Baumann, Lowther and Diaz could help Orioles in 2021 -

Rich Dubroff

Baumann, Lowther and Diaz could help Orioles in 2021

Zac Lowther didn’t spend much time at the Bowie alternate site this past summer. Slowed by an oblique injury, he wasn’t added to the 60-man player pool until September 4th, but he made the most of his time there.

Lowther was one of six players added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster on Friday. He was joined by left-hander Alexander Wells, right-handers Michael Baumann and Isaac Mattson, infielder Rylan Bannon and outfielder Yusniel Diaz.

Infielder/designated hitter Renato Núñez was designated for assignment to bring the roster to 40. Those promoted are protected from the Rule 5 draft that takes place next month.

“Once I got to Bowie, it was working on basically just getting some innings,” Lowther said in a Friday night video conference call that included Baumann and Diaz.

“It was an accelerated pace. Going to Bowie, and then going to instructional camp [in Sarasota, Florida] was probably the most beneficial two months that I’ve had in baseball in a long time in terms of development.”

Lowther had three weeks in Bowie and nearly a month in Sarasota.

“When you’re there, you don’t have that desire to get better as well as compete because sometimes you get both of those, and you get crossed up. One or the other suffers. Having these two camps this year gave me an opportunity to work on stuff without having to worry about results, so that was beneficial to me, and I made a lot of strides with that.”

Lowther, 24, who was the Orioles’ second-round draft pick in 2017, has a 2.26 ERA in his three years in Baltimore’s minor league system. He’s allowed just 17 home runs in 326 minor league innings.

“I made some big jumps this year in terms of development and just growth as a baseball player in mindset, being able to withstand this coronavirus pandemic,” Lowther said.


Lowther and Wells were given invitations to the major league camp but since neither had pitched above Double-A, they weren’t given serious consideration. Both were sent to the minor league camp quickly.

“I think that the biggest thing going into next year is going in there ready to compete,” Lowther said. “Last year, I wasn’t on the 40-man roster, so it’s an outside shot that guys make it when they’re not on the roster already. I know this year I have a chance. I’m going to go in there with every intention of being able to compete for a spot because I know that the organization wants me here.

“I’m in a really good position, and as long as I do what I’m capable of doing, it’s going to work out well for me.”

Baumann,  Wells and Lowther could provide depth for the starting rotation. In 2020, Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer, both new to the 40-man roster, and Bruce Zimmermann, who received an invitation to camp, impressed in spring training and got their opportunities later in the 2020 season. It could be the same for Baumann, Lowther and Wells this time around.

“We all kind of went through the system, played together,” Baumann said.  “Seeing them have success up there in Baltimore is great. Very exciting, very encouraging. I think it shows the future is bright, and there’s a lot of good things coming.”.

Baumann’s season ended early when he suffered an injury to his right flexor mass tendon.

“It’s been feeling good. I’ve been making strides there as far as rehab goes,” Baumann said. “I think there’s been progress there. I’m looking forward to taking more steps forward.”

Baumann, the team’s third-round draft choice in 2017, has compiled a 2.82 ERA in 297 innings. He also got a lot out of his time in Bowie.

“We were able to hone in on some things I personally needed to make adjustments for,” he said. “Mentally, physically, make steps forward that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do with the season going on.

“There are definitely some losses there without having the [minor league] season, but if you have the right mindset, you can take some good out of it.”

Baumann was a college classmate of Austin Hays at Jacksonville University. Hays was taken in the third round a year earlier.

Lowther went to Xavier University with Bannon, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Rylan’s been with me since college, and having him along for the ride since 2018 has been really, really cool,” Lowther said. “We have that roommate bond that we had college, and getting to live with each other last year, that’s really cool.”

Lowther and Wells are left-handers and both wear glasses.

“Me and Alex, we’re always getting compared to each other,” Lowther said. “Getting to experience major league camp with him and then going to this year, being on the 40-man with him is really cool. I’ve gotten to know those guys very well, and they’re like brothers to me, and I love them.”

Baumann, Lowther and Diaz were expected to be added to the 40-man roster. Diaz came to the Orioles along with Bannon and Kremer in the July 2018 trade that sent Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Diaz will be vying for a place in the Orioles’ outfield, which already includes Hays, Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle and possibly DJ Stewart,

“It means so much for me,” he said of being added to the roster through an interpreter.

