Baltimore Orioles Minor Leaguers Who Will See Time in the Majors This Season
From prospects to veterans, the Baltimore Orioles have a solid amount of depth in their minor league system.
They did lose a little bit of that depth this past week, however, as Conor Jackson retired on Sunday. The veteran was the Orioles' final cut in the spring as he was narrowly edged out by Steve Pearce for the final bench spot. He was averaging .200 in nine games at Triple-A Norfolk this season.
Jackson would have likely been called up to the O's at some point this season, especially if the Orioles' designated hitters continue to struggle. Still, there are plenty of players in the Orioles' farm system that will get the call to the bigs at some point this year.
Here are current the minor leaguers who will most likely see some time with the O's this season.
As previously mentioned, the Orioles' DHs have been awful in 2013.
How awful exactly?
As of Thursday, Orioles' DHs are a combined 3-for-47, a .064 average, with a lone RBI coming off a solo homer from Nolan Reimold, who has all three of those DH hits. Reimold has the most at-bats as a DH and is 3-for-23. The next most at-bats from a DH comes from Steve Pearce, who is hitless in his 13 ABs.
So, yeah, pretty awful. The Orioles may have had more success letting the pitcher hit.
Sooner or later, the Orioles will bring up a hitter capable of filling the DH role, at least until the return of Wilson Betemit who is out until at least June. The most likely candidate for that call-up is Russ Canzler.
Over the past couple of years Canzler has performed well in Triple-A and has impressed so far in 2013. In 16 games with Norfolk, he's 16-for-48 for a .333 average with three home runs and 12 RBI. He has solid power and besides being a DH, he would be the backup at the corner infield positions.
Zach Britton is a name most O's fans are familiar with on the mound. After a strong start in 2011, the lefty has struggled with inconsistency and injuries ever since.
The 25-year-old did have a chance shot at the Orioles' final rotation spot in the spring and was seen as an early favorite for the role. However, he was out-pitched by Jake Arrieta, and with the rise of Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland, Britton was eventually optioned to Triple-A.
With the early struggles of Arrieta and Chris Tillman, Britton could get the call sooner rather than later. However, if Tillman and Arrieta regain their form, Britton may have to wait a while.
Another favorite for the final rotation spot in the spring was former All-Star Jair Jurrjens.
From 2008 to 2011, Jurrjens was a solid starter in the Atlanta Braves rotation. He even had sub-3.00 ERA seasons in 209 and 2011. However, the wheels fell off for Jurrjens in 2012 as his velocity tanked and his ERA rose to 6.89, all while battling injuries.
Now with those injuries behind him, the 27-year-old will likely get a promotion from Triple-A at some point, especially if he continues to pitch well. He's been a little wild in 2013, but in three starts with Norfolk, he has only allowed five earned runs in 17.1 innings for a 2.60 ERA.
Asencio has been dominate the last couple years at the Triple-A level where he has a career 2.48 ERA.
He is currently closing for Norfolk where he has picked up five saves in six appearances this season. In those six appearances, the 29-year-old has only allowed two hits and one run. He also has six strikeouts and has yet to surrender a walk.
The Orioles will need to bring up a reliever at some point, and even though Asencio isn't already on the 40-man roster, he could still be the first reliever to get the call.
Being the Orioles' third catcher on the 40-man roster, Luis Exposito will likely see some time with the O's this season.
Exposito isn't known for his bat and only went 1-for-18 in Baltimore last season, but he did have a solid spring, albeit in limited at-bats. In 14 games, the 26-year-old hit .381 with a homer and five RBI.
Unless Matt Wieters or Taylor Teagarden get injured, Exposito won't be called up until rosters expand in September. That being said, he will definitely be part of the Orioles come September, as most teams bring up a third catcher late in the season solely as insurance.
Over the last couple of seasons, L.J. Hoes—a third-round pick for the Orioles in 2008—has been one of the most impressive players in the Orioles' farm system. Currently he is the Orioles' sixth-best prospect according to MLB.com.
The second baseman-turned-outfielder hit .300 in 82 games at the Triple-A level last season, and despite his early struggles this season, he should see time with the O's. At worst, the 23-year-old will be a September call-up as he was in 2012.
Despite his 2012 under-performance and his struggle so far in 2013, the Orioles' top fielding prospect according to MLB.com is Jonathan Schoop.
Schoop only hit .245 at Double-A Bowie last year, but he did have 14 homers and 24 doubles. So far this year, the Curacao native has struggled, batting only 7-for-47 and has already committed four errors at shortstop.
The 21-year-old did have the chance to play in the World Baseball Classic this year where he hit two homers representing the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a squad that surprised many by advancing in the tournament.
Schoop will improve as the season continues, and while he won't be the next Manny Machado, he should be a September call-up.
One of the two top pitching prospects for the Orioles, Kevin Gausman should get a taste of the majors in 2013.
After a tremendous spring, the 22-year-old was sent to Double-A to begin the year.
Gausman struggled a bit in two of his three starts so far, but unless that continues throughout the season, it shouldn't hinder his chances of seeing some time in the majors.
While he likely won't be slotted into the rotation on his arrival, last year's fourth overall pick in the draft will probably be given a couple of appearances out of the bullpen no matter what happens, similar to Dylan Bundy last year.
However, there is still a chance Gausman gets a start or two near the end of the season if he improves in Double-A, with an off-chance of getting a decent amount of starts.
Speaking of Dylan Bundy, he has yet to pitch in 2013 and according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, hasn't even begun to throw since experiencing pain in his throwing arm late in March.
While it is slightly unsettling seeing MLB.com's No. 2 overall prospect not even throwing yet, Orioles fans don't need to panic just yet, as the organization is just being extremely cautious with the 20-year-old.
Bundy is pain-free and should start throwing soon. This does damper his chances of being slotted into the rotation early, but if Bundy pitches like he did last year, he will see some starts at some point in the season. At worst, he'll be a September call-up.
He will start in Double-A to begin his season.
Given the right circumstances, whether it be due to an impressive performance or another' player's injury, there are plenty of other minor leaguers who have a legitimate shot of playing with the Orioles this season.
It's impossible to tell exactly how many players will see time with Baltimore in 2013, but a rough estimate would be between 40 and 50 different players. A lot depends on who gets hurt, when they get hurt and who's hot at that particular time. That, and how well the Orioles are playing come the end of the season.