I was finally able to get over to Twin Lakes Park and see the Orioles’ minor leaguers in action. I was sick for my first few nights in Sarasota, running a fever and a sinus infection. Luckily, I have an amazing family that lives in the area and they have treated me like a king. Well, at least a king in my own small head.
I have a ton of reports on players so far, and below are a few of the highlights from my time at the fields. More will follow in the coming days.
A few minor notes: Jonah Heim and Jacob Bray both had injuries today. Heim was hit by a pitch from Bray and has a bruise on his ankle. He should be fine from what I have heard – and let’s hope, because his name has been buzzing around this off-season. All good things. Bray went to his elbow after throwing a pitch in a simulated game, so hopefully he is not terribly injured. Elbow injuries for a pitcher are always concerning.
Diaz is the other big international signing that the Orioles came away with this off-season. He has a thick body and could use a little conditioning to get in better shape. He does not have great range at first base, and the footwork is too choppy.
At the plate, Diaz has quick hands and solid bat speed, but he does not use his lower half enough at the plate. For a power bat, he could use his hips a little more and provide some torque. He seems very selective at the plate and the ball jumps off the bat.
Gassaway is a big, projectable first basemen that the Orioles selected last year in the draft. He displayed nimbleness at first for his size, and I was impressed by his footwork and glovework at the position.
At the plate, Gassaway has the look of a future power bat. He has that slightly bent knees stance. The bat speed is plus and he displays quick hands through the zone. The hands are still and there is no excess movement, leading to a concise and deliberate path through the zone. He has clear room for growth into his frame and could be a guy to watch this year.
Lacks drive in his bottom half and is way too reliant on his arms. He has zero power profile, but his approach at the plate is also a large reason why I think the power will be minimal from Franco. The bat speed is plus and the swing is compact, but just not much else going on. He might need to be one of those players that gets on base a ton to be any type of impact.
Reyes is one of the O’s largest international signings in quite some time, both figuratively and literally. He is a huge kid with plenty of room for growth. Compared to the other group of players he was with, he looked like a giant. I suspect he may be taller than the 6’4” originally slapped on him. I was able to see him face live pitching and also batting practice.
At the plate, he is too jumpy and the feet need to settle down. The bat speed is average at best and he displays an elongated and unbalanced swing. There is just too much effort in his swing and I do not view him as very athletic. He has a lot of long limbs and awkward movements for his age (17). There is one thing for certain that this kid can do though, and that is mash the ball. His power is plus and he hit a few “wow” balls during batting practice.