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Orioles call up prospect Terrin Vavra; Jonathan Araúz lands on injured list

Vavra, 25, was acquired from the Rockies for Mychal Givens.

Orioles infielder Terrin Vavra
The Mark Brown who took this photo of Terrin Vavra in spring training is not me.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Another prospect has made his way onto the 2022 Orioles. The team recalled infielder Terrin Vavra on Tuesday afternoon as a replacement on the roster for the injured Jonathan Araúz, who suffered a fracture of a finger on his right hand during Monday’s game against the Rays.

Vavra, 25, arrived in the Orioles system along with Tyler Nevin in the 2020 trade that sent Mychal Givens to the Colorado Rockies. He has played his way through a couple of injury-plagued seasons since. Vavra was limited to 40 games at Double-A Bowie last season, batting .248/.388/.430. He’s played 45 games for Norfolk in 2022, with an even better batting line of .324/.435/.451. Vavra has been splitting time between second base and center field.

This is not the most exciting infield prospect call-up the Orioles could have made. If you’re out there wanting to see either Jordan Westburg or Gunnar Henderson, you’re not alone. It makes sense to me to give Vavra a crack at the opportunity at this moment, though, because he’s here as a replacement for a seldom-used reserve and may not be ticketed for regular playing time. Indeed, he’s not in the starting lineup on Tuesday night.

Vavra is also older than those other guys, so it’s time for the Orioles to see if they have something in him. Although that’s an exciting minor league OBP, it comes with downsides. Namely, Vavra has hit two home runs in 173 at-bats this season. He is probably not going to keep walking in more than 13% of plate appearances if MLB pitchers do not fear his ability to hit the ball hard.

Originally drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft by Colorado, Vavra is the #12 prospect in the most recent MLB Pipeline ranking of the system. He placed even higher than this on FanGraphs, sitting in the top 10 before the 2022 draft picks entered the ranking. Pipeline doesn’t have draft picks on its ranking yet. FG’s report on Vavra offers some sense of his potential:

Vavra isn’t very physical and likely won’t have the kind of power necessary to be an impact everyday player, but his swing is super athletic, he tracks pitches deep into the hitting zone, and we think he’ll make enough contact to be a valuable multi-positional role player capable of manning a variety of premium positions.

Even if Vavra had been in the starting lineup, probably not many people outside of the Vavra family would have been rushing out to buy tickets to Tuesday’s game against the Rays to see a player described this way. He has potential value to the next good Orioles team, but only so much.

If Vavra can live up to what’s described here, that’ll still be a win for the Orioles of the near future. A variety of infielders who did not hit at all have already shuffled through for the 2022 team: Chris Owings, Richie Martin, Rylan Bannon, Kelvin Gutiérrez. You can put his fellow trade piece Nevin in this category too, though Nevin hasn’t been shuffled off, yet.

A capable backup at a few positions with modest hitting ability would be useful. We’ll see how much playing time the O’s give him from here on to figure out whether Vavra might be able to be that player.