Thursday, February 25, 2021

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2021 Orioles spring preview: 40-man roster position players

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

As Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Sarasota for the official start of spring training on Tuesday, below is a look at the position players currently on the 40-man roster:

INF Rylan Bannon
Opening Day age: 24
Service time: none
2019 stats (Triple A/Double A): .266/.345/.421, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 63 R, 8 SB, 534 PA

Skinny: Added to the 40-man roster in November after spending time at the Bowie training site last September, Bannon is a bat-first type with good power for his 5-foot-8, 180-pound frame, but building defensive versatility is a key to his major league future.

1B Chris Davis
Opening Day age: 35
Service time: 11.061
2020 stats: .115/.164/.173, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R, 0 SB, 55 PA

Skinny: Yes, Davis is still on the roster and has been worth minus-6.3 wins above replacement over the last four seasons as both parties are apparently willing to continue this embarrassing saga for another year.

OF Yusniel Diaz
Opening Day age: 24
Service time: none
2019 stats (Double A): .262/.335/.472, 11 HR, 53 RBI, 45 R, 0 SB, 322 PA

Skinny: The centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade, Diaz was slowed by hamstring and quadriceps injuries in 2019, but there is still much upside as the Cuban outfielder will hopefully make his major league debut later this season. 

SS Freddy Galvis
Opening Day age: 31
Service time: 8.021
2020 stats (Cincinnati): .220/.308/.404, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 18 R, 1 SB, 159 PA

Skinny: While the organization hopes the likes of Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg blossom into serious major league prospects, Galvis should serve as a good defender and durable placeholder at the position after Jose Iglesias was traded in December.

OF Austin Hays
Opening Day age: 25
Service time: 1.057
2020 stats: .279/.328/.393, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 20 R, 2 SB, 134 PA

Skinny: Hays batted just .203 with a .519 OPS in 77 plate appearances before being placed on the injured list with a fractured rib, missing a month, and eventually returning to hit .377 with five extra-base hits and a .988 OPS over his final 57 plate appearances. 

2B/OF Jahmai Jones
Opening Day age: 23
Service time: 0.014
2020 stats (Los Angeles Angels): .429/.429/.429, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 0 SB, 7 PA

Skinny: The Orioles paid two-thirds of Alex Cobb’s $15 million salary for 2021 in part to acquire Jones, who makes hard contact and had a much better second half in his 2019 season at Double A. 

1B/OF Trey Mancini
Opening Day age: 29
Service time: 4.015
2019 stats: .291/.364/.535, 35 HR, 97 RBI, 106 R, 1 SB, 679 PA

Skinny: The mere thought of seeing Mancini back on the field after overcoming colon cancer in 2020 should bring a huge smile to your face, but he’ll also be very motivated to remind everyone about how good he is at hitting a baseball.

SS Richie Martin
Opening Day age: 26
Service time: 2.000
2019 stats: .208/.260/.322, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 29 R, 10 SB, 309 PA

Skinny: After missing all of the abbreviated 2020 season with a broken wrist, the former Rule 5 pick will miss the start of spring training after suffering a broken hamate bone, another setback for a talented infielder needing more seasoning.

OF Ryan McKenna
Opening Day age: 24
Service time: none
2019 stats (Double A): .232/.321/.365, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 78 R, 25 SB, 567 PA

Skinny: Added to the 40-man roster after an underwhelming 2019 season at Bowie, McKenna has plus athleticism and defensive ability, but further development at the plate is critical if he’s going to be anything more than a fringe major league option.

LF/1B Ryan Mountcastle
Opening Day age: 24
Service time: 0.105
2020 stats: .333/.386/.492, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 12 R, 0 SB, 140 PA

Skinny: Baltimore couldn’t have been more pleased with Mountcastle’s 2020 debut as he showed improved plate discipline and capable work in left field, two pleasant developments to go with a bat that makes him a Rookie of the Year candidate.

OF Cedric Mullins
Opening Day age: 26
Service time: 1.075
2020 stats: .271/.315/.407, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 16 R, 7 SB, 153 PA

Skinny: After a disastrous 2019 in which he went from starting on Opening Day to toiling at Double A, Mullins reestablished himself as a major league option with a solid season at the plate and good defense as he and Hays will compete to start in center field.

1B/3B Tyler Nevin
Opening Day age: 23
Service time: none
2019 stats (Double A): .251/.345/.399, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 60 R, 6 SB, 540 PA

Skinny: Acquired from Colorado in the Mychal Givens trade, the son of former major leaguer Phil Nevin shows good plate discipline and makes hard contact, making him a logical bet for an everyday spot at Triple-A Norfolk in 2021.

3B Rio Ruiz
Opening Day age: 26
Service time: 2.109
2020 stats: .222/.286/.427, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 25 R, 1 SB, 204 PA

Skinny: Ruiz showed more power than he did in his first season with the Orioles and remains a solid defensive option at third base while the organization lacks options to push him at the major league level.    

2B Yolmer Sanchez
Opening Day age: 28
Service time: 5.040
2020 stats (Chicago White Sox): .313/.476/.688, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 7 R, 0 SB, 21 PA

Skinny: Choosing not to tender the energetic Hanser Alberto was an unpopular decision, but Sanchez is a former Gold Glove winner and a defensive upgrade who could prove useful for the development of a young pitching staff this season.

OF Anthony Santander
Opening Day age: 26
Service time: 2.162
2020 stats: .261/.315/.575, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 24 R, 0 SB, 165 PA

Skinny: Voted the club’s most valuable player despite missing most of September with an oblique strain last year, Santander had a whopping 25 extra-base hits in 37 games and should have the chance to show off his full potential at the plate in a 162-game season.

C Pedro Severino
Opening Day age: 27
Service time: 3.099
2020 stats: .250/.322/.388, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 17 R, 1 SB, 178 PA

Skinny: With the Orioles likely preferring to delay the arrival of Adley Rutschman until 2022, Severino should again serve as a solid placeholder despite his streaky hitting and inconsistent work behind the plate that included a league-worst five passed balls last year.

C Chance Sisco
Opening Day age: 26
Service time: 2.103
2020 stats: .214/.364/.378, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 11 R, 0 SB, 121 PA

Skinny: Sisco hasn’t lived up to his former top 100 prospect billing, but he still has one of the best batting eyes on the club and has enough long-ball potential to stick around as an offense-first backup.  

OF DJ Stewart
Opening Day age: 27
Service time: 1.065
2020 stats: .193/.355/.455, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 13 R, 0 SB, 112 PA

Skinny: After starting the season 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts and six walks, Stewart eventually returned from a helpful stint at the Bowie site to bat .230 with seven home runs and a .907 OPS over his final 90 plate appearances, leaving him with a very unusual stat line.  

INF Ramon Urias
Opening Day age: 26
Service time: 0.047
2020 stats: .360/.407/.560, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 0 SB, 27 PA

Skinny: Selected off waivers last winter, Urias made his major league debut last August and will attempt to make the Opening Day roster as a utility infielder who showed a respectable bat in the minor leagues.

INF Pat Valaika
Opening Day age: 28
Service time: 3.079
2020 stats: .277/.315/.475, 8 HR, 16 RBI, 24 R, 0 SB, 150 PA

Skinny: Valaika proved to be one of the better stories of the 2020 season with some late-game heroics and starts at five different positions, putting him in good position to again serve in a super-utility role.

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