A few power arms plus more catchers as international prospect rankings list concludes

Juan Nunez

It’s not necessarily the trade that keeps giving, but a deal where the Orioles seemingly did very well and that might be getting even better.

On Aug. 2, 2022, the O’s dealt righty Jorge López, their closer having a big year, to Minnesota for four pitchers. So far right-hander Yennier Cano has become a late-inning bullpen weapon while lefty Cade Povich is one of their top pitching prospects. Lefty Juan Rojas pitched in the lower minors last year and right-hander Juan Nuñez has a big fastball and leads the third day of the MASNSports.com O’s top 20 international prospect rankings.

He checks in at No. 11 after throwing in 13 games each in 2023 for Low-A Delmarva and High-A Aberdeen.

While he did not win a game – going 0-6 with a 3.96 ERA – Nuñez has shown a good strikeout rate and enough potential to rank 14th on this list and to currently rank No. 22 by Baseball America on the O’s team top 30 list.

Nuñez pitched a combined 104 2/3 innings in 2023 with 58 walks, 125 strikeouts, a .220 average against and 1.36 WHIP. He posted a 10.75 K rate last year and that number is 11.18 for his career, spanning 201 innings.

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O's international prospects: More than just Samuel Basallo making noise


During a season where the Orioles have the current top record in the American League and are headed to the playoffs, plus the No. 1 ranked farm system, we also saw some confirmation and validation recently that the Orioles' international program is also starting to make some noise.

The biggest noise and it was real loud, came from 19-year-old catcher Samuel Basallo from the Dominican Republic. Signed by the club in January of 2021 for $1.3 million, he rose three levels this season, starting at Low Single-A Delmarva, moving to High-A Aberdeen and ended the year with Double-A Bowie.

Then he moved into top 100 prospects lists and flew up the rankings. Now he is rated No. 43 nationally by Baseball America and No. 46 by MLBPipeline.com and No. 5 on the O’s top 30.

This week, Basallo was named the Most Valuable Player and top MLB prospect in the Carolina League. He hit .313 with a .953 OPS in 114 games across three levels. In 83 games with the Shorebirds-only he hit .299/.384/.503/.887 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs.

On top of all that, Basallo led a group of seven Orioles prospects recently selected in the Dominican Winter League draft. The six teams draft 16 rounds. The seven selections tied the O’s for most among any MLB organizations, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets also with seven.

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Some pitchers filter in as we hit the third day of the O's international prospects rankings


When we published the Orioles' top 20 international prospects list Saturday with players we have ranked No. 2 through No. 10, there were no pitchers, but several do make this list as we wrap it up today.

Among the final 10 players here are six pitchers, five right-handers and a lefty. Several can bring some heat for such young players but most have to work on deliveries and command to lower walk rates as they move up the minor league ladder.

No. 11 - RHP Luis Sánchez: The Orioles signed Sanchez for $200,000 on Jan. 15, 2019. He turns 20 on March 4. He had some small, nagging injury issues and did not pitch in an official minor league game in 2022 while working on a strengthening program. But he did throw innings against live hitters at instructional league after the season and pitched well and impressed, showing some upper-90s velocity.

From San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, Sánchez brings a fastball that has been up to 99 mph and often sits in the mid-90s. His slider has become a solid secondary, and he throws an average changeup at this point. Between the Florida Complex League and Dominican Summer League in 2021, he went 0-4 with a 7.23 ERA. In 37 1/3 innings he walked 29 and fanned 39, allowing a .268 batting average. But the stuff is plus at times and he needs to just harness his command and stay healthy. He could be a starter for low Single-A Delmarva this year. 

No. 12 – Infielder Joshua Liranzo: A right-handed hitter, he was part of the January 2023 signing class and, at $500,000, got the second-highest bonus from the Orioles in this class after Luis Almeyda, who received $2.3 million and is fourth on this list.

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Some of the newly acquired pitchers get off to good starts for O's farm

camden yards

Most of the six new pitchers the Orioles acquired in the recent trades of Trey Mancini to Houston and Jorge López to Minnesota have gotten off to good starts for their new organization.

The Orioles added three top 30 prospects.

For Mancini they got right-hander Seth Johnson from Tampa Bay. He underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 3, so the Orioles won’t see him for a while, but MLBPipeline.com ranks him as the club's No. 8 prospect. Baseball America has him at No. 10. After Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall, Johnson is now the Orioles' third highest-rated pitcher.

The O’s also added 23-year-old right-hander Chayce McDermott from Houston in that deal. He now ranks as Baltimore’s No. 12 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, and No. 17 in Baseball America's estimation. In two games with the Orioles' high Single-A Aberdeen team, he has allowed two runs and three hits in five innings, going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA with one walk to 10 strikeouts.

In the deal with Minnesota, the O’s added lefty Cade Povich, also pitching at Aberdeen. In his first start for his new organization, he threw six scoreless innings on one hit last Saturday. MLBPipeline.com ranks Povich as the O’s No. 26 prospect, while Baseball America puts him at No. 29.

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A look at the pitchers the Orioles got in the Jorge López deal

yennier cano twins

In a move designed to obtain future talent for a current All-Star closer, the Orioles today traded right-hander Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins for a package of four pitchers. And yes, they made this move while they are just 2 1/2 games out of the last American League playoff spot.

Here is a bit more on the four players they got from the Twins for López, a player the Orioles acquired via waivers from the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 9, 2020. This season he has recorded 19 saves with a 1.68 ERA.

The O's added left-hander Cade Povich, a third-round pick out of Nebraska in 2021 (No. 98 overall) who has pitched this year at high Single-A Cedar Rapids. He is 6-8 with a 4.46 ERA. In 78 2/3 innings, he has allowed 71 hits and nine homers with 26 walks and 107 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. He has a 2.97 walk rate and 12.24 strikeout rate.

One scout I spoke with said his fastball averages in the 92 mph range but has touched 96 this season. He also throws a curveball in the high 70s, slider in the 80-81 range and a firm changeup around 84 mph. The scout liked his slider as his best secondary and described him as “polished, college lefty.” He throws a lot of strikes, especially with his fastball and slider, and mixes in the other pitches as chase and putaway offerings.

MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis discussed Povich on MLB Network.

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Orioles trade Jorge López to Twins

jorge lopez pitches gray

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Orioles proved this morning that they weren’t done dealing. And the distance between them and the last wild card spot wouldn’t matter.

Closer Jorge López has been traded to the Twins for four minor league pitchers. Both teams announced it a few minutes ago.

The Orioles are receiving left-handers Cade Povich and Juan Rojas, and right-handers Yennier Canó and Juan Nuñez.

More talent for the pipeline. Another important member of a surprise contender, with high velocity and character, headed out the door.

López made his first All-Star team this year and led the Orioles with 19 saves while posting a 1.68 ERA and 0.972 WHIP in 44 games in his first season as closer. He struck out 54 batters in 48 1/3 innings.

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