Late-Season Call-ups Could Help Orioles in 2018
Now that the Baltimore Orioles’ season is winding down, attention is already turning to how the club will plan for 2018. Plenty of questions about the roster will have to be answered over the coming months, but it seems that a few of the team’s young players could find themselves on next year’s major league roster.
The influx of young players to have reached the majors late in the season leaves the Orioles with some options, but not all of them are guaranteed roster spots. Here is a look at four of the more intriguing prospects, and what their statuses could be for 2018.
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Judging by the fact that Buck Showalter has not been hesitant to give Hays regular playing time, it is hard to imagine that the young outfielder does not factor into the team’s 2018 plans. With right field in particular being an area of need for the Orioles, it seems likely that Hays is getting a long look for the spot on Opening Day.
If the Orioles are not comfortable throwing Hays into a regular role immediately in 2018, there are two options they could consider. One is to sign a veteran to split time with Hays—re-signing Seth Smith would work in this case—and the other is to have Hays start the season at Triple-A Norfolk. Spring training may yield more answers to Hays’ status, but for now it seems that the team is planning on him being a factor in 2018.
Santander’s situation going into 2018 is somewhat complicated. Since he spent much of 2017 on the DL after being chosen in the Rule 5 draft, the Orioles will have to keep him an additional 44 days in 2018 or risk having to return him to the Cleveland Indians.
His overall track record in the minors reflects Santander’s potential at the plate, so he will certainly be in the mix for the major league roster when the spring rolls around. If most of the current lineup—including Hays—returns next year, the Orioles might have difficulty finding at-bats for Santander, but expect him to be given every opportunity to remain with the club and at least fulfill his Rule 5 requirement.
Welington Castillo’s likely departure leaves an opening at catcher, but the Orioles would be justified in giving Caleb Joseph the opportunity to take on the starting role. That is where the situation becomes complicated for Sisco.
His track record in the minors suggests that he is ready for an extended turn in the majors. However, the Orioles will have to decide whether Sisco can get enough at-bats in the majors to warrant a roster spot when he could be receiving more playing time back at Norfolk. If the club can find enough at-bats for him, look for him and Joseph to at least split playing time in early 2018.
Scott has long intrigued observers with his ability to regularly reach the high 90’s with his fastball, and the left-hander is coming off what is arguably his best minor league season to date. The problem for Scott has always been his control, and while his BB/9 dropped in 2017, the mark of 6 still leaves plenty to be desired.
Consider as well that Scott has yet to pitch above Double-A Bowie, so a stint against more experienced and discipled hitters at Norfolk could be a good test. While there are some factors that could help him reach the majors—such as trades or injuries within the current relief corps, or a sudden stride with his command—Scott looks like the type of player that would benefit from more seasoning, even it ends up being a relatively short stint in the minors.