The Orioles hope that next week's three-day minicamp in Sarasota, Fla., will give them their first look at a pitcher who'll help them in 2018 and for years to come.
For the seventh year, and the fifth in Sarasota, the team will gather a select group of pitchers; allowing manager Buck Showalter, pitching coach Roger McDowell and bullpen coach Alan Mills an opportunity to get to know some in the organization they haven't had a chance to work with.
For the minicamp, which begins Jan. 8, the Orioles have issued invitations to 16 pitchers. Some of them are familiar. Right-hander Mychal Givens, who lives about an hour away in Tampa, Fla., will be there to catch up with Showalter, McDowell and Mills.
So will left-hander Richard Bleier, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Right-hander Miguel Castro, who the Orioles would like to see in the 2018 rotation will be there, too.
It's not Bleier, Castro and Givens who intrigue the Orioles, though. They're known commodities. It's some of the others.
Right-hander Hunter Harvey, the team's No. 1 draft choice in 2013 who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016, will be on hand. The Orioles aren't sure where Harvey will begin the 2018 season, but they'd like him to end it with the Orioles.
Left-hander Tanner Scott, who was at last year's minicamp and pitched in two late-season games in 2017, will be back. Scott probably won't begin the season with the Orioles, either, but they'll be disappointed if he's not a major contributor at some point.
A year ago, Jimmy Yacabonis was in minicamp, and the right-hander was impressive late in 2017. He's expected to compete for a bullpen spot this year, and with options remaining, he’s valuable.
In 2015, Givens put his talent on display at minicamp and made his major league debut midseason. A year later, left-hander Donnie Hart did the same, and last year, it was Yacabonis' turn.
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Showalter, McDowell and Mills will get their first live look at Yefry Ramirez, who was 5-0 with a 3.66 ERA in six starts with Double-A Bowie after the Orioles acquired the right-hander from the New York Yankees.
Left-hander Nestor Cortes, a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees' organization, is expected to compete for at least a bullpen spot. The Orioles have an opening or two for a left-hander due to Zach Britton's torn Achilles tendon and Hart's inconsistency.
Chris Lee, who the Orioles expected big things from in 2017 but was a disappointment, will again be at the camp. The left-hander will be joined by minor league products David Hess and Lucas Long.
Hess, a right-hander who was the Orioles' fifth-round selection in 2014, was added to the 40-man roster, while Long, a right-hander who was the 24th-round pick in the same draft but wasn't added to the roster, will both get looks. Both pitched for Double-A Bowie in 2017.
Keegan Akin, the team's second selection in 2016, received an invitation. He pitched creditably for Class-A Frederick in 2017.
Dariel Alvarez, a familiar name who played the outfield in 14 games for the Orioles in 2015 and 2016, was converted to pitching last spring training, and underwent Tommy John surgery in April. The Orioles want to check on his progress.
Three other minor league left-handers have been invited: Andrew Faulkner, Luis Gonzalez and Joely Rodriguez.
Faulkner re-signed with the Orioles in November after being acquired from the Texas Rangers in April. He pitched in 20 games for the Rangers in 2015 and 2016.
Gonzalez was impressive for both Frederick and Salt River in the Arizona Fall League, while Rodriguez, who signed with the Orioles in November, has 38 games of major league experience with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016 and 2017.