Flaherty will enter into his second Spring Training with the Orioles. He no longer will be competing with Robert Andino for second base after the Andino-Robinson deal went down. However, he will be competing with
Skimming through the Rule 5 eligible list, I found five players of interest:
Ryan Buchter, LHP
26 years old
The Braves are Buchter's third organization. He was originally drafted by the Nationals, but was dealt to the Cubs for Matt Avery who has not been in professional ball after the 2009 season. In 2011, he was on the move again when the Braves traded for his services in exchange for Rodrigo Lopez. It is obviously by his travels that he has attributes that are valued, but he has never appeared on any major publications top prospect rankings for any organization he has been a part of. So what can do he so well? He strikes batters out. What does he not do well? He walks everyone. He does this with a low to mid 90s four seamer that he mixes with a good cutter (the supposed anathema in the current Orioles regime). Being a lefty with a decent strikeout rate, he likely is worth a flyer for someone in Spring Training. The Os are in need, or want, for a lefty in the pen, so he might be an option.
IP K/9 B/9 GB% SIERA Mississippi AA 41.1 10.9 4.1 36 3.00 Gwinnett AAA 8 5.6 19.1 42 7.90
Braulio Lara, LHP
24 years old
As mentioned by Baseball America, Lara is a player organizations can dream on, but who likely provides very little value in the near term. The hope is that his low to mid 90s fastball and simply focusing on his inconsistent curveball as a reliever could bring out near term value. The Rays have been keeping him as a starting pitcher, but his struggles may have reached the point where from this point forward they see what he can do as a reliever. Lara might have the best chance for sticking with an organization that does not have playoff hopes. The Orioles may view their roster spots as too precious to hold onto a not-ready-for-prime-time arm.
IP K/9 B/9 GB% SIERA Charlotte A+ 112 6.59 4.66 42 4.67
Jonathan Galvez, 2B/LF
22 years old
San Diego Padres
This is Galvez' second year exposed to the Rule 5 draft. He profiles as a bat first second baseman. He has modest power for a second baseman and had a AA league average walk rate. It is hard to see how Galvez is a better player right now than Ryan Flaherty, but maybe the Orioles' or some other's team scouts see something they like. The Orioles could take a flyer and check him out for the entirety of Spring Training before having to send him back if he proves to be unworthy of an active roster slot.
PA BA OBP SLG OPS+ San Antonio AA 345 .295 .366 .432 111
Jeremy Hazelbaker, LF/CF
25 years old
Boston Red Sox
Hazelbaker has a lot of athleticism and shows plus-plus speed with a good head for the basepaths. He has the tools to be an excellent fielder, but he has issues with proper route running and a slow first step. He showed above average power last season in AA with average on base performance. I'd rate him as a less impressive commodity than Trayvon Robinson, but, again, he may well be worth a flyer. Hazelbaker has good enough defense, raw power, and uses his speed more effectively. If he can provide similar defensive value as Robinson, his ceiling may be a bit higher as he could have a bat capable for left field. He should be able to find someone willing to see whether they can fit him on their team.
PA BA OBP SLG OPS+ Portland AA 484 0.273 0.338 0.476 113
Marc Krauss, LF
25 years old
PA BA OBP SLG OPS+ Mobile AA 429 0.281 0.415 0.5 129 Corpus Christi AA 35 0.414 0.514 1 211 OKC AAA 66 0.123 0.203 0.123 42
In 2009, Nick Faleris and I were discussing our plans for the shadow draft we were running in concert with the Orioles' draft. I was a strong proponent of Marc Krauss while Nick was pushing for Todd Glaesmann (who was my target for the third round). In the end, we chose Glaesmann over Krauss. Krauss, with his poor body type and questionable bat speed, has found success and shown power at each step up the ladder. It appears though after coming over in the Chris Johnson trade that the talent starved Astros do not see a need to put Krauss on the 40 man roster. Krauss' poor defense and bad arm limit him to left field with his ceiling being somewhat like Luke Scott, but with a batting profile that is someone who should be limited against Major League right handed pitchers at this point in his career. The Diamondbacks did try him out over 30 games at first base, but if the Orioles have one thing in abundance it is a number of guys who can play first base and left field.