“I was hoping for something like this to come true. Now, it’s a reality, so now it’s time to work.”

Diaz also cited his time in Bowie.

“Despite the circumstances, I felt pretty good,” Diaz said. “I was able to work on my speed, and my agility, improve my defense, and also to work on my hitting. I’m looking forward for next season.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Tony Paparella

    November 23, 2020 at 9:32 am

    These are the reasons there really is no need to pick up any other veterans for the starting pitching.Cobb is costing enough, and unless they can deal him ( and that is doubtful) there is no need financially to take on another salary that will have little impact on the team.The organization needs to see what these guys can do up in the Bigs and they come with great stats so let’s get’em going.They may or may not stumble initially but the team has to start working these guys in as they are the immediate future.It should be a fun season watching these prospects get there chance and that includes Diaz who is fans will be excited to see.If there is a full season, and they perform positively in the spring, I am sure we will be seeing them.

  2. Baltimore Castaway

    November 23, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Excellent to read some soundbites from these young up-and-coming players.

    Have seen several of them at Bowie in 2018 and 2019. These guys have improved credentials and higher ceilings as players than many of the Orioles prospects that preceded them over the last 5-6 years.
    They aren’t “world-beaters” but they do have talent and have the potential to be productive core players for the team’s turnaround.

    The one guy that should be further along is Yusniel Diaz..he has the potential to be a Blue Chip ML outfielder. For whatever reasons he has stalled; maybe it’s the language barrier, maybe it’s a poor work ethic, maybe he spends too much time counting the $15M in Bonus Money that the Dodgers gave him…. Hoping he turns on the burners….

    • willmiranda

      November 23, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      Agree about Diaz. He just doesn’t have the track record he should. It’s just assumed that he’s a blue chipper, but I can’t see him as automatically even on a par with the outfielders we have, who have shown that they can compete at the ML level. It’s not merely that he’s not played above AA, but also that he’s not distinguished himself, at least statistically, at the levels he’s played at.

  3. Orial

    November 23, 2020 at 10:24 am

    Agree about NOT taking on a mediocre veteran to fill the so called starting gaps. Cobb/Means/Lopez provide enough veteran experience. Try out these young guns. Save the 500k contracts. Not worth it. O’s love their “slightly overweight” or msybr stocky( to put it nicer) style pitchers. Where’s these 6′-7″/wirey/intimidating ones’ like you see in TB,etc.? Can’t wait for the International signees to come to fruition.

  4. Bhoffman1

    November 23, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    I think you left Mountcastle out of the outfield mix.

    • Jack Gibbons

      November 23, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      Bruce, That was my omission in editing Rich’s story. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. 33d St

    November 23, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    Agree that Diaz has some progress to make before he can jump into the OF mix. I guess he could push DJ off the roster and force RM to 1st. I’d think Trey will get his share of time at DH in ‘21 as he works back to full strength, but that’s a guess.

    • 33d St

      November 23, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      Oops. Hit send before I meant to. But anyway I see that Nunez roster spot first going to DJ who really is the same guy but with more walks. But if Diaz proves ready to play and hit I’d think he plays LF which kicks Mountcastle to 1b/DH with Trey. Assuming of course another bout of knee tendinitis once again sidelines the $26 million man.

      • Birdman

        November 24, 2020 at 8:40 am

        Don’t agree that DJ Stewart and Nunez are the “same guy” … yes, Stewart has essentially the same “ratio” of home runs and RBIs per at bat as Nunez, but big difference is that, although they are both 26 years old (Stewart is actually 6 months older than Nunez), Nunez has four times as many MLB at bats as Stewart

        Nunez has established over the past two seasons that he can be a productive MLB power hitter, while playing every day … Stewart, who will be 27 next week, has played a total of only 92 MLB games in his career – maybe Stewart can become a productive every day hitter, but he has certainly yet to prove that.

    • CalsPals

      November 24, 2020 at 7:26 am

      I think Diaz has a lot to do before he moves Mountcastle anywhere, all he has been is hype at this point, may pan out, but last yr cost him a lot…go O’s…

  6. BGrich2B

    November 24, 2020 at 5:27 am

    Thank you Dan Duquette.

    • CalsPals

      November 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm

      Careful thanking Duquette (although he deserves it), Onesy may go batsh—crazy on you…lol…go O’s…

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