The Orioles added outfielder Yusniel Diaz, right-handed pitchers Michael Baumann and Isaac Mattson, left-handers Zac Lowther and Alexander Wells and infielder Rylan Bannon to their 40-man roster on Friday.
The moves, which fill the 40-man roster, exempt the players from being selected in the December 10th Rule 5 draft.
To make room for the six players, the Orioles designated infielder/designated hitter Renato Núñez for assignment.
Diaz, a 24-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder, was acquired in the July 2018 trade that sent Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .265 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs for Double-A Bowie, High-A Frederick and Short Season-A Aberdeen in 2019. Diaz spent 2020 at the alternate site in Bowie after the minor league season was canceled.
Diaz is the Orioles’ eighth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and the highest-ranking one protected from the draft.
The 25-year-old Baumann, who was the Orioles’ third-round draft pick in 2017, also spent the summer at the alternate site before a flexor strain in his right arm ended his season. In 2019, Baumann was 7-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 24 games with Bowie and Frederick. He’s ranked ninth by MLB Pipeline.
Lowther, 24, was the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2017 and was 13-7 with a 2.55 ERA for the Baysox. Slowed by an oblique injury in 2020, he spent part of the summer at the Bowie alternate site. Lowther is ranked 11th by MLB Pipeline.
Mattson, 25, was one of four right-handed pitchers the Orioles obtained in the December 2019 trade with the Los Angeles Angels for Dylan Bundy. He’s not ranked by MLB Pipeline. Mattson was also at the alternate site in 2020.In 2019, he was 6-3 with a 2.33 ERA and a save for Triple-A Salt Lake, Double-A Mobile and High-A Inland Empire.
Bannon, 24, was also acquired in the Machado trade. He plays second and third base and was a late addition to the 60-man player pool last season. He hit .266 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs for Triple-A Norfolk and Bowie in 2019.
Wells, a 23-year-old Australian left-hander, was 8-6 with a 2.95 ERA in 2019 for Bowie.
Núñez hit .256 with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs in 52 games for the Orioles in 2020. He was eligible for arbitration and didn’t appear to have a spot for 2021 with the return of Trey Mancini, who’s likely to play first, and a surplus of outfielders who also could be used as designated hitters.
Among those left unprotected are infielder Mason McCoy and right-hander Zach Pop.
Others ranked in the top 30 who were left unprotected are right-handed pitcher Brenan Hanifee (27th), left-handed pitcher Drew Rom (23rd), and right-hander Cody Sedlock (26th). Sedlock was the Orioles’ top draft choice in 2016.