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.
Michael Ohlman – C
The first five seasons of Michael Ohlman’s professional baseball career have been nothing short of interesting. While it has been a roller coaster, Ohlman finally began to see his hard work pay off with an addition to the 40-man roster.
To put it bluntly, Ohlman has drawn much ire in prospect evaluation circles. Most evaluators believe that the defense will not become efficient enough to start at the major league level. While I largely agree that the defense needs work, I think the assumption that his defense will not improve enough is premature. There has been strong evaluation on his defense in the past, such as this article from Nathaniel Stoltz at Fangraphs. I think what most evaluators are failing to mention is that Ohlman missed serious development time due to suspension and injury (car crash). While it is not my place to discuss the merits of the suspension, I have seen a different player since his full return in mid-2012. Michael Ohlman has become a different player – more determined and working harder than I had ever seen. Scouts have mentioned the same to me, and I think it is no secret that Ohlman wants to be a catcher at the Major League level.
I believe in the bat of Michael Ohlman. I think he can hit at the major league level. It may be fringey at first base or the corner outfield, but if he can stick at catcher the bat would be tremendous.
Below is a traditional scouting report on Ohlman using the 20-80 scouting scale:
Body: Sturdy frame, likely maxed out. Strong and looks the part of a power bat. Good catcher’s body.
Hit: 55: Excellent eye at the plate, really coming into his own in 2013. Sometimes too selective, and misses his “pitch”. The swing used to be elongated, but he has lessened this since 2012. Good, balanced stance with solid arm extension and sweet stroke through the zone. Mild toe tap, with his bottom half staying relatively still. Not afraid to use the entire field.
Power: 50: Does not try and swing for power, which might seem detrimental to his style. However, shows good gap-to-gap ability and he displays above average raw power. Ball jumps off the bat and he has a mild uppercut in his swing.
Defense: 45: Needs to improve footwork and blocking, although they have improved in the past year. Footwork is sometimes staggered, moving too late. Big frame does not allow him to fluidly move behind the plate at times. Solid at calling games, and have had multiple pitchers tell me personally that they enjoy Ohlman on the receiving end.
Arm: 55: Above-average arm strength but struggles to make accurate throws; which can be fixed with improved footwork.
Speed: 40: Athletic guy for his size and position, but speed is not his strong suit.
OFP: 50: Second Division Catcher
Realistic Role: 45: Fringe-average Catcher/First Basemen/Corner Outfielder