SARASOTA, Fla. - We’ll probably overlook some players, but a partial list of Orioles drafted and developed players that showed some talent at major league spring training includes Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns, Hunter Harvey, Tanner Scott, Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hays and DJ Stewart.
This list only includes players with little big league experience and not those from the farm already helping the big club, like Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy to name just four.
Yesterday, third baseman Jomar Reyes came over from minor league camp and hit a two-run homer. A week ago Sunday there was the game in Fort Myers when the Orioles used seven homegrown pitchers to beat Boston 7-3. The run of pitchers that day started with Harvey, who was followed by Scott, Keegan Akin, Michael Baumann, Brenan Hanifee, Zac Lowther and Ryan Meisinger. Some of that group has not pitched past short season Single-A Aberdeen, but they held their own that day against the Red Sox.
After yesterday’s 4-2 win over the Tigers in Lakeland, manager Buck Showalter talked about the better depth on the farm now.
“Keep in mind the system got taken to the big leagues,” he said. “Manny and Schoop and all these guys. When you take those guys to the big leagues, you are going to have a little downtick for a while. But slowly and surely, we’re getting back that depth again. ... It would be a stretch to not find a phase of it (at an affiliate) somewhere in the organization where you don’t feel good about something coming.”
Sisco, the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2013, remains in the competition for the backup catcher’s job with Andrew Susac after Wynns was optioned to the minors Sunday.
The 23-year-old lefty hitter had a double and triple on Monday afternoon. Sisco also caught Chris Tillman who had a solid outing. Then Susac entered the game in the sixth and went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles.
Sisco is 11-for-28, batting .393/.452/.714, and he has more extra-base hits than singles with four doubles, a triple, a homer and six RBIs.
Could that sweet swing and strong batting average put him over the top in earning an opening-day roster spot?
“You know, the priority will always be who can catch and call the game,” Showalter said. “The rest of it is kind of icing on the cake. But he’s had a track record in Single-A and Double-A of hitting well. Was a tough act to follow in Triple-A last year, but he held his own there.”
Tillman talk: It was quite a difference over a span of a few days for Tillman. A week ago today in Fort Myers, he walked six of 14 batters, allowed four runs and got just six outs. His fastball ranged from 87-90 mph.
Yesterday against what could be Detroit’s opening day lineup, he allowed six hits and one run over five innings. He didn’t walk or strike out a batter in a 78-pitch outing where his fastball touched 93 mph. Yep, it went a lot better.
Detroit’s middle of the order - Miguel Cabrera, Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Martinez went a combined 0-for-7 against Tillman.
“When you see some guys just missing fastballs up, four-seamers, it usually means he’s got a little extra today,” Showalter said. “He threw a lot of pitches, 92, 93 (mph) today. That was good to see. A big jump from last outing. It was encouraging.”
Tillman said it was important to show he can get some positive results.
“I think you want to see some results,” he said. “Especially more so for the staff and your teammates. They don’t want to roll into the season, seeing you going out there and giving it up. It was good.”