An initial scan of the Orioles’ fall instructional league roster, which confirmed the absence of second overall draft pick Heston Kjerstad, highlighted the prospects invited to the Ed Smith Stadium complex and challenged the mind to remember a few of the names.
The easy ones to identify.
I had to do a little research to become acquainted with right-hander Noah Denoyer. I honestly didn’t ... wait for it ... Noah much about him.
He deserves better. From my memory and choice of puns.
The signing of Denoyer as an undrafted free agent didn’t draw much notice. He joined the organization in late July 2019 and appeared in three games with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, allowing two runs with five strikeouts over four innings.
Denoyer, 22, pitched at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., and committed to Oklahoma State University. He underwent Tommy John surgery In December 2017 and spent a year out of baseball before getting back on the mound.
Scouts also were able to watch Denoyer in the Northwoods League in the summer of 2019, when he appeared in nine games for the collegiate-level Eau Claire Express and allowed seven earned runs with 24 strikeouts in 21 innings.
The reports on Denoyer include a fastball in the 90-94 mph range with late run and a low-80s curveball. A month down in Sarasota is going to give the Orioles a better sense of his range of development.
Seeing Luis Ortiz on any list makes me do a double take that could sprain my neck.
Not that Luis Ortiz.
This one was ranked 29th among Orioles prospects by MLBPipeline.com heading into 2020. He’s 18, left-handed and recipient of a $400,000 signing bonus last summer as executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias tackled the international market.
The Ortiz bio from MLBPipeline.com includes the following:
“Ortiz is a big, strong lefty with an excellent pitcher’s body and the potential to have an exciting three-pitch mix.”
An excellent pitcher’s body should clear up any confusion.
Ortiz’s fastball touches 93 mph and scouts believe his curveball, with good shape, can become a plus pitch. He should have been assigned to the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, but the cancelation of the minor league season thwarted those plans.
The Luis Ortiz acquired from the Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop was outrighted off the 40-man roster on Oct. 30, 2019. He didn’t receive an invitation to spring training, but was summoned a few times from Twin Lakes Park to provide an extra arm.
The Orioles signed Panamanian right-hander Héctor López in December 2018. In his only season of professional baseball at 18, he registered a 2.05 ERA, a 1.139 WHIP and a .195 average-against in 13 starts in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.
López surrendered one home run in 53 2/3 innings.
Felipe Rojas Alou Jr., the director of the organization’s Dominican Academy, praised López last year in an interview with MASNsports.com.
“Throws strikes and mixes pitches well and really knows what he is doing out there with a good plan,” Alou said. “His fastball is in the high 80s right now.”
The Orioles are going to find out whether it climbed in 2020.
They’re going to find out a lot more.