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Can These 40-Man Roster Additions Help The Orioles In 2018?

November 21, 2017
The Orioles added three players to their 40-man roster Nov. 20: right-handed pitchers Hunter Harvey and David Hess and catcher Austin Wynns. Here's a look at the chances these three have on impacting the team in 2018.
 
HUNTER HARVEY 
 
Vital Stats: Harvey will be 23 Dec. 9. He was the Orioles' first pick, the 22nd overall selection, in the 2013 draft. Due to injuries, Harvey has made just 38 starts since 2013, with a 7-8 record and 2.56 ERA.
 
In his rehab stints following his July 2016 Tommy John surgery, Harvey allowed two runs on 11 hits in 18.2 innings (0.96 ERA) for the Rookie League Gulf Coast Orioles, short-season Class-A Aberdeen and Low-A Delmarva in 2017.
 
Chances You'll See Him in 2018: Decent. While Harvey doesn't have the innings built up to be a starter, it wouldn't be surprising to see him managed like another No. 1 draft pick, right-hander Dylan Bundy.
 
Bundy underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013, and while it took him until 2016 to return to the majors, he has a chance to be the Orioles' Opening Day starter in 2018.
 
What Could Go Wrong? By the time Bundy made the Orioles in 2016 when he was out of options, he had briefly pitched in the majors before his surgery and in 2015 pitched for Class-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. Conversely, Harvey has never pitched above Delmarva. If he looks strong in spring training, he'll start at either Frederick or Bowie.
 
DAVID HESS 

Vital Stats: Hess, 24, was the Orioles' fifth-round draft pick in 2014. He's 28-28 with a 4.16 ERA in 90 minor league games, including 84 starts. Last season, Hess' second at Bowie, he was 11-9 with a 3.85 ERA.
 
Chances You'll See Him in 2018: Decent. Hess will probably start the season at Triple-A Norfolk, so the Orioles can see how he does there. It's possible Hess could help the Orioles in the bullpen or start later in the season.
 
What Could Go Wrong? Hess could be overmatched at Triple-A. It took two seasons for him to pitch well for the Baysox. In 2016, Hess was 5-13 with a 5.37 ERA.
 
AUSTIN WYNNS 
 
Vital Stats: Wynns will be 27 Dec. 10. The right-handed hitter was the team's 10th round draft pick in 2013. In five seasons in the minors, Wynns has batted .269. Last season, he hit .281 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs for Bowie and threw out 38 percent of runners trying to steal.
 
Chances You'll See Him in 2018: Excellent. The Orioles currently don't have a veteran minor league catcher under contract, though they'll certainly add one or two for spring training with the thought of pairing them with Wynns at Norfolk.
 
If either Chance Sisco or Caleb Joseph gets hurt, Wynns would probably get the first call.
 
What Could Go Wrong? Wynns could find Triple-A, where he's played just eight games, too much for him, but the chances of that happening don't seem great. His climb through the minor leagues has been a gradual one, but Wynns is a confident and gregarious player who's not likely to be intimidated by major leaguers.

***
 
It was a surprise the Orioles only added three players to the 40-man roster, bringing the total to 33.
 
Among those who weren't added to the 40-man roster and are now available in the Dec. 14 Rule 5 draft are left-handed pitchers Luis Gonzalez and John Means, right-handed pitcher Lucas Long and infielder Steve Wilkerson.
 
Gonzalez will be 26 next January and hasn't pitched above Frederick. Means, 24, was 9-9 with a 4.11 ERA in 26 games for Bowie. Long, 25, was 9-6 with a 2.95 ERA in 31 games (14 starts) for the Baysox.
 
Wilkerson, a 25-year-old utility player, batted .305 in 112 games for the Keys and Baysox. He's played second and some third with a smattering of shortstop, and the Orioles want their utility player to be a strong defender at short.