The path to the majors is a treacherous journey with many hurdles to jump, walls to climb, and cities to travel through. When you watch the minors in the detail and length that I do, you see the daily grind the players go through. Most, if not every single one, wants to make it to the bigs. It has been their dream for years. Of course, many do not reach the big lights. It is the disappointing side of the game, and I have said goodbye to many friends over the past decade while following the minors closely. It is especially difficult watching Double-A games, because the sick truth is many of those players are on their last baseball breath. However, I want to discuss a few players that are never talked about and could have a potential to crack the majors as a role 4 guy. After watching Caleb Joseph the past month, I suddenly feel the urge to explore the O’s minors.
The following are a group of players that I view to have a certain tool that could play at the major league level. I do not view any of these players as impact prospects, but they have “something”:
Austin Wynns, C, Low-A Delmarva: I have been continuously impressed by Wynns since last season watching him at Aberdeen. In my views this season at Delmarva, Wynns has demonstrated a plus glove and arm. He is a natural behind the plate with a good chance at catching for a long time in the minors. He is a college guy backing up Chance Sisco right now, but multiple scouts have told me that they love his defense and one even said “it’s no secret why Wynns has been the guy catching Hunter Harvey“. He may not have the bat, but Wynns will play in the upper minors for a while and could eventually get a cup of coffee. I’ve seen worse players make it to the majors.
Jason Gurka, LHP, Double-A Bowie: I have mentioned Gurka a few times at ON, but he is largely overlooked in the public eye. He is a reliever in the minors, which generally does not exploit much excitement from…well, anyone. As a talent evaluator, I do not care about that, as I am strictly looking for players that have some ability to provide an asset at the highest level. Gurka has a low 90’s fastball with sink that he hides well out of his hand against lefties. His changeup is fringe, but he mostly relies on a sharp slurve that lefties really struggles to pick up out of his hand. Gurka profiles as a LOOGY at the highest level, but that’s not an insult. Gurka is a major league talent that will eventually get a shot, even if it is not with the Orioles.
Dylan Rheault, RHP, Low-A Delmarva: He is a giant, standing at 6’9″ and 245 lbs. With that said, the obvious issue is keeping his body in unison and balancing all the moving parts of his huge frame. Rheault is overlooked, generally because he is also a reliever and does not throw 95 mph. However, he is one of those relief arms that gives the hitter a different look. Rheault throws around 90 mph, but the balls comes off a terrific plane and hitters struggle to barrel it. He also displays a sweeping slider, which is also effective. The issue with Rheault is that he “pushes” pitches out of his hand. He throws from a nearly side-armed slot, and instead of letting the ball fly out of his hand, it will become pushed. Iv’e seen this a few times, and I know it is something the Orioles are working with him on (I specifically saw B.J. Surhoff talking to him about this). Rheault may not be a buzz-worthy prospect, but he could be a viable reliever if he can settle some of these mechanical issues down.
These three players will not make any prospect lists, but I always enjoy scanning the minors for the role 4 types that could potentially end up as the 25th man on a major league roster one day. These three have that ability, even it it is still a longshot at this point.