Orioles minor league report: From Kyle Bradish to Cade Povich, a look at how every prospect GM Mike Elias has acquired is performing

The 2023 trade deadline is Mike Elias’ first as a buyer.

Since taking over the rebuilding Orioles in November 2018, the executive vice president and general manager has sold at each deadline to build up the farm system. But when he sent Triple-A left-hander Easton Lucas to the Oakland Athletics for right-hander Shintaro Fujinami two weeks ago, it was the first time the Orioles had been on the buy side of a prospect-for-player trade during the season since Elias took over.

It’s possible sometime Tuesday there could be a second, and perhaps a third. Elias said during his pre-trade deadline news conference Friday “it’s tough trading away young players” but that building the best farm system in the sport won’t cause him to be overly cautious when considering trades.

“That’s not going to make us hug those guys more than we should because we did a good job scouting and developing them,” Elias said. “I don’t believe that’s going to make us any more reluctant to make a trade. I think we’re making trades because we feel that the value that we’re getting back in a different way, shape and form is worth the value that we’re losing.”

Adding prospects is no longer the focus, but the way the players the Orioles acquired in trades perform will continue to be vital to the organization’s overall health and success. Given that, here’s a look at how every prospect the Orioles have acquired as part of a player-for-player trade is performing in 2023, broken down into categories.

Major league experience

Starting pitcher Kyle Bradish: As of now, the 26-year-old right hander is the best player Elias has acquired. In his second big league season, Bradish is the Orioles’ best starting pitcher with a 3.29 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 104 innings. He was one of four players Baltimore received from the Los Angeles Angels for starting pitcher Dylan Bundy in December 2019.

Relief pitcher Yennier Cano: The sinkerballer wasn’t the main part of the package the Orioles got back from the Minnesota Twins for closer Jorge López last summer, but he’s turned out to be one of Elias’ biggest trade successes. Cano broke out this season in the back end of Baltimore’s bullpen to earn an All-Star appearance. In 51 1/3 innings, closer Félix Bautista’s setup man has a 1.93 ERA.

Utilityman Terrin Vavra: The infielder-corner outfielder is no longer in the majors, but he spent the final two months of 2022 and most of the first two months of 2023 on the Orioles’ bench. He’s a career .254 hitter in 67 MLB games. Vavra, one of three players acquired from the Colorado Rockies for reliever Mychal Givens in August 2020, hit .333 with a .906 OPS with Triple-A Norfolk before he was placed on the injured list in June.

Top 30 prospects

Double-A Bowie outfielder Jud Fabian: The Orioles technically didn’t trade for Fabian. Instead, they acquired a draft pick in addition to three players from the Miami Marlins in exchange for relievers Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser last spring. They used that Competitive Balance B Round pick to select Fabian, an outfielder ranked as the ninth-best prospect in the Orioles’ system by Baseball America. Between High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie, Fabian has 16 home runs in 85 games with an .806 OPS.

Triple-A Norfolk left-hander Cade Povich: As the biggest piece in the López trade, Povich was promoted to Norfolk last week after striking out 33.4% of the batters he faced in Double-A. The southpaw is ranked as Baltimore’s second-best pitching prospect and No. 10 overall.

Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Chayce McDermott: The high-strikeout starter was one of two pitching prospects the Orioles received in the three-team deal that sent Trey Mancini to the Houston Astros last summer. McDermott, ranked as Baltimore’s 14th-best prospect, has allowed just 48 hits while striking out 106 in 81 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A.

Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Seth Johnson: The other pitcher Baltimore acquired in the Mancini deal, Johnson has yet to pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery last year. Despite the surgery, Johnson is a well-regarded pitching prospect, ranked No. 21 in the Orioles’ system.

High-A Aberdeen right-hander Juan Nunez: Also joining Baltimore in the López trade, Nunez is ranked as the club’s 26th-best prospect — and ninth-best pitching one — by Baseball America. The 22-year-old has a 4.36 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings between Low-A Delmarva and Aberdeen.

Double-A Bowie right-hander Jean Pinto: The 22-year-old right-hander is no longer ranked by Baseball America as one of the Orioles’ top 30 prospects, but he was earlier this year after the publication’s first midseason update. Pinto, one of two young pitchers Baltimore received from the Angels for José Iglesias in December 2020, has a 3.15 ERA between Aberdeen and Bowie.

Solid performers

Double-A Bowie right-hander Kyle Brnovich: After missing most of 2022 because of Tommy John surgery, Brnovich returned in late June, striking out 21 batters and allowing five runs in 16 innings at every level between the FCL and Double-A. Along with Bradish, the 25-year-old was one of the four pitchers the Orioles got back for Bundy.

