Week of January 20, 2020:
Welcome everyone to Edition 3 of Monday Thoughts! We are just 24 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Sarasota, and the Orioles are eager to begin the 2020 campaign! Let’s get things started with some hopeful news about the future in Baltimore!
Prospects getting noticed:
This past week, MLB Pipeline put out their Top 10 rankings for the best prospects at each position. To many Orioles fans surprise and pleasure, some of the organization’s young, up-and-coming players made some of the lists.
Former No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman, No. 4 overall prospect Ryan Mountcastle, and the No. 2 and 3 overall prospects Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall all made their respective positions’ lists.
Rutschman was ranked No. 1 in the catching list and led all prospect catchers in categories like hitting and power, while also leading in superlatives such as highest ceiling and floor.
Mountcastle ranked in at No. 4 in the Top 10 First Basemen list, while Gray-Rod and Hall both ranked in at No. 10 on the Top 10 RHP and LHP lists respectively.
With more lists yet to come, it’s going to be interesting to see if more Orioles prospects make appearances. Keep an eye out for Austin Hays and Yusniel Diaz once the outfield lists debut.
It’s needless to say that Pat Valaika’s time in the Orioles organization was short-lived.
The 27-year-old infielder was claimed off waivers by the Orioles back on October 30 out of the Colorado Rockies organization. But after claiming 23-year-old infielder Richard Ureña off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles designated Valaika for assignment.
The Arizona Diamondbacks would claim Valaika off waivers January 16, and that was the end of his time in Baltimore.
I don’t mind this one bit. In fact, in terms of what the Orioles need during a rebuild, Ureña is four years younger and plays the same role as Valaika.
Matt Wieters back to St. Louis:
Former Orioles fan-favorite, catcher Matt Wieters, is headed back to the St. Louis Cardinals to back up future Hall of Famer, Yadier Molina.
The 33-year-old veteran backstop is guaranteed to make $2 million, with a possible $1 million in incentives.
Wieters hit .214/.268/.435 with 11 home runs in 183 plate appearances with the Cardinals last season.
Good for Wiety! Baltimore loved him behind the plate in his time with the Orioles! It’s good to see he has a guaranteed spot on the Cards roster in 2020.
Orioles sign César Valdez:
The Orioles made a minor move this past week, signing 34-year-old RHP César Valdez to a minor league deal.
Valdez hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017 with the Blue Jays and Athletics. The Astros signed him as a free agent in January 2016, and he went 12-1 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.128 WHIP in 30 games with Triple-A Fresno.
There’s not much to say here. This move is simply for minors depth at the Triple-A level. It’s simply a low risk, high reward signing.
Well, that’s going to do it for this edition of Monday Thoughts! Please comment down below and let us know your thoughts heading into the final weeks of the offseason!
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