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Fall Instructional Camp Primer

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It’s been a while since I did a piece about the farm system, so you know what, let’s do one. Unfortunately, there is not much to talk about in the offseason when it comes to the farm unless it is about a trade involving prospects. Fortunately, the Orioles are currently having their Fall Instructional Fall league down in Sarasota, Florida. While it may not seem that important since the media or fans aren’t allowed in, and no games are played, it is critical to the organization.

This Instructional League is one of the only times that Mike Elias and his development staff get to look at these prospects upfront and get them involved with their advanced technology to help them. The prospects that show up for this camp are usually a lot better off because of the assistance they get from the Orioles staff.

With all that said, let’s break down this roster and see who the Orioles need to keep their eyes on during this instructional league.

Pitchers

There are a lot of interesting names here, so let me highlight a couple of them

Carter Baumler: RHP

Baumler is going to be a fascinating name to watch going into 2022. Baumler was a 5th round pick in the 2020 draft as an over-slot selection out of high school. He hasn’t pitched yet due to recovering from Tommy John Surgery he got in the 2020 offseason. Baumler is now back and healthy, so it will be interesting to see what the Orioles staff has to say about him. While it may be in tiny sample sizes, it is still great to see him here, and I can’t wait to see how being in this instructional league can help him as he develops.

Read More in our Interview with Baumler Here

Jean Pinto: RHP

I already wrote an article about Pinto, so that I will keep this short. Pinto is still the most underrated prospect in the Orioles’ farm to me. Pinto has shown to have great control and has great velocity. He is also still 20, and to see him on this roster gets me excited. I can’t wait to see where his career goes from here.

Catchers

There are not too many names on this list, so here is the name that stands out the most.

Samuel Basallo

Basallo is the name that stands out the most because of how important he is. He is one of the leading International Free Agents that the Orioles have signed since Mike Elias took over. This is also one of the first times that Basallo has been in America, so he gets a unique chance to work with the staff here for one of first times. Basallo is still very young as he is only 17, but he is already showing his raw power and seems to have a lot of potential. The Orioles continuing to invest heavily in the IFA Market is also an exciting aspect of this rebuild and seeing these players here shows how far we have come in such little time.

Infielders

Another fascinating list, so here are the ones that stand out.

Maikol Hernandez

Hernandez is the other top international player that was signed in Basallo’s class. He stands out the same; it is just so refreshing to see these prospects in this league because it once again shows how far the O’s have come. Even if they don’t do a lot during this Instructional League, them just being there is probably enough. Hernandez is a very tall Shortstop that stands at 6-3, 175 pounds. He has the makings of the most talented International prospects of his age; he has a lot of tools he doesn’t know how to use quite yet. However, he will have plenty of time to learn as he is only 16, but he does have a long powerful swing and is very athletic. Hernandez and Basallo being here on these rosters show a glimpse of what could be the future for the Orioles.

Coby Mayo

Once again, I already talked about Mayo in a separate piece. Mayo feels like the next great Orioles third baseman. He has every tool you want out of a third baseman: great power, strong arm, good throwing mechanics, and soft hands. Mayo is just so exciting, and seeing his name on this list is interesting because of how the Orioles get to work one-on-one with him. This means that Mayo is only going to get better working with the Orioles staff. This player still has one of the brightest futures on the farm.

Outfielders

The last group is the outfielders, and these two players are exceptional.

Heston Kjerstad

There is no player on this list that makes me happier to see than Heston Kjerstad. The former number two overall pick hasn’t appeared in a game yet due to medical reasons, but he is on this roster. The fact that he is on the roster means that he will probably be playing with an Orioles affiliate next year. The Orioles also get a chance to work with Kjerstad first hand and unlock the potential he has. He has a huge left-handed swing that looks so smooth and has a ton of raw power. He clearly has a lot of potential, and when you mix the value of Kjerstad with Mayo and Baumler together, I think Kjerstad will end up being a fine pick at number two.

Colton Cowser

Colton Cowser is on this roster, along with the majority of the 2021 class. Cowser has such a sound approach both offensively and defensively. He can hit for a high average and get on base while hitting for a decent amount of power. In comparison, he has great instincts in the outfield with a great arm and ball tracking ability. It is not unique that Cowser is here on this roster, but this is also one of the first times Elias’s staff can interact and work with the Orioles draft picks from 2021. Cowser and the rest of the 2021 picks being on this roster is another exciting development.

While most fans will probably brush this off as nothing that important, the fact that this league gives the Orioles a chance to interact with some of the best prospects from one of the best farm systems in baseball to help their development is fascinating.

I tried to avoid names that people are probably familiar with on this breakdown (with some obvious exceptions), and instead, I wanted to focus on the players who might benefit the most from being here.

This is still a very young farm, and this league will give the Orioles a more defined answer of where they are in their efforts to build a sustainable franchise.

While it’s a bummer that no media or fans will see the instructional league, fans should know that big things are happening down in Sarasota this fall.

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