Double-A Bowie right-hander Zach Peek: Along with Bradish and Brnovich, Peek joined the organization from the Angels after the Bundy trade. Peek posted a 3.57 ERA in 11 starts last year before undergoing Tommy John surgery in August.

High-A Aberdeen outfielder Elio Prado: As one of two players acquired from the Boston Red Sox in July 2019 for starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, Prado, 21, posted a .743 OPS in 65 games for Delmarva to earn his promotion to High-A.

High-A Aberdeen right-hander Yaqui Rivera: While Fabian was the biggest get in the Scott-Sulser deal, Rivera was one of three minor leagues also included. The lanky reliever has a 1.82 ERA with a 33.8% strikeout rate between Delmarva and Aberdeen.

Low-A Delmarva left-hander Juan Rojas: The 19-year-old missed most of this season with an injury, but he returned in early July and struck out four across three innings in his first game with the Shorebirds. Rojas was the youngest of the four pitchers the Orioles added in the López trade.

Wait and see

Double-A Bowie right-hander Tyler Burch: In 23 relief outings, Burch has a 3.03 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. He joined the Orioles two summers ago in a one-for-one deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for infielder Freddy Galvis.

Double-A Bowie infielder Greg Cullen: The 26-year-old joined the organization three summers ago from the Atlanta Braves as part of the return for left-hander Tommy Milone. In 40 games this year mostly between Bowie and Norfolk, Cullen has a .403 on-base percentage with a .739 OPS.

High-A infielder Isaac De Leon: The Dominican Republic native was acquired three summers ago in a one-for-one deal with the Miami Marlins in exchange for reliever Richard Bleier. De Leon, 21, is hitting .191 with the IronBirds this year.

Low-A Delmarva outfielder Mishael Deson: Joining the organization in August 2020 alongside Vavra and infielder Tyler Nevin in exchange for Givens, Deson is on the injured list and hasn’t played this season.

FCL infielder Victor González: As one of two players who joined the Orioles from the New York Mets in August 2020 for reliever Miguel Castro, González has a .639 OPS between the Florida Complex League and Low-A.

FCL outfielder Kevin Guerrero: Also in the Scott-Sulser deal, the 19-year-old has a .644 OPS in rookie ball.

Low-A Delmarva infielder Noelberth Romero: The other player the Orioles got back for Cashner, Romero is hitting .204 across multiple levels.

Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Garrett Stallings: Between Double- and Triple-A, Stallings has a 4.83 ERA in 82 innings. The 25-year-old joined the Orioles’ farm system alongside Pinto in the Iglesias trade.

High-A Aberdeen left-hander Antonio Velez: Also part of the Scott-Sulser trade, the 26-year-old reliever has a 5.26 ERA between Bowie and Aberdeen.

High-A Aberdeen right-hander Kyle Virbitsky: The 6-foot-7 right-hander is the most recent trade addition to the farm system, coming to Baltimore alongside Cole Irvin in the deal that sent infield prospect Darell Hernaiz to the Oakland Athletics. Virbitsky, 24, has a 4.48 ERA in 70 1/3 innings for the IronBirds.

No longer in the org

About a dozen prospects Elias traded for in player-for-player deals are no longer in the organization. Some of the trades were insignificant, such as trading away ineffective reliever Mike Wright to the Seattle Mariners in April 2019 for infielder Ryne Ogren, who stopped playing professionally in 2021. Others are more so, such as right-hander Tyler Herb, who the Orioles acquired from the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Mike Yastrzemski. The latter has been a big leaguer for the past five years accruing 11.3 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference, while Herb pitched just one season in the Orioles’ minor league system and is now a part of the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Lucas, who Baltimore sent to the Athletics for Fujinami, was also added via trade as the return for infielder Jonathan Villar from the Marlins in December 2019.

The other prospects the Orioles acquired who are no longer in the organization include: infielder Patrick Dorrian (Yefry Ramírez trade, Pittsburgh Pirates, May 2019), right-hander Isaac Mattson (Bundy, Angels, December 2019), infielder Jahmai Jones (Alex Cobb, Angels, February 2020), right-hander Miguel Padilla (Hector Velázquez, Astros, July 2020), infielder Tyler Nevin (Givens, Rockies, August 2020), left-hander Kevin Smith (Castro, Mets, August 2020), infielder A.J. Graffanino (Milone, Braves, August 2020), outfielder Jose Berroa (Taylor Davis, Pirates, June 2021) and right-hander Luis Osorio (Paul Fry, Arizona Diamondbacks, May 2022).

Farm files

Two Orioles prospects won awards Monday. McDermott was named the International League Pitcher of the Week after striking out seven and allowing two hits in five shutout innings Thursday. Low-A Delmarva left-hander Luis De León won the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Week Award after striking out eight and allowing just one hit in six shutout innings Sunday.


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