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The Orioles will host their annual minicamp in Sarasota, Fla., next week, giving the big league staff a chance to look at some of the organization’s more intriguing minor leaguers before spring training rolls around.
Certainly, the club’s three Rule 5 picks will get a long look from Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Roger McDowell, among others.
There will also be a chance to monitor how some previously injured players are rebounding this offseason.
One guy who has a tremendous opportunity to start impressing Showalter and Company next week is 24-year-old right-hander David Hess.
The fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft out of Tennessee Tech was placed on the Orioles’ 40-man roster this offseason, shielding him from the Rule 5 draft.
He hasn’t pitched above Double-A and has spent the past two full seasons with the Bowie Baysox, going 11-9 with a 3.85 ERA in 27 games (26 starts last year). His numbers haven’t been eye-popping, but he’s young, durable and throws his fastball in the mid-90s.
Because he’s now on the 40-man roster, and likely will start 2018 in the Triple-A Norfolk rotation, Hess is just one phone call away from the big leagues.
He had another phone call recently – one with Adam Pohl for this week’s Minor League Podcast. Pohl, the voice of the Baysox, and Hess talked before the holidays about what 2018 could mean for Hess. And what it was like to find out that he had been placed on the 40-man roster.
Pohl has seen Hess pitch for parts of three seasons now, and so he has a sense of what makes the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder click on the mound.
If you are curious as to who David Hess is, you definitely should listen to this podcast.