On Tuesday night, Ryan Mountcastle was hit by a pitch, came out of the game early, and has not played since. Last night, Trey Mancini was hit by a pitch and came out of the game early. Both of these players remain out of the Orioles starting lineup on Friday night. One name who is there is a fresh call-up who will be making his MLB debut: O’s prospect Tyler Nevin. Reliever Brandon Waddell was optioned to Norfolk to make room on the roster.
The Orioles acquired Nevin from the Rockies, along with Bowie infielder Terrin Vavra, in the trade that sent Mychal Givens out to Colorado. Nevin is one of several infield prospects assigned to Norfolk to begin the season and to date is the only one who has not gotten hurt. He leads the Tides offense with five home runs in 17 games, though you might rather see higher numbers across most of his .212/.260/.470 batting line there.
Nevin was originally drafted by the Rockies late in the first round in the 2015 draft, out of Poway High School in California. Colorado selected Nevin two picks after the Orioles chose Mountcastle. The Twitter account for varsity baseball at his alma mater seems to have been the one to publicly break the news of Nevin’s call-up. I would imagine the high school coach was among the first few phone calls made.
Whether Nevin remains for long probably depends upon whether Mountcastle and/or Mancini end up on the injured list. Manager Brandon Hyde told O’s reporters before Friday’s game that the O’s “dodged a bullet” with Mancini and that he may only miss another game or two. Hyde also said Mountcastle is expected to start this weekend. So the O’s might want Nevin to get back down to regular playing time in the minors. The 17 games he’s played at Norfolk are the only games he’s played above Double-A. The pandemic-canceled 2020 minor league season would have probably seen him at the Triple-A level.
Nevin has been playing both first base and right field at Norfolk, so the O’s could also keep him around and give him some outfield playing time, if they want to do that. He was a third baseman when he was drafted, and played there a bit in 2018 and 2019, but seems to have mostly slid off of the hot corner. The Orioles have not had him play there in 2021. Nevin is the first baseman as he makes his debut on Friday night. He marks a milestone in the rebuild project in the sense that he is the first Mike Elias-acquired position player prospect to debut.
MLB Pipeline ranks Nevin as the #22 prospect in the Orioles system, with a scouting capsule that reads like so:
Everywhere he’s played, Nevin displayed strong plate discipline and an ability to make hard contact consistently. He shows good raw power but it doesn’t always translate into games, leading many to believe there is more to unlock from his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame. Even so, Nevin matched his career high with 13 homers at Double-A in ’19 while drawing a ton of walks and keeping his strikeouts down, and showing glimpses of being able to use the whole field. It’s a right-handed swing with more of a hit than power profile at this point, though Nevin could grow into an impact bat if he learns to drive the ball more consistently.
Perhaps the Orioles really like the data they’ve seen from Nevin’s first 17 Norfolk games, or perhaps he was just the convenient option who’s already on the 40-man roster and is not himself injured.
Here’s the Orioles lineup for Friday night:
- Cedric Mullins - CF
- Freddy Galvis - SS
- Anthony Santander - DH
- Pedro Severino - C
- Maikel Franco - 3B
- Pat Valaika - 2B
- DJ Stewart - RF
- Tyler Nevin - 1B
- Ryan McKenna - LF
That’s the lineup and defense in support of Matt Harvey as the Orioles seek to avoid losing an 11th consecutive game for the first time since they racked up 13 straight losses in September, 2009.