If there is a 2020 baseball season there will no doubt be a few Orioles that will make their major league debuts. How long a list will that be? It will be interesting to see if a season shortened to 82 games means that fewer players debut or if the team will hold off on bringing some players to the majors.
There is also the factor of the minor leagues. What if the minors don’t play in 2020? Will that mean the Orioles will bring some players up to get experience and reps they couldn’t get otherwise?
Here is a list of a few players that could make their major league debuts this season.
Ryan Mountcastle: He’s on the brink of the big leagues and his day is soon coming. Mountcastle’s bat looks ready, although he’ll need to avoid chasing pitches in the majors. He’s an aggressive hitter and big league pitchers try to take advantage of that. A lack of walks is one thing, but Mountcastle will have to make sure he is aggressive at the right times and in the right counts. Expanding the zone is not part of the plan.
If the Orioles promote him, you would hope it is to play every day. Sitting won’t help much, even if there is no minor league season. Mountcastle looked solid in a small sample in left field during spring training in Florida. This could be his future defensive home.
Keegan Akin: Had this been a normal season, it seems likely that Akin would have been in the rotation at Triple-A Norfolk to start the year. But his day is coming, too. The Orioles need to begin to find out if he can help their future rotations.
He didn’t overwhelm anyone on the stat sheet last year in Triple-A, but offense was up big time as the International League used the major league ball for the first time. Akin also worked hard to further develop his secondary pitches and worked to lessen his reliance on his fastball. That plan worked and he made strides.
Dean Kremer: After a solid 2019 season on the farm capped with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League, he’s closing in as well. He pitched just 19 1/3 innings at Triple-A last summer and he could use more time there. But will there even by a Triple-A to pitch at? And if not, does that get him to the majors sooner than planned or expected?
Outfielder Ryan McKenna joined this trio as players added to the O’s 40-man roster last November. Most of the time players on the 40 have an edge when it comes to getting called to the majors. They have already had to use an option to get to the minors and they use just the one option for the entire season.
McKenna has never played at Triple-A nor hit over .239 at Double-A. It’s probably too soon for him, but the Orioles are already likely without Trey Mancini for the entire 2020 season. If they have other outfielder injuries, his name could surface for the big club.
Reliever Marcos Diplán was claimed by the Orioles from Detroit in December but was outrighted off the 40-man in January. If he made the majors this year, it would be his major league debut. But he’s also yet to pitch at the Triple-A level.
There are several players that have made their major league debuts and have a small amount of time in the big leagues but have not debuted with the Orioles yet. That list includes players such as Eric Hanhold, Travis Lakins Sr., Kohl Stewart, Cole Sulser, Bryan Holaday, Hector Velázquez, and any number of the utility candidates like Pat Valaika and Andrew Velazquez.
Could some players that were ticketed for Triple-A break through from the farm for their big league debut? That list could include outfielder Yusniel Diaz, infielders Rylan Bannon and Mason McCoy, and a host of pitchers, including Bruce Zimmermann, Michael Baumann, Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells and Cody Sedlock.
How should the Orioles handle it with their young talent on the cusp in a 2020 season? Which debuts would you most like to see?
Brooks’ birthday bash: Orioles legend Brooks Robinson turned 83 on Monday. The team threw him a party via Zoom and a few O’s Hall of Famers attended. Click the YouTube link within the tweet to see all 13 minutes. Hope No. 5 had a great day!