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After Cuts, Bidding a Fond Farewell

Ed Smith Stadium at night.
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There’s no question about it, the most difficult part of following a minor league farm system closely is saying goodbye when cuts are made. Each player is different and their backgrounds unique, so this process of renewal is typical and expected yet so very hurtful to those who experience it. To every player released or waived I wish them luck going forward. It won’t be hard to recall their contributions when things turn around and this is my way of not forgetting about them now.

Mason Janvrin is a quiet and reserved player. His game is speed-based, but not only on the bases. Everything he does is powered by elite moving legs. Out of the box he can get into gear in one strong stride. I noticed that during 2021 his approach at the plate was a bit more power/uppercut oriented. The pop was a sign of strength to most but I see it as another example of his athleticism being able to make up differences. In the outfield he gets to everything because of his quickness.

Willy Yahn is a player with no true flaws in his game. Fundamentally sound through all baseball movements, his skills are at a high level but his versatility is even higher. To be good enough at multiple spots that you never hurt your team at any of them is exceptional. Yahn transitioned to catcher too, filling out his positional scorecard. Watching Yahn finish out his time in O’s colors, it is impossible to not see him as a motivating force and therefore a future coach. It’s said often that a particular player ‘would make a good coach’ but I think Yahn could make a monumental impact as a baseball educator/communicator. He’s upbeat all the time and I can tell he’s an expert level processor/reactor. I’d love to see generations of young O’s in the future cross paths with Willy. It would be to their benefit.

JC Escarra is as strong as an ox and brings his own kinds of versatility to the table. Esca can play corner and he’s a short-hop specialist, as he came up as a catcher. Being able to function with more than one glove makes sense because he’s a true entertainment renaissance man too. JC was in a music video as a pitcher. If there’s nobody interested in his power bat, I’d be surprised (actually shocked)… but with his Miami swagger and smile I could see him making it on TV and being famous that way.

Yorkiskandy Alvarez is a Cuban infielder I’ve watched since his rookie league season in 2020. He helped that team get better and introduced some stars like Gunnar Henderson and Darell Hernaiz to pro ball. Seeing him in the O’s dugout for spring games was bittersweet as I knew him not joining an affiliate meant the end was near. I’ve watched him mature on an off the field and it’s tough to see a guy who has reached a higher level as a man be let go. Yorky has a huge smile and the passion to back it up. Baseball is his life and I’m hoping this inspires him.

Carlos Del Rosario became a pal over the years. His release is like a deep paper cut to me. Making sure to respect the line between fan and informed observer is something I’m always conscious of. Watching a friend not meet their own standards is a gut-wrenching endeavor. There may not be too many late night chats about which minor league sluggers are hot or whose stuff is popping. I hope I’m wrong. Carlos’ English is perfect and he has a deep voice. I could see (hear) him calling games and being great at it. Fans should know that he’s still supporting the O’s because he loves the people who taught him and helped him. No hard feelings from Big C.

Garrett Farmer also helped Janvrin and Yorky to the rookie league title in Sarasota. The 24 year old was picked in the 25th round and in 40 games has a WHIP of 1.04. Farm doesn’t light up the gun but he can snap it in the low-mid 90’s and keeps the walks low. I’d be surprised if somebody’s system can’t find a spot for him. Also he’s a dog guy and has a lab named Slugger so fans can be sure he’s a decent dude.

Zach Jarrett has been doing things in O’s colors for a while now. He was selected even later than Farmer, in the 28th round back in 2017. Finally breaking through for double digit steals and homers last season, it appeared that a breakthrough to the bigs was imminent. A logjam of outfielders and a low action trade deadline kept spots scarce however and it didn’t materialize. Scouts knew his name and his level of performance this camp season so he should catch on soon. He belongs on a roster playing every day and seeing exactly where his game will end up. If he could convert a handful of his strikeouts into walks it’d help his cause at the plate.

Ryne Ogren is a corner turned catcher and became a better than average backstop, quickly. I was shocked to see him pop out of his crouch and throw lasers to bases, but that’s how players show teams that they’re employable. I was equally shocked when he retired last week but understand the business side and how it’s not always so much fun. When a player like Ogee shows they can adapt or change for the team it’s an indicator of personality. To lose a good team person like that hurts no matter what gear of rebuild you’re in.

Two more names that O’s fans won’t be seeing also helped that FCL team take the title in Lamar Sparks and Andrew Martinez, an outfielder and infielder, respectively. Sparks it seems never reached full health but before his injury he was dripping with athleticism. I wonder how healthy he is and if he’ll be that long striding runner that he was just months ago. Martinez has outstanding transfer speed and keeps a good posture/stance in the hole.

I hope I didn’t insult any player by mentioning them in past tense or making light of their contributions. This is a sensitive subject and I’d like for supporters to remember them and their roles in the organization. These guys play baseball but they live lives too and have feelings and families like we do. As time goes by I hope very much that they can look back with pride at what they did.

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