With spring workouts quickly approaching, the Orioles have signed and invited 12 non-roster players to their major league spring training camp. The Orioles’ No. 1 priority is apparent, as seven of the 12 players invited were pitchers. These players include left-handers Chris George and Mike Hinckley and right-handers Jake Arrieta, Frank Mata, Josh Perrault, Alfredo Simon and Ross Wolf. Three catchers were also invited to camp including Michel Hernandez, Caleb Joseph and part-time Oriole from last season, Chad Moeller. The lone position players receiving an invite were outfielder Jeff Salazar and infielder Scott Moore.
Of the 12 pitchers invited, Arrieta has the biggest upside and best chance of earning a spot in the starting rotation this season. He is the Orioles No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America and went a combined 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA in with both Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk in 2009. His strikeout-to-walk is an amazing 2.64, as he recorded 148 strikeouts to only 56 free passes. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Arrieta is a big, strong right-hander who has a lot of upside. He has improved significantly since he was drafted out of TCU in 2007 and Orioles fans hope that he keeps getting better so he can compliment the other young, talented pitchers such as Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and David Hernandez.
Simon will try to earn a spot on the Orioles starting rotation again this year after having his 2009 season cut short by Tommy John surgery. He left his second career start on April 14 against the Texas Rangers with elbow discomfort and underwent season-ending surgery on May 5. Simon hopes to continue where he left off last season and once again become a part of the Orioles starting rotation. This could prove to be very difficult, though, considering all the young pitching talent that was called up throughout the course of last season. But a little competition never hurt anybody, right?
The Orioles signed reliever Mike Hinckley back in November after pitching 14 games with the Washington Nationals in 2009. The 27-year-old left-hander will be competing for a spot as a setup man, a position that has plagued the Orioles in recent years. But Hinckley has shown signs of being a reliable setup specialist, as he didn’t allow a run in 14 appearances for the Nationals in 2008. Overall, lefties are hitting just .161 against him in his 28 major league outings.
The Orioles took care of their long-term catcher situation when they called up Matt Wieters last season. But re-signing a veteran like Chad Moeller to show him the ropes and give him a rest every once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. Even though the Orioles invited three catchers to spring training, it is likely that they will only keep the veteran Moeller. He will be competing with Craig Tatum and Michel Hernandez for the backup position behind Wieters, but will most likely earn the spot because of his experience and leadership behind the plate.
Which one of these players do you see making the roster out of spring training?