The Orioles announced Friday they added six prospects to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft and also designated Renato Nunez for assignment.
Nunez was the team’s leader in home runs the last two seasons and hit 12 in 52 games in the shortened 2020 season. He’s been with the organization since the 2018 season. In 263 games with the Orioles, he’s slashed .253/.319/.451 and hit 50 home runs.
The six prospects the team selected the contracts of were: infielder Rylan Bannon, right-handed pitchers Mike Baumann and Isaac Mattson, left-handed pitchers Zac Lowther and Alexander Wells and outfielder Yusniel Diaz.
The most notable name on the list is Diaz, who arrived via the Dodgers in the 2018 Manny Machado trade. Diaz is the team’s eighth-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, and has spent the majority of his career in Double-A Bowie. There, he slashed .283/.370/.464 with 25 home runs. He spent the pandemic-shortened season at the team’s alternate training site in Bowie.
Lowther and Wells rank as the team’s 11th and 19th ranked prospects, respectively, also according to MLB.com, and both have expected arrival dates next season. In 2019, Lowther, 24, went 13-7 at Double-A Bowie with a 2.55 ERA in 148 innings pitched. Wells, 23, also pitched in Bowie in 2019 and posted a 2.95 ERA in 137 ⅓ innings. The Australian southpaw signed with the team in 2015.
Mattson, 25, was a prospect received in the Dylan Bundy trade last offseason. The reliever threw five games in Triple-A in 2019 but spent most of his time in Double-A for the Mobile BayBears. He’s the most seasoned of the bunch. Baumann is the team’s ninth-ranked prospect and is hopeful to make the Orioles’ rotation at some point in the 2021 season. He threw in 13 games for Double-A Bowie in 2019 and 11 games for the Frederick Keys in Single-A.
Bannon, 24, was also in the Machado trade and played in 110 games in Double-A Bowie in 2019. He’s the team’s 25th ranked prospect and is hopeful to contend for an infield spot in 2021. In Bowie, he slashed .255/.345/.394 with 72 strikeouts and 47 walks.