Minor Tuesday: Orioles uncover productive undrafted players - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Minor Tuesday: Orioles uncover productive undrafted players

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Because of the Major League Baseball draft, Todd Karpovich’s minor league report is running on Tuesday this week.

Although much of the focus is on the progress of the Orioles’ higher draft picks, a number of undrafted players are thriving in the minors. Last year, because of the draft, which was limited to five rounds, teams were permitted to sign undrafted free agents for $20,000. With a 20-round draft, that will continue this year.

Infielders TT Bowens and J.D. Mundy, and right-handed pitchers Ryan Watson and Brandon Young were among eight undrafted college players signed by the Orioles last season.

It’s a credit to the club’s scouts to find players who flew under the radar of other teams, according to executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.

“We have a great scouting staff and a group of analysts in the front office that are targeting and identifying these guys,” Elias said.

Young is 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 games, including eight starts, at Low-A Delmarva. He has 50 strikeouts and 20 walks during that stretch. Last season, he got his first taste of pro ball at the Orioles’ Fall Instructional League camp in Sarasota, Florida.

Young was a highly touted pitcher at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but he was not selected in the two-day, 160-player MLB draft last year. He went 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA with team-leading 37 strikeouts in a team-high 24 2/3 innings for Ragin’ Cajuns before the 2020 season was shut down because of Covid-19.

Bowens was named the Low-A East League Player of the Week for June 28-July 4. He played in all six Shorebirds games, going 12-for-22 (.545) with a .630 on-base percentage while slugging 1.045 for an OPS of 1.675. Bowens had two doubles and three homers while driving in six runs. He walked four times while striking out just three times.

Overall, Bowens is batting .258 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs after a slow start to the season. He was Named MVP of the Northeast Conference Tournament in 2017 after hitting .636 with a 1.363 SLG in three games for Central Connecticut State University.

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Mundy, who played at Radford, has been strong at Aberdeen and is batting .292. He was named the organization’s top position player for June and leads the Orioles’ minor-league affiliates with 12 homers.

Watson was a standout player at SEC power Auburn where he had a 1.23 ERA in five appearances for the Tigers during his senior season in 2020, which was shortened because of the pandemic. Watson made 58 appearances for Auburn, including five starts. He had a 4.67 ERA, with 79 strikeouts and 35 walks in 90 2/3 innings.

Watson is 3-1 with 0.90 in 10 appearances, including three starts for the Shorebirds. He has been a promising pitcher in the minors.

Elias is confident the Orioles can find more of these players after this year’s draft, which concludes Tuesday.

“It feels a little different this year when it comes to the post-draft, undrafted free agents,” Elias said. “This is a new thing, starting in 2020. You’re capped at $20,000 to sign these guys. What’s different this year is that there’s 20 rounds.

“All these kids were hoping to be drafted as of today, so to call them and talk about being a post-draft signing, it’s not something we do anyway. But all these kids are deserving of and hoping to be going in the draft, so as soon as the draft ends, as soon as Day 3 ends, that’s when we’ll start our process and make them aware  of the opportunity that’s here with our player development and our desire to raise players internally and the opportunity to make it to the big-league level as home-grown players.

“We’ll be able to sell them on that opportunity. We’re going to wait until after the draft comes, and probably a lot of them are going to come from players who were on our draft board but didn’t get selected.”

Futures Stars: Adley Rutschman, who is the No. 2 prospect in all of MLB behind Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco. leads Double-A Bowie with 18 multi-hit games. He’s had two hits 14 times, and three hits four times. Overall, Rutschman is batting .283/.413/.507 with 12 homers, 37 RBIs and 42 runs in 56 games. Rutschman was selected to participate in the MLB All-Star Futures Game on Sunday in Denver. He flew out to the left field in the second inning before walking in the fourth. He was replaced by Cleveland’s Bo Naylor in the bottom of the fourth. The National League beat the American League, 8-3. … Norfolk reliever Marcos Díplan entered the All-Star Futures Game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. He struck out San Francisco’s Heliot Ramos with an 81-mile-per-hour curveball. Díplan allowed home runs to Brennen Davis of the Cubs’ organization and Francisco Álvarez of the Mets’ organization before departing in the sixth.

Relief: Since June 15th, the relievers for Triple-A Norfolk have a 2.74 ERA (31 earned runs, 102 innings). During that span, Evan Phillips leads with 11 1/3 scoreless innings while Dusten Knight is second with 11.0 scoreless innings. Phillips also leads in relief strikeouts with 13, leading Shawn Armstrong, Cody Carroll and Knight, who have 12 over that stretch.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    July 13, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Unfortunately the biggest selling point to undrafted players is not the O’s player development, seeing their record & not having too many legit options on their MLB roster is more incentive, you can play right away (lol) if you’re good enough…go O’s…

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 13, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Strength in numbers I guess. I’m hoping it’s not more like quantity over quality.

