Baltimore Orioles: Three prospects who will make an impact in 2021

NORTH PORT, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Rylan Bannon #81 of the Baltimore Orioles plays defense at third base during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park on February 22, 2020 in North Port, Florida. The Braves defeated the Orioles 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
NORTH PORT, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Rylan Bannon #81 of the Baltimore Orioles plays defense at third base during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park on February 22, 2020 in North Port, Florida. The Braves defeated the Orioles 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next
Baltimore Orioles
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

A healthy Yusniel Diaz can be a quality contributor for the Baltimore Orioles.

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz. Currently ranked 8th on MLB Pipeline’s list of top prospects for the Baltimore Orioles, Diaz was the centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but has yet to make his major league debut due to a number of nagging injuries.

Someone who can hit for both average and power, Diaz also possesses an above-average arm that plays well in right field. There’s even enough speed and athleticism to play centerfield if needed.

In 76 games at the Double-A level in 2019, Diaz hit .262 with a 10% walk rate, 11 home runs, 19 doubles, four triples, and a 135 wRC+. Offense was hard to come by in the Eastern League last year, unless you were Yusniel Diaz.

Despite an extreme amount of prospect fatigue setting in, Diaz is an above-average defender with average to above-average tools across the board who could develop into a reliable outfield option and a regular 3-5 WAR player each season.

The issue is possible playing time in 2021. Gold Glove finalist Anthony Santander will be back from an oblique strain that shut him down early in 2020, Austin Hays will get another opportunity to prove he can stay healthy across a full season in centerfield, and Ryan Mountcastle is ticketed to return to left field where he played admirably in his first big league action at a new position.

There’s also the possible return of Trey Mancini, who is back at Camden Yards working out after missing all of 2020 due to a cancer diagnosis. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and Mancini attempting to come back from colon cancer, there’s no timeline yet for when he could return to the lineup.

With the recent release of Renato Nunez and the Orioles finally showing that they aren’t afraid to keep Chris Davis on the bench, moving Mountcastle to first base to make room for Diaz if he starts the year off hot in Triple-A would work and make the Orioles lineup that much more interesting.

Next. Hanser Alberto is going to make some team happy. dark

The 2021 season may be another long year for the Baltimore Orioles, but more young talent is on the way and these three prospects are just a small peak at many prospects who could end up making an impact at the major league level next season.