system joining Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall and Joey Ortiz.

Holliday was the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2022, Cowser in 2021 and Kjerstad in 2020. Westburg is the No. 6 prospect in the system, Norby seventh and Mayo 10th per Baseball America’s latest rankings.

The publication’s top 10 will gather in Sarasota as expected, though Holliday might have been fringy based on his age and how he finished 2022 at low Single-A Delmarva.

Holliday might not stay in camp for long, but fans and the media can get a look at a player who already is the early favorite to become baseball’s No. 1 prospect when the next top 100 lists come out.

I've never seen him live except for his press conference.

The four catchers were expected to receive invites, so no surprises there. Missing is Randy Florentino, who’s on Norfolk's roster after the Orioles selected him in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft.

Díaz, O’Hearn, Cordero and Lester will fight for a spot on the opening day roster as the left-handed-hitting backup first baseman. However, the Orioles haven’t closed the competition. Elias is continuing his search.

Watson was a no-doubter after receiving the organization’s minor league Pitcher of the Year award. Neustrom was in camp last spring and didn’t figure to be shoved to the minor league side despite failing to build on his impressive 2021 season.

Cameron and Vallimont came off the 40-man roster after clearing waivers and were assured of receiving invites.

Povich, acquired from the Twins in the Jorge López deadline trade, gets more attention now with his inclusion in ESPN’s top 100, checking it at No. 54. He didn’t make any other list.  

Creating these rankings isn’t an exact science.

MLB Pipeline tabbed left-hander Zac Lowther as the organization’s No. 10 prospect and infielder Adam Hall 13th in 2020. Lowther made his major league debut the following year and had one relief appearance last summer. Hall posted a .354 on-base percentage in 50 games with Double-A Bowie and got into two games with Norfolk.

They were two omissions yesterday that most stood out to me.

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