Throughout the season, Orioles Nation will highlight prospects as we see them play or are given reports by Scouts and people within the baseball industry. Our staff will have eyes on the Orioles’ prospects at all times, and you can find the latest updates for them in the Prospect Watch.
Henry Urrutia – OF
Hammerin’ Hank – as some like to call him around Baltimore – is an interesting player for a club that seemingly filled its DH and LF roles heading into the 2014 season. The acquisition of David Lough and Nelson Cruz has made the future of Urrutia rather hazy.
Urrutia, 27, signing out of Cuba for $778,500, stands 6’5″ 200 lbs. There are reports from Spring Training indicating that he has put on 15 lbs in muscle. While he is technically not a prospect any longer (has more than 45 days on the active roster), Urrutia still has not seen extensive time in the majors. Piecing together only 58 at bats with the Orioles last season, it is not juvenile to think that Orioles and their fan-base did not get a good chance to see what Urrutia offers. However, maybe the Orioles saw exactly what was needed and it is a reason for why they went out and acquired Lough and Cruz.
I have seen Urrutia play since his time with Bowie. He clearly has no business being at that level, but I am not so sure that he has a place with the Orioles at the major league level either. At this time, the Orioles can afford the luxury of optioning Urrutia to AAA-Norfolk and allowing him to continue racking up at-bats. Unless there are injuries, it seems that he will most likely begin the season in the minors. Urrutia is the classic player “stuck in the middle”. He is better than the minors, but might not have the level of talent to start for a contending team in the majors. While every team does not need a first division starter at each position, most teams will strive for that unless it is not feasibly possible. Urrutia also has an odd approach at the plate, which I will highlight below in my scouting report. He has the ability to hit for power, but his approach actually hinders this ability. Needless to say, Urrutia is a large mystery right now. Does he help the Orioles this season? Only time will tell.
Below is a traditional scouting report on Urrutia using the 20-80 scouting scale:
Body: Lean frame, tall, room for muscle addition (although it seems he has already taken care of that)
Hit: 50; Quick hands, good hand control, keeps hands inside the ball. Above average bat speed. Minimal noise with his swing at the plate. Steps in the bucket occasionally on above average secondary offerings from lefties. Feet can shuffle at times and become noisy. Excellent at going opposite field. Plate discipline is solid, although struggles at times against quality secondary offerings and high-end velocity.
Power: 45; Modest power, although his approach diminishes his ability. Does not fully torque his hips at times, choosing to slap the ball opposite field, thus sapping power. When he does pull the ball, the power is evident.
Glove: 50; Average across the board with reads, range, route-running. Improvement noted since beginning of last year. Capable of holding his own in the corner OF.
Arm: 55; Solid arm, good release and capable of handling a corner OF spot.
Speed: 40; Nothing flashy here. Minimal speed for an OF, with growth most likely to lessen his agility further.
OFP: 50; Second-division starter
Realistic Role: 45, fringe-average starter, fourth outfielder/bench bat