The Orioles signed a flurry of players to deals this week. I provided some notes on Kelvin De La Cruz earlier in the week. They also signed OF Ronald Bermudez and IF Sharlon Schoop on minor league deals, while RHP Edgmer Escalona was given a major league deal.
Ronald Bermudez is a player that has largely flown under the radar his entire career. He has shown flashes at times, but has failed to consistently put the barrel on the ball. SoxProspects has a brief scouting report on Bermudez:
Not highly touted when scouted out of Venezuela, nor impressive in his 2006 debut season. Bermudez came out of nowhere to lead the DSL in 2007 in several categories, including average, OPS, and doubles. The Sox were so impressed that they had him skip the GCL and go right to Lowell in 2008. Closed stance coming into 2009. Good feel for the strike zone. Confident and smooth in the batter’s box. Solid contact hitter. Decent swing, but he’s struggled to find a consistent swing path. Average speed on the basepaths. Offensively, he struggled statistically in 2008, but the Sox were still satisfied with his development during the season. Bermudez is an average fielder in center, but likely projects as a corner outfielder not too far down the line. Decent range.
Adding along to that, I reached out to a few scouts since the signing and all of them reiterated that the swing is inconsistent and he has not been able to pick up secondary offerings at the higher levels. He is still able to play in center field, but the range is average at this stage in his career as SoxProspects stated. Bermudez will most likely take over one of the outfield spots at AA Bowie in 2014.
Sharlon Schoop is most likely known around Baltimore as the brother of Jonathan Schoop. He also plays a similar game, without the plus raw power that Jonathan brings. He has a good baseball frame and can play all over the diamond. This is certainly his biggest asset, as he is a true utility option. He has seen time at almost every position except catcher and center field. The bat has some large holes, as he struggles picking up on secondary offerings like his brother does and also struggles to find a consistent barrel path to the ball. I would imagine the Orioles will try and keep the Schoop brothers on the same team together, which will be pretty cool.
Edgmer Escalona pitched in 46.0 with the Colorado Rockies in 2013. Eascalona has a lively arm that can touch 94-95 mph with his fastball. He also throws a hard-breaking slider that has good sweeping action on it. There is a form of a change up, but it was fringe in 2013. However, he has apparently been working on a split-change in the Venezuelan League this season. That league is a different breed from the MLB, so it is tough to take much out of it until we see him pitch with the split against more consistent competition.
The main issue with Escalona has always been command. While the walks have not been incredibly high, the command has been noted in the number of pitches he leaves over the middle of the plate. Escalona has trouble with finding a consistent arm action and this was even worse last year when he missed time due to injury. He is a good bounce-back candidate that the Orioles may find some value in.