    If on day one of the Mike Elias watch, he would have told us that would take 5 or more years to be competitive … (and by competitive I mean not an embarrasment) … how many of us would have been OK with that?

  3. Orial

    July 13, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Looks like Diplan showed to a national audience what Orioles relievers are really capable of. Ouch. Elias must have his hopes burried deep in Delmarva/Aberdeen for this “deep” young pitching depth,it’s certainly not in this draft(at least in numbers). Once Hall,Rodriguez make their debuts that’s the next level. I still say this international talent they’re stockpiling is where the real hidden gems lie.

  4. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 13, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    “From the time they were both hired, just several weeks apart, Elias and Hyde have been transparent about embarking on a long-term rebuild and the struggles such a strategy is bound to bring. The Orioles finished with baseball’s second-worst record in 2019, its fifth-worst in 2020 and own baseball’s second-worst record through 67 games this season. All told, Hyde is 101-188 at the helm.” Joe Trezza
    “I will say that I hired Brandon,” Elias said. “We handpicked him for this job because of his skills, because of the relationship, because of his references, because of his broad perspective across baseball operations, from the dugout all the way to the Gulf Coast League and everything in between. He is a partner with us in this multi-year project. We all knew this would be a multi-year project. We knew there were going to be some rough years.”
    I guess some people need a couple sticks of dynamite lit between their ears for this all to sync in that from day one this was going to take a multi-year rebuild.

  5. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 13, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    BALTIMORE (AP) — “Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias was hired Friday to rebuild the Baltimore Orioles, who traded many of their star players last season before finishing with the worst record in the majors.” By David Ginsburg November 16, 2018
    Everywhere you read, this was going to be a rebuild and this doesn’t happen overnight but multiple years like any other rebuild!

  6. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 13, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    BALTIMORE — “Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias was hired Friday to rebuild the Baltimore Orioles, who traded many of their star players last season before finishing with the worst record in the majors.” Associated press November 16, 2018 This was written everywhere!!!

  7. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 13, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    “We’re trying to get better, we’re trying to amplify the talent base across the whole organization, as we’ve been talking about for two years now,” Elias said recently. This was written last year November 16, 2020. And this is true, Mike Elias has been openly honest on this rebuild since he was hired. All these articles stated the same thing that since he was hired, Elias has been transparent about embarking on a long-term rebuild.

  8. CalsPals

    July 13, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Great cut & paste, thx again…go O’s…

  9. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 13, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Cut/paste with quotes from all over the press to again prove my point. And sarcasm or not you’re welcome.

  10. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 13, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    I mean how many times does it have to be written and to take for the concept of a multi year rebuild to sync in for some people. I guess some people just don’t get it no matter how many times it’s told to them.

    • CalsPals

      July 13, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      I think you mean sink, damn spellcheck, you’re welcome, go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 13, 2021 at 10:32 pm

        LOL ..that auto-correct feature is the “worste”.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 14, 2021 at 5:06 pm

        Yeah you’re right – “sink” as an after thought. Not used as an excuse, but my original thought was going to be that all of the multiple Mike Elias references/statements that I posted – “that a multi year rebuild was in play from day one”, and how that needs to get in sync or align with others posters thoughts or opinions on this site that may think otherwise but I changed my thought mid stream. Sometimes all my multi tasking and all my ideas come into play faster then I can write them down. I do my best writing when I put all my ideas to “paper” first, then put it for others to read. But I don’t have the time for that here nor do I care. So if “sync” is all that you got out of my post or your best come back, then you missed the point. And if I ever need a proof reader I’ll ask for one. And you’re welcome!

  11. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 14, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    So basically next time just swap “sync in” with get “in sync”. And you’re welcome!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 14, 2021 at 7:09 pm

      Theres a boy band joke in there somewhere.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 14, 2021 at 7:49 pm

        I was almost going to delete that last post just because of that reference. Brr – you may have the pun police looking for you. And then your calendar days will be numbered. Lol

    • CalsPals

      July 14, 2021 at 8:36 pm

      Hopefully Timberlake & Nashville aren’t involved…lol…go O’s…

    • dlgruber1

      July 15, 2021 at 2:27 am

      It certainly wouldn’t be INXS.

    • CalsPals

      July 15, 2021 at 7:40 am

      Hysterical DL, well played:)….go O’s…

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