Orioles prospects

January 23, 1999|By Roch Kubatko

Matt Riley

Position: Starting pitcher

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

Age: 19

How acquired: Chosen in third round of 1997 draft

School: Sacramento (Calif.) City College

Estimated arrival in majors: 2000

Repertoire: Fastball, curve, changeup

Best pitch: A high-70s overhand curve with lots of bite.

Working on: Gaining more consistency with his off-speed stuff, and the nuances of his position, like fielding bunts and holding runners on first.

Calvin Pickering

Position: First base

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

Age: 22

How acquired: Chosen in 35th round of 1995 draft

School: King (Fla.) High

Estimated arrival in majors: 2000

Hitting: Hits for average and power, and has a good eye. Though size suggests a dead-pull hitter, many of his home runs go to the opposite field. Bat skills of a smaller player.

Defense: His hands and feet are adequate, but has trouble making some throws. As much mental as anything.

Speed: There isn't much for a player whose weight hovers around 283 pounds and who in the past has ballooned to 300. But he won't be asked to steal bases, just clear them.

Jayson Werth

Position: Catcher

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Age: 19

How acquired: Chosen in first round of 1997 draft

School: Glenwood (Ill.) High

Estimated arrival in majors: 2001

Hitting: Called a "learning hitter" by farm director Tom Trebelhorn, still making adjustments to wood bat and facing better breaking pitches. Will hit for average, and has Dale Murphy-type body that will produce power as he matures.

Defense: Has great hands and a quick release that compensates for average arm strength. Blocks balls in dirt extremely well.

Speed: Forget catcher stereotypes. Has plus-speed and is a good base runner, as shown by 21 stolen bases in 27 attempts at Delmarva.

Darnell McDonald

Position: Center field

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Age: 20

How acquired: Chosen in first round of 1997 draft

School: Cherry Creek (Colo.) High

Estimated arrival in majors: 2001

Hitting: Hits the ball to all fields, with line-drive power that's still developing. Projected as a 20-30 home run guy. Still learning hitting situations, but is indeed the speed/power package the club envisioned when drafting him.

Defense: Has the tools to play any outfield position. Club official says McDonald doesn't realize how good his arm is, but that will come in time. Was impressive in right field during instructional league after playing left in Delmarva.

Speed: Deceptive. Gets from batter's box to first base in 4 seconds flat. Terrific base-stealing instincts.

Ryan Minor

Position: Third base

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Age: 25

How acquired: Chosen in 33rd round of 1996 draft

School: University of Oklahoma

Estimated arrival in majors: 2000

Hitting: Can hit for power and average when not trying to launch everything to the moon. Height and long arms make him vulnerable to inside heat and breaking stuff off the plate.

Defense: Agility still astounds club officials. Excellent range, soft hands and a great throwing arm.

Speed: Has a power hitter's speed, which isn't good. But there was only one Mickey Mantle.

Jerry Hairston

Position: Second base/shortstop

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Age: 22

How acquired: Chosen in 11th round of 1997 draft

School: Southern Illinois University

Estimated arrival in majors: 2000

Hitting: A smart hitter with excellent bat control. Has short swing and drives ball all over field.

Defense: Has some work to do at second, including charging ball, but was more consistent there than at shortstop. Club officials like him at either position.

Speed: Described as above average, with potential to be 25-30 steal guy. Bold runner who's not afraid to take extra base or advance on pitches in dirt.

Chris Fussell

Position: Pitcher

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Age: 22

How acquired: Chosen in ninth round of 1994 draft

School: Clay (Ohio) High

Estimated arrival in majors: 2000

Repertoire: Fast- ball, curve, changeup, slider

Best pitch: Curveball

Working on: Being more consistent to avoid middle-inning blowups, and limiting the number of pitches he throws. Stuff too good to labor as much as he does.

Ntema Ndungidi

Position: Outfield

Bats: Left

Throws: Right

Age: 20

How acquired: Sandwich pick between first and second rounds of 1997 draft

School: Edourd Montpetit High in Quebec

Estimated arrival in majors: 2002

Hitting: Power and bat speed are major pluses. Can crush the best fastballs. Can go the other way with pitch, but most power is to right-center and over.

Defense: His throwing arm is the weakest part of the package, contrary to some reports, but he has the tools to be a good outfielder. Still raw.

Speed: Above average, with a stride that gets longer as he goes. Doesn't always get from home to first as fast as capable, but speed is there.

Rick Elder

Position: Outfield/first base

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

Age: 19

How acquired: Chosen in first round of 1998 draft

School: Sprayberry (Ga.) High

Estimated arrival in majors: 2002

Hitting: Big and strong, he can take the ball out of the park in any direction. Hits to all fields, with a swing and knowledge of strike zone that club officials love. Has drawn comparisons to John Olerud.

Defense: Has makeup to be good outfielder. Unable to throw like capable because of elbow soreness, so given incomplete grade in this area.

Speed: Considered average in the field and on the bases. Takes a while for 6-6 frame to uncoil.

Gabe Molina

Position: Relief pitcher

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Age: 23

How acquired: Chosen in 21st round of 1996 draft

School: Arizona State University

Estimated arrival in majors: 2000

Repertoire: Fastball, slider, changeup

Best pitch: Fastball

Working on: Throwing strikes consistently and getting outs more quickly. Like Fussell, needs to cut down on number of pitches.

Pub Date: 1/23/99

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