Henry Urrutia has to be feeling relieved these recent days. The 26 year-old, Cuban-born outfielder has arrived to camp and is ready to show manager, Buck Showalter, he is worth every penny of the $778,500 signing bonus he received on top of his minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Yes, arriving to Spring Training camp is always worth a sigh of relief, but that wasn’t the only reason for Urrutia. He was probably feeling a little more excited to be at camp than most other first-time prospects, because it took him over seven months just to be able to get into the United States.
Urrutia had to wait several months while living in Haiti to secure a work visa, which prevented him from arriving sooner. He signed with Baltimore last July after being scouted by the Orioles for a couple years. Due to the lack of quality baseball fields in Haiti, Urrutia hasn’t had the opportunity to get into game shape, but one has to believe he is hungrier than anyone now that he has made it to Twin Lakes Park. This situation has turned into more of a gamble for the Orioles, but Urrutia’s family history may bode well for them. His father, Ermidelio Urrutia, was a member of Cuba’s 1992 Olympic team.
The 6-foot-3 switch hitter has been evaluated by Orioles scouts to be a better hitter from the left side and projected as a corner outfielder. He does not have a body for big power in his tall, slender, frame, but he could potentially fill out some. He has a very smooth swing that produces line drives and consistent contact. Many have compared him to Oakland Athletics outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes.
Orioles fans will get to see what Henry Urrutia can do over the next couple of weeks before camp breaks at the end of March. Scouts believe he starts the season in Double-A with a potential to make it to the Major League level near the end of the 2013 season. It’s now time for Urrutia to get to work.