From time to time it is very interesting and also educational to hear from scouts from organizations outside of Baltimore to get opinions on Orioles players.
I did just that recently with an American League scout who provided several solid insights on various O’s minor league players. He had coverage of a few O’s farm teams this year and got some good looks at players. He was generous with his time and opinions.
We jumped around to various players, some highly ranked and others not ranked. So it’s a nice look at several players. Today is part one of this, and in part two the scout provides some insights on Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall and more.
The scout was pretty high on right-hander Dean Kremer, who was recently added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster. Kremer went 9-6 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.30 WHIP between three teams in 2019. He threw 9 1/3 scoreless innings for Single-A Frederick, pitched to a 2.98 ERA in 15 starts for Double-A Bowie and an 8.84 ERA in four late-season starts for Triple-A Norfolk. He went 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA in the Arizona Fall League.
Scout on Kremer: “I thought he has a chance to have a plus curveball and plus command. I liked his slider. I gave him average pitches across the board with a plus curve. We had several guys that liked him, and one graded him as a solid, mid-of-the-rotation starter.
“He was 89 to 93 (mph) with good carry at the top of the zone and a lot of armside (action). He really pitches inside with his fastball and makes hitters uncomfortable. Can really establish the inside and then work away with the slider and curve. He can work north-south and he can work east-west. He has more than one way to get people out. I was impressed with him. If he had pure size or (more) arm strength he’d really be something interesting.
“He knows how to pitch with four pitches and he has a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C to get guys out. I really liked him and he was real good in the fall league. He was one of the more competitive guys out there. One of the more pleasant surprises of the fall league for me.”
Right-hander Michael Baumann went 7-6 with a 2.98 ERA, .194 average against and 1.05 WHIP between Frederick and Bowie. He elevated his game when he got to Bowie, going 6-2 with a 2.31 ERA over 13 games. In 70 innings, he gave up only 45 hits and just two homers. He pitched a nine-inning no-hitter on July 16 versus Harrisburg. The 24-year-old Baumann shared the Jim Palmer O’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award with Rodriguez.
Scout on Baumann: “I was a bit lower on him than some in our organization. We saw him up to 97 (mph) with that riding life and hop that teams are looking for now - that four-seam, up-in-the-zone action. He has the ability to pitch with that and gets swinging strikes up in the zone. The Astros really emphasize that and I’m sure the Orioles will do the same. His fastball was a real plus pitch with some natural cut to it. It might be a 70 (on the 20-80 scout scale). It’s really tough to hit thrown hard with life. Curveball has some depth. I didn’t love it when I saw him. His slider is solid, kind of cuttery.”
Right-handed reliever Tim Naughton features a solid fastball. Between Delmarva and Frederick and one inning for Bowie, he went 3-4 with a 2.79 ERA with 20 saves in 24 chances. He fanned 74 in 51 2/3 innings.
Scout on Naughton: “We had a guy that saw him. He sure had an eye-popping strikeout rate. A high-effort guy that we saw 91 to 94 with his fastball. He threw the fastball to both sides well and was just wild enough to help him. There is a high spin rate to the slider, so there is potential for that pitch. He lost some velocity later in the year, down a bit from earlier. He doesn’t get a ton of extension in his delivery, and we didn’t see his changeup very much. But the spin rates give you something to work with.”
Shortstop Mason McCoy, drafted in round six of the First-Year Player Draft in 2017, hit .290/.345/.378 between Frederick and Bowie. Batting .379 in 27 games to start the year for the Keys, he was moved to Bowie in early May and helped the Baysox get their season turned around. He hit .266 in 105 games for Bowie.
Scout on McCoy: “He’s interesting because (the Orioles) have so little in the middle infield. I put a grade on him as an up-and-down extra guy. He had more pop in batting practice than I expected, especially to the pull side. I did not expect to grade him with average raw power. Again, not present, game power, but raw power. He had some pop and he really has soft hands.
“He may be better suited at second base than shortstop. But his hands are real good. I only had his speed as around average, but Statcast in the Fall League had him above average. To me, his hands and his speed are his best attributes. And he does make pretty good contact with a fairly short swing. His bat speed was probably in the average range and he got beat sometimes by velocity. I think at shortstop he would make all the plays he can get to, but his range may be a bit short. His arm is in the average range.”
The scout likes Ryan Ripken’s power potential. Ripken hit .276/.312/.409 between Frederick and Bowie.
Scout on Ripken: “I probably saw him at his best. He had some real easy plus raw power. He played great the weekend I saw him. He’s not a great athlete but might stick around a bit because of that power.”
Outfielder Zach Jarrett was drafted in round 28 in 2017 out of Charlotte. Between Frederick and Bowie he hit .270/.324/.391.
Scout on Jarrett: “I like Zach Jarrett. I didn’t put a huge grade on him. There is a lot of effort in his game, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he made the majors. He may not be a super impact guy. I also saw him some in college. He just keeps on getting better. He’s a fringe-average runner. We saw him play center field in Frederick. He can really throw with at least an average arm. I liked him and his feel and approach for hitting. He was aggressive on pitches in the zone but also, at times, selective.”