While other teams sign big money free agents this offseason, the Orioles are off to the side doing their own thing.
As of this morning, the Orioles had 38 players on their 40-man roster. With the Rule 5 Draft taking place today in San Diego at noon, you have to wonder whether the Orioles will use one or both spots on Rule 5 prospects.
With outfield depth and shortstop on Mike Elias’ holiday shopping list this year, there are a handful of players at those positions in the upcoming draft. The Orioles choose second in the Rule 5 tomorrow, right behind the Detroit Tigers.
Michael Gettys, OF
In the Pacific Coast League with the Padres last season, Gettys hit an impressive 31 home runs, crushing his previous minor league career high of 17 in 2017. He stole 14 bases while getting thrown out six times and slashed .256/.305/.517 in 507 at-bats. Gettys, a second round draft pick in 2014, played all three outfield spots last season but made most of his starts in center.
So his average isn’t great, he doesn’t walk a lot and he strikes out a lot, with a career minor league triple slash line of .260/.316/.429. While the 24-year-old may seem like a one-dimensional player based on that, he has had a few outlier years. His first professional season in 2014, he hit .310/.353/.437 in Rookie ball. Then two years later, in 2016, he hit .305/.363/.442 between low and high Single-A ball.
Buddy Reed, OF
Like Gettys, Padres prospect Buddy Reed played all three outfield spots last season, with the majority of his starts coming in center. He played 121 games at Double-A in 2019 and hit .228/.310/.388 in 381 at-bats with 14 home runs, 42 walks, 126 strikeouts and 23 stolen bases. Going back to 2016, his career minor league slash line is .249/.311/.399.
The 24-year-old Reed, who was drafted by San Diego in the second round of the 2016 draft, has a big frame (6’4”, 210) and has reached double digit home runs the past two years in the minors, so maybe there’s more power there.
Eli White, UTL
White, 25, offers the kind of positional versatility that the Orioles place a lot of value on. Originally drafted by Oakland in the 11th round of the 2016 draft, the right-handed hitting White appeared in 92 games at shortstop, 22 in center field and two at second base last year at Triple-A in the Texas Rangers farm system. He had a range factor of 3.74 at short. Over the course of his professional career, his range factor at short is 3.80.
In 2019, the young utility player put up a .253/.337/.418 triple slash line at the plate in 438 at-bats in the Pacific Coast League. He hit a career high 14 home runs last season — while his previous career was nine — and logged 43 walks versus 138 strikeouts. There is some speed to his game too, as he was successful in 14 of 19 stolen base attempts.
He’s shown to have a strong batting eye over the course of his minor league career, posting a .355 OBP in the four years since he was drafted. In that time he has also put up a .277 AVG and .413 SLG across five levels of the minors.
Alfredo Rodriguez, SS
Signed out of Cuba by the Reds in 2016, the 25-year-old Rodriguez found himself splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He fared much better in the former, hitting .286/.324/.347 with 13 steals in 104 games. After being promoted, the right-handed hitting Rodriguez slumped to a .169/.261/.221 batting line in 23 games at the higher level.
Over the course of his four year minor league career, Rodriguez has appeared exclusively at shortstop — except for two games at third this past season. Between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019, he put up a 3.58 range factor at short. In his career, he holds a range factor of 3.77 at short.
Wander Javier, SS
Just a 20-year-old kid signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Javier suffered his worst professional season in 2019. After putting up an OPS of 1.054 in 2016 and .855 in 2017, he only hit .177/.278/.323 with a .601 OPS in 2019. The right-handed hitting shortstop missed all of 2018 due to injury.
Playing his entire season in Single-A ball in 2019, Javier did have 11 home runs and walked 35 times while striking out 116 times. He had a 3.89 range factor at shortstop this past season and over the course of his career, that number is 3.76.