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Orioles prospect season in review: Tyler Nevin

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It was a rough year in the minors for Nevin, and with multiple 1B/DH types on the roster, it’s going to be hard for him to earn regular playing time in Baltimore anytime soon.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Orioles batter Tyler Nevin hits a double at Camden Yards on September 30, 2021.
Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Nevin comes from a baseball family. It runs in his veins. He’s been around the game since he was a kid.

Certain teams like to target players like Tyler Nevin, thinking familial success is a strong indicator of the next generation’s potential. The jury is still out on Tyler Nevin, who is only 24 years old and yet to establish himself in the big leagues.

With that being said, he had a good run as a late season call-up recently. He had four hits in 14 at-bats, with a .444 OBP and a 1.087 OPS. Very small sample size, though.

You may have heard of Tyler’s father, Phil Nevin, who played 12 years in the majors as a corner infielder/outfielder and had a career .270/.343/.472 batting line. Phil is presently the New York Yankees’ third base coach.

Father and son share quite a few similarities, like being first round draft picks and playing the same positions. But physically, the younger Nevin (6’ 4”, 225 lbs.) is a few inches taller and many pounds heavier.

Along with Terrin Vavra and Mishael Deson (player to be named later), Tyler Nevin was acquired from the Rockies on August 30, 2020, as part of the Mychal Givens trade package. Nevin spent about a month at the Orioles Alternate Training Site in Bowie last year but didn’t appear in a single major league game that season.

Nevin is a former first round draft pick who eschewed college ball for the pros after his prep career at Poway High School in the greater San Diego area. The Rockies made Nevin the 38th overall pick in 2015.

Heading into the 2019 season, Nevin was ranked as the Rockies’ 11th best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. That same source also mentioned how injuries slowed Nevin’s development in the first few years of his career:

[He] missed nearly all of the 2016 season with hamstring issues, played in just 82 games in 2017 with a wrist injury and while he played well in the California League in 2018 and reached 100 games played for the first time in his career, a quad problem shelved him twice.

Luckily, the injuries haven’t followed Nevin from the West Coast. But to date, he hasn’t shown much as a member of the Orioles’ system either. Unfortunately, 2020 was a wash for him since there was no minor league season. But he had a disappointing season in the minors this year as well.

He played 111 games at Triple-A in 2021, managing just a .227/.305/.392 batting line. He hit a personal best 16 home runs, but had an OPS under .700. His previous minor league career high for home runs in a season was 13, which he reached in both 2018 and 2019.

Relatively speaking, Nevin experienced his best couple of years in the lower levels of the minors. In 76 Single-A games (335 plate appearances), he hit .305/.364/.456 with an .821 OPS. In 100 games (417 PAs) in high Single-A, Nevin hit .328/.386/.503 with an .889 OPS.

In his final full season in the Rockies’ system, Nevin hit .251/.345/.399 with 13 home runs, 26 doubles, two triples, 61 RBI, 65 walks, and 90 strikeouts. That was 2019. The pandemic hit the following year.

At 24 years old, Nevin’s power has yet to fully develop. As noted by MLB Pipeline, he profiles as more of a high average hitter that can work the count and earn some walks. But if he’s able to tap into his power potential, Nevin could force the Orioles’ hand and work his way into real playing time. But that’s a big if.

Looking further ahead, there could be more room for a player like Nevin in 2023 if certain other players vacate the roster at that point (namely Trey Mancini). For the budget conscious O’s, it makes sense to replace the older, more expensive Mancini with a younger, cheaper version. But that’s a big if, and it depends largely on Nevin’s ability to improve at the major league level.

Having said that, Nevin could turn into more of a corner utility type if the Orioles feel comfortable with his glove across on the diamond. If you read into his defensive deployment in the minors this past season, it looks like the O’s are gearing up for multiple-position eligibility.

His positional appearances with the Tides in 2021 were as follows: 40 appearances at first base, 37 at third base, 20 in left field, nine in right, and seven at DH.

Yet, it’s hard to picture Nevin with any kind of substantial role next year with Ryan Mountcastle and Trey Mancini playing first base and DH. But an injury or poor production could lead to semi-regular playing time for Nevin with the O’s in 2022.

Alternatively, the Birds could decide to continue Nevin’s development at the minor league level next year. That way, they could reassess his future in-between the 2022 and 2023 seasons, when more contracts come off the books and certain positions start to open up. It’d also be nice to see him put up stronger numbers at the plate in the minors before he becomes a full-time major leaguer.

Nevin has got a better chance of earning regular playing time two years from now, as opposed to next season. So expect to see him on the Norfolk shuttle a lot in 2022, with more of a chance to stick around Baltimore on a regular basis in 2023 if he can develop further.

Previous 2021 Orioles prospect reviews: Ryan McKenna, Alexander Wells, Kyle Brnovich/Zach Peek/Jean Pinto, Yusniel Diaz/Rylan Bannon

Monday: Terrin Vavra/Joseph Ortiz/Anthony Servideo