The Orioles have claimed utilityman Andrew Velazquez off waivers from the Indians, per a club announcement. To create roster space, the team designated fellow infielder Richard Urena.
Velazquez, a 25-year-old switch-hitter, has only minimal MLB experience. In 648 total plate appearances at the Triple-A level, he owns a .260/.316/.415 batting line with 16 home runs.
If Urena clears waivers, he’ll likely end up competing for a job with Velazquez … among others. Both of these players have similar backgrounds — including that they primarily came up as shortstops. Velazquez has greater experience at other spots, particularly the outfield.
The field is rather broad. Urena had himself been claimed off waivers recently. With that move, the O’s dropped Pat Valaika, who’s also still in camp — as is fellow recent addition Ramon Urias. Other utility candidates with MLB experience include Stevie Wilkerson, Jose Rondon, Dilson Herrera, and Jesmuel Valentin. Those and perhaps still other players will be looking to win spots in the bench mix, as the O’s appear set to go with a double-play combo of Jose Iglesias and Hanser Alberto.
Nice pick up by Baltimore. Seems like exactly the kind of player they can DFA in two weeks when another infielder pops up on the wire.
Seriously. What’s the reason behind the churn of marginal utility guys? Does somebody get paid on commission?
Minor league depth. The orioles are paper thin when it comes to middle infielders.
The trick is having guys clear waivers so they can have them in AAA. Been pretty smart way to build depth so far.
Yes, I get picking up guys like this. But why pick one up only to drop him later for someone with a remarkably similar profile?
This guy doesn’t even hit the starting time for a day game at Wrigley.
nice, haven’t heard that one in a while, except I remember it when “day” wasn’t part of it yet
dimitrios in la
Opening day ceremonies start at 12:45. Pretty high OPS there.
Meaningless move, but still appears to be a downgrade. Not even an age benefit. Seems an odd move
Interesting strategy the O’s seem to have. Pick up someone else’s discards, DFA a guy you just picked up, knowing that most 40 man’s are about full or perhaps leaving one spot for a last-minute signing. Lather, rinse, repeat. They have stockpiled guys and must be gambling that one of them turns into the next Hanser Alberto.
Who might be a fluke. Actually, he probably is a fluke after never being good before 2019.
Honestly whether or not he is a fluke is completely irrelevant. The Orioles do not have a single middle infield prospect of note anywhere close to the major leagues.
Which is why you’re seeing this kind of stockpile.
If any of these guys prove to be capable—Alberto could easily be shifted to 3B. It’s not as if Rio Ruiz should be penciled in as a guarantee either. There’s plenty of room for guys.
The problem is they have to actually see playing time to develop. If you have too many, as appears may be the case, then you are limiting the likelihood one does actually grow into something useful. Could still happen, but much less likely if not getting regular extended work.
This makes more sense if they are just trying to find a minimal use utility type. But why so picky on a utility guy for the O’s
@jbigz12, gotta disagree, whether or not Alberto’s 2019 season will turn out to be a fluke is very relevant. If stock piling players of questionable quality produces a surprisingly valuable player every once in a while, than the stock piling is a worthwhile endeavor. More so if the surprisingly valuable player can repeat his surprisingly successful performance over a 2nd season, probably resulting in a valuable trade chip. Otherwise, if all the stock piled players continue to play poorly, the stock piling of poorly playing middle infielders and utility players will ultimately be an exercise in futility as the difference between stock piling four of these players versus five of them is what would actually be irrelevant in a practical sense.
You have been found guilty of inappropriate dismissiveness and have been place on a 48 hour posting suspension…
What happened to their shiny toy, Richie Martin? They (and every media guy I ever listened to or read) LOVED him, swooned over him….couldn’t get enough of him! The Orioles continue to be a dumpster fire.
Can we please get this idiot out of here? No one uses MySpace anymore buddy. It’s a Facebook world now. Your services are no longer useful.
I have taken over the Assumes username. it’s time to retire.
You’re really grasping for straws now.
Alberto’s performance has absolutely no bearing on any utility infielder the O’s choose to claim. Just like Brad Hand doesn’t have any relevance to a pitcher the Padres claim. Whatever the next waiver claim becomes is independent of those who came before him. That statement is just complete garbage.
We’re gonna have to put a ban on your account for being a self righteous little weenie.
Normal teams have an actual grouping of AAA infielders. The orioles AAA infield mix has been created through these waiver claims. There’s likely 2 roster spots available on the big league club as well.
It’s Wilkerson, Urena, Valaika, and Velasquez that are the favorites. With the org stating that they intend to send Martin to AAA. Most other ML teams have prospects or fringe prospects in camp. The orioles don’t have those in AAA right now. That’s it. It’s really nothing to over analyze.
Triple A has starting positions at 3B and 2B wide open for the losers of this competition. With whatever else is there getting a utility role or finding a job elsewhere.
Come on man, perspective. They swooned over him as a Rule 5 guy. Last year showed he wasn’t ready to hit in the Majors. He can play SS he just has to hit. He may turn into nothing but I’m a season where the O’s knew they’d lose 100 it was a great pickup. 1st round talent picked up in the Rule 5 less than3 years after he’s drafted is good
And he had an ENTIRE season to adjust. He never made it past AA, if you’ll recall. I’m guessing that was for a reason. But whatevs. I’m guessing they’ll have another 100+ season loss as they really haven’t done anything to address their problems. Enjoy the season!
