Chance Sisco, catcher (#4)
Chance Sisco wasn't promoted to Norfolk until after they had played all their home games, so I didn't see him play.
Trey Mancini, first base (#8)How good is he? Will he have a major-league career? How does he compare to Christian Walker?
Accurately or not, I see at least superficial similarities between Mancini and Christian Walker. Both are right-handed hitting first basemen, drafted in a middle round out of college. Mancini is almost exactly one year younger than Walker. Walker shot to AA in his first full season, but Mancini did not get there until his second full season. Mancini has slightly out-performed Walker at AAA - a .770 OPS vs a .754 OPS.
It's important to remember that Norfolk's Harbor Park is a pitcher's park. It's especially hard on a player like Mancini, a right-handed hitter who's more of a line-drive hitter with a little power, rather than a true slugger. Mancini was also much better at Bowie than he was at Norfolk. Given that, I think his .770 OPS is a reasonable estimate of what he'll do in Baltimore, moving to a better hitting environment. His OBP will probably drop some but his SP will probably increase by about as much. Looking for players who hit about as well as I think Mancini would, the best comp I found was David Freese.
Freese is a better player than we might remember, given that he was a last-minute free agent signing last season. And if Mancini were a third baseman, he'd be a solid regular. But Mancini has only played first base, and he hasn't yet hit well enough to be show that he'd be a championship-quality first baseman. He can still improve, although probably not dramatically.
I was struck by a couple of things about Mancini, but I'm not sure if my perception is accurate. I thought he was too aggressive in run-producing situations to the extent that I really wasn't expecting him to drive in the runs in key situations. He also struck out more than I expected. I'll be taking a more detailed look at his performance later in the off-season.
Is he good trade bait?
He's a right-handed hitting first baseman who hasn't yet shown himself to be a great hitter. He won't bring much back.
Mike Wright, pitcher (#10)Can he be a major-league pitcher?
He's been terrible as a starter in the major leagues, and I suspect his chances of being a starter with the Orioles are gone. On the other hand, he's been effective the past two seasons at Norfolk, although last season his strikeout rate deteriorated while his walk rate improved.
Two things about Wright. First, I wonder if he has concentration problems. He generally hasn't pitched well when he's been given early run support. It could be that he lets up too much when he's given a lead. Second, he generally is more effective when he strikes out fewer batters. I suspect that the harder he throws, the more hittable his pitches become because they move less.
This pattern - general ineffectiveness in the major leagues and general effectiveness in the minor leagues - is that of Jake Arrieta. Arrieta had more periods of sustained major-league success than Wright has had, and I am in no way declaring that if Wright got to another team, he'd be another Jake Arrieta. I do think his chances for success will be higher if he gets in another organization.
Dariel Alvarez, right fielder (#13)Is he a major-league player?
If you took his best offensive numbers out of his two AAA seasons - a .287 batting average, 38 doubles, 16 home runs - that's good enough to play regularly. Unfortunately, (1) he didn't put those numbers in the same season and (2) he doesn't walk, so his on-base percentage is low. And his defense, which was quite good in 2015, deteriorated in 2016, perhaps because he was discouraged. With all that, he probably won't win a major-league job but might get one if all other options fail.
He's a lot like Adonis Garcia of Atlanta - a Cuban expatriate who spent a few years in AAA before falling into a job as the Braves' 2016 third baseman. He didn't play well, but will probably keep his job because the Braves don't have anybody better ready. That's the best case for Alvarez - he gets a job filling a gaping hole on a bad team.
Could he be a bench player?
It's hard to see it. He doesn't hit well enough to be an offensive asset; he probably can't play center field except on an emergency basis. A bench outfielder, especially in the American League, either has to really hit or play center field passably. He'd probably be a little better than Nolan Reimold, if that's what you're hoping for.
Christian Walker, left fielder/first baseman (#14)How's the conversion to the outfield going?
He's not yet ready to play the outfield in the major leagues.
I'm willing to give Walker a mulligan for much of 2016. His father died suddenly in mid-season; he missed several days to attend services and he obviously was distracted when he came back. He seemed to be improving until his father's death; after he came back, he regressed.
It's obvious that he's never going to be a good outfielder. He's slow, has trouble tracking the ball, and doesn't have a good arm. He does catch what he can get to - he just can't get to enough.
He's been remarkably consistent offensively in his 2+ years at Norfolk. He's a .260/.325/.430 hitter. I thought last year that Billy Butler was a reasonable comp for Walker, and I still think that. Walker probably wouldn't be quite as good a hitter as Butler, but he'd be a better defensive first baseman.