As the season rolls along, it’s looking more and more likely that the Orioles are going to be major sellers at the trade deadline. And with that, the last couple months of the season might be “grind it out” time to let the season wind down and allow some younger players to get looks at the major leagues.
Fortunately, that means we’ll get to see some of our favorite prospects from our minors recaps taking the field and making their debuts on the diamond later in the year.
Below, a look at four candidates who seem primed to potentially make their debuts in Baltimore before this season wraps up.
Here’s a guy who really has made significant progress while flying under the radar. If you’ll remember, Stewart’s first couple seasons were underwhelming — particularly for a first-round selection — and there was talk that he might not stick with the organization for much longer than a couple of years. But steadily, he’s turned that right around (all while the organization has kept on promoting him despite average numbers) and placed himself in contention for a spot with the big-league club by the end of this year.
Through 41 games with the Tides, Stewart is hitting .271/.363/.451 with decent walk numbers. After a 2017 season with an .859 OPS in Bowie, he’s on pace to do almost as well in AAA this season. You have to wonder if that’ll be enough for the Orioles to give him the nod closer to the end of the year.
Oh, Cedric Mullins. We’ve been waiting for his entrance into this conversation for a couple of seasons and it’s finally here. Especially after the season that we’re having, it’s hard to believe that he’s going to stay in the minors for the entire season.
Mullins has hit .313/.361/.510 on the season through 192 at-bats, going 20 for his last 42. On the year, he’s hit six home runs, 12 doubles and four triples already with eight stolen bases. For Mullins, there isn’t too much of a debate of if, rather one of when. He’s clearly prepared to continue to take steps forward in the organization. What will prove to be interesting is how the Orioles decide to handle his promotions. As of now, does it really feel like it’d hurt to have him get a crack in The Show by the end of the season?
Mountcastle is another “not if, but when” guy and that’s showing in a big way. At just 21 years old, his talent and projectability is clearly through the roof. We’ve seen it in scouting reports and simply video from the times we’ve watched him showcase his talents — Mountcastle is an obviously special talent both in the field and at the dish.
With Bowie this season in his return to the diamond, the 2015 first-rounder has a .294/.342/.471 line with three home runs and three doubles in 68 at-bats. He looks healthy and primed to continue doing his thing with the Baysox, a clear candidate to jump to Norfolk by the season’s end. It’ll be fascinating to see how the Orioles handle him around the end of the season. It’s pretty simple — if he rakes down the stretch, the team will have a hard time keeping him away from the bigs.
Here’s a surprise that shouldn’t be much of a surprise after following Akin throughout last season and into 2018. The left-hander has posted a 2.97 ERA with a .211 average against at Bowie this year, continuing to strike out more batters than innings pitched. During his time within the organization, the former Western Michigan standout has 203 strikeouts over 183.2 innings pitched. He has plus stuff and continues to fool hitters with each step up.
With a mid-90s fastball that pairs well with a plus breaking ball, Akin looks ready to keep mowing down hitters where he’s at. As long as he keeps his command in check, he’ll produce in a way that catches the attention of the team. Is it too early? Perhaps. But when you take a look at the state of the current Orioles rotation, could you blame them for trying to work him into a game or two before the season comes to a close?