Interesting way to define fluke. If you did a little research, you’d know he’s a career .287 hitter in the minors, including ..309/.300/.438 in 1000 career PA iat Triple-A, with a career strikeout percentage of less than 10%. So what do you want to consider his track record… over 2500 minor league at bats or 182 at bats spread over three seasons as a 25th man in Texas?
If you want to troll the Orioles, you can do a much better job than looking foolish by taking shots at a player who actually has some talent without doing some fact checking first.
I will likely regret getting into this, but I’d like to point out that you can not take a minor league slash line and just call it MLB level ability.
Low K, low BB, low power; he is in the slap hitter mold. Those types tend to have good or bad seasons depending on normal babip fluctuations, and can often see much better looking lines in the minors than they are normally capable of solely because they are playing against inferior defenses. I’m assuming because of that, every projection site does indicate 2019 was more fluke, with all of them expecting a well below average player who will lose around 10% or more off his 2019 bat line.
Plus, Fangraphs did not even have him at league average last year, and he will be 28 by the end of the season so he is unlikely to be improving moving into the future. Perfectly fine temporary stop-gap on a losing club, but it is not like we are discussing even star level in the debated “fluke” season. More likely he is on a bench, to even out of the game, in 3 years time than it is we will still be discussing his value. So why are we so worried about it now?
@mstrchef13, you have cooked up a particularly fishy post! Alberto’s slash line at AAA is 0.309/0.330/0.438, you – oops – entered his OBP incorrectly! A AAA OPS of 0.768 is – oops – significantly below average for the PCL. His OPS across all minor league stops is only 0.709, hardly supportive of his 0.751 OPS last season with Baltimore. Please try to get your data correct and the results of your fact checking in line with reality before accusing someone of trolling the Orioles. You can do a much better job than your this poor, fishy post. Buck up!
550 Plate Appearances at the MLB Level, many coming against the Yankees and Rays pitching staff helps mitigate assertions of the ‘flukiness’ of his performance. I think Alberto is a legitimate hitter against LHP, and would benefit greatly from a platoon role (maybe with Ruiz at 3rd base, but Ruiz is a bit of a reverse splits guy). He put up a 3.1 WAR season and cost the Orioles absolutely nothing, so I would expect that they will continue with this style of acquisition strategy with the hopes of continuing to find 3+ WAR players off the trash heap with some level of consistency (even if it is only catching lightning in a bottle for a single year, as some posters are claiming will be the case with Alberto).
Alberto played 100+ games in 2018 in AAA (his most recent and meaningful minor league experience) with an OPS of .797 – the average OPS in the PCL in 2018 was .763 – so in his past two years of baseball he exceeded league average in 2018 (in AAA) and matched league average in 2019 (in MLB). So he has close to 1,000 Plate Appearance in the past two years yielding statistical performance that matches or exceeds the average performance of the league in which he competed, and would further mitigate assertions regarding 2019 being a fluke. Pretty compelling value for the Orioles given status of current rebuilding efforts and Alberto’s acquisition cost.
Hard to call it a fluke when he finished second only to JD against lefties. He doesn’t have much of a track record but he’s turned a corner, you don’t fluke into the numbers he put up against lefties.
Been pretty savy in my opinion.
Alberto should only be playing against lefties. I bet him and Ruiz platoon at 3B while the rest of these guys battle over the 2B opening.
The Orioles have cornered the market on utility infielders. It has to be some kind of fetish.
net loss, even if optionable
Do I feel bad for Richard Urena? Yes, yes I do.
The Orioles have had success with guys the Indians haven’t found valuable. Santanders, wojciechowski even Guthrie a while back. Not saying any of them are superstars, but they might find a way to get some value out of him.
Woj is terrible
Terrible is relative to the team. He is slated as one of three in the starring rotation before spring starts. So again he provides some value for them, even if it is giving innings and taking losses while they wait for someone else to develop
Put up 1.3 WAR in half a major league season as a waiver claim. The Orioles should be shooting for this type of terrible while grooming the high end pitching talent in their farm system (Grayson Rodriguez, Gray Fenter, DL Hall) for MLB contributions in 2021 and beyond.
I’m just glad that some team was dumb enough to clam him. He stinks.
Don’t sleep on Rondon. He played some good games last year for the White Sox.
O’s planning on winning with volume
Teams in-need of a RH stick should be looking at Alberto for a midseason trade. Yes he doesn’t walk but a career .346 batting average with an .816 OPS against southpaws is too good to ignore.
It’s a good move for the Orioles. They keep adding depth to their AAA roster. They have had nothing as depth being considered over the last years.
Peart of the game
I like Velazquez’s 31/34 stolen base rate back in 2018 between AA and AAA. He could be an excellent pinch runner and bench infielder for Baltimore. His strikeout tendencies concern me when his walk rate is where it is.
Well this signing kind of sums up the Orioles. They really need a rebuild. They do not have a strong minor league core however they are turning in the right direction. Due to poor drafts they need depth at multiple positions if they can find multiple younger players utility type cspable of playing SS at a decent level usually those players tend to be better than average athletes with stronger arms and defensive skills. They can play almost any position. Get a few to play ok get some value and trade for a prospect you wer ill build your farm in 2 years eith drafts and signings 3-4 years you jave a chsnce at contending!
Gonna be a real boat race between the O’s and Pirates this year to see who can lose 100 first.