01 December 2017

Two Unprotected 2017 Rule 5 Left Handed Bats

From a position player standpoint, the Orioles have been poking around for a player with certain characteristics: a flexible outfielder who hits adequately from the left side.  The free agent market provides options.  Jarrod Dyson looks like the ideal name that fills that role.  Others may look toward a potentially resurgent Curtis Granderson or maybe you change the channel whenever the club is out in the field so that Jay Bruce would not be all that troubling to you.  The trade market could be another source for a solution, but I will not wander down that highly obscured path.  Instead, lets take a look at one of the hardest ways to find a player: the Rule 5 Draft.
2011 - Ryan Flaherty, UTL
2012 - TJ McFarland, LHP
2013 - Michael Alamanzar, 3B (returned/reacquired)
2014 - Jason Garcia, RHP
2014 - Logan Verrett, RHP (returned)
2015 - Joey Rickard, OF
2016 - Anuery Tavarez, OF (returned)
2016 - Anthony Santander, OF (conditionally retained)
2017 will likely see the club take on another chance at a player, be it at the outfield, utility infielder, or bullpen arm.  Flaherty, McFarland, and Rickard show that that best this club has so far done with the Rule 5 draft is find usual backup talent at minimal cost.  That is useful though it does cause some concern if the team has any plans in filling in a left handed outfield slot to a draftee.

Of all the names I have run through, the two below are what appear to me to be the most promising names available for that specific need: left handed hitting, flexible outfielder.

Victor Reyes
Arizona Diamondbacks

Register Batting
Year Age Lev PA BA OBP SLG
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/30/2017.

Victor Reyes is effectively Joey Rickard, but from the other side of the plate with better contact and without much of an ability to walk.  Good speed, but not terribly proficient at using it on the basepaths.  Gap power is beginning to emerge.  He can defend in all fields.  He is always one of the youngest players in his league.  He also gets solid contact on the ball, which will, at his ceiling, provide a lot of gap power.

Reyes looks like a solid player to put a claim on.  His defensive acumen is helpful.  His ability to get the bat on the ball also gives some hope that his skills could translate to the Majors for a season before being sent down to the minors in 2019 where he would still be young for AAA.  However, he is not actually much of a switch hitter and his ability to hit right handers better than left handers would mean he would assume a role with greater exposure.

That is not exactly what one would prefer if there are playoff aspirations.  Rickard's right handed bat was more sneakable because, abstractly, his base level responsibility would be to get into the lineup when southpaws were on the mound.  The greater burden was placed on Hyun-soo Kim on which much more was expected.  It did not play out that way, but that was the plan and it is a reasonable plan.

Jason Martin
Houston Astros

Register Batting
Year Age Lev PA BA OBP SLG
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/30/2017.

Martin is basically unheard of in media scouting reports.  Within the industry, there is a bit of a split on him.  A small cadre of scouts vehemently state he is a 50 scale prospect while more see him as a cup of coffee fifth outfielder.  His lack of power has been a knock on him, but his last two seasons have seen a bit of a breakout with ISOs above .200.  He is doing this all the while two to three years under league average.

What makes Martin shine more than Reyes is that his AA performance was a tad bit more easy to see how he could be utilized in a MLB roster.  While similar affected as Reyes as a strong side platoon hitter, his platoon performance showed plus contact and plus power against right handed pitching.  His 10% walk rate and 20% strikeout rate in HiA drifted in the wrong directions at AA, but he held his own.  In the Orioles system, he would be someone that would attract a bit of interest maybe similar to Cedric Mullins.

For the Orioles, this kind of player could fit.  He can stand in centerfield and do well on the corners.  He has shown the ability to keep his contact rate high as he is challenged by more accomplished pitchers while also maintaining his power.  He may rate out as more of a fourth outfielder than a true starter, but he certainly would be someone I would target if I had space.


Unknown said...

Please, let's not waste a roster space this next year.

Pip said...

Jon, why bother getting something we already have in great abundance, which is a fringe outfielder?
Granted we do need a left-handed bat, but certainly we don't need to duplicate Joey Rickard/Santander/Mullins et al.
It is highly unlikely that we will get anybody significant, and even more unlikely we will get someone who is better than what we already have. So why not get a left-handed reliever?
Lord knows we certainly need a couple of them.

Jon Shepherd said...

Because you can return them and you might prefer Stewart or Mullins staying in the minors a little bit longer instead of sitting on the bench.

Unknown said...

We have too many left-handed releivers already.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

You can never have too many left-handed relievers.

Anonymous said...

Travis Demeritte - UTIL IF

btwrestler119 said...

Burch Smith should be the top target, he has starter stuff and repitiore and if he doesn’t win the 5th starter spot, his FB that touches 97mph and plus CB will play in the bullpen.

btwrestler119 said...

I also like Pablo Reyes, good speed, can play a decent SS and CF along with being good at 2B. His swing is a little long but has good bat speed and a much better plane than slappers like Rickard, Ruben Tejada, and SardiƱas.