It's December, and the Baltimore Orioles are not making any moves of note, but thankfully we still have Monday's and that means Minor League Monday's here at Orioles101. Today we attempt to answer the question of which Orioles minor league has the best shot at success in 2014?
In reality, that is a pretty large, not very specific question, because how do we define minor leaguer? For the sake of this article and answering the question, we will define Orioles minor leaguer as a player who played the majority of his games in the Minor Leagues in 2013.
Good, now let's get down to brass tax. The Orioles return a good group of core players in Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, JJ Hardy, Chris Tillman, Nick Markakis and Manny Machado, but there will be some spots open for either new comers or minor leaguers to come in and make a difference in 2014.
So which Orioles minor leaguer has the best shot at success in 2014? Our answer will likely not come as a surprise, but we believe that OF Henry Urrutia is set up for a successful 2014.
Urrutia got some time in the big leagues in 2013 as he played in 24 games for the Orioles, while hitting .276 with a triple, two RBI and five runs scored in 58 at bats.
Those numbers may not be mind blowing by any stretch of the imagination, but bare with us, there is more. The Orioles, as of now, have yet to really address the left field position as Nate McLouth has signed a two year deal with the Washington Nationals, and Baltimore resigned Nolan Reimold to a one year deal. Urrutia, who has been working to improve his defensive play, could be a legitimate candidate to be the left fielder in 2014.
Urrutia is the best option on the roster right now, because let's face it, do any of us believe that Reimold will stay healthy? Urrutia had a lot of success in the minor leagues in 2013 hitting a combined .347 with nine homers, 21 doubles, 50 RBI and 32 walks in 81 games played, thus showing that playing everyday seemed to help him, which is something he did not really get to do at the MLB level in 2013.
He continued to work on his craft in the fall as he took part in the Arizona Fall League and was absolutely phenomenal. Urrutia finished the AFL season with a .377 average (3rd in the league), three homers, 15 RBI, three doubles, and a .434 OBP in 18 games played. He helped lead the Saguaros to the league title, as well as being named to the Fall Stars Game and the league's top prospects list.
Urrutia would likely begin the season as the left fielder against right handed pitchers as he had more success against right handers in 2013 with a .294 average in 51 at bats in the big leagues and .348 in 304 plate appearances in the minors against righties.
Perhaps the Orioles are perfectly intent with allowing Urrutia to try and fill that void of a much needed left handed bat in the lineup as he did show improvement in power during the AFL and did produce some power in the minors as well.
Incase you were wondering, Kevin Gausman could not be considered as our choice because he played more games (20) in the big leagues than he did in the minors (16), thus was ineligible.
Henry is our choice as the Orioles minor leaguer who has the best shot at success in 2014 for the Birds, but who is yours? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
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