Boston — First baseman Ryan Ripken will be back in the Orioles organization next year, a signing the club announced Tuesday as part of a group of players they kept from reaching minor league free agency by re-signing early.
Ripken, the son of Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., will be back for 2019 along with left-hander Chris Lee, right-handers Francisco Jiménez and Christian Alvarado, catchers Martin Cervenka and Daniel Fajardo, and infielders Anderson Feliz and Wilson García.
Ripken, 25, hit .244 with seven home runs last year at Low-A Delmarva, serving as the designated hitter and first baseman for the club after spending 2016 with Short-A Aberdeen.
Lee, 26, who was on the 40-man roster as recently as late July, had another injury-filled year but ended the season as a reliever at Double-A Bowie, where he posted a high ground ball-rate and allowed one earned run in his first eight outings before ending with a 3.50 ERA in 18 innings.
Cervenka, 26, was added in the minor league Rule 5 draft last year from the San Francisco Giants organization after the Cleveland Indians signed him out of the Czech Republic. He hit .258 with a .774 OPS and 15 home runs for Bowie in 2018. He’s a strong catch-and-throw backstop who will go to the Arizona Fall League next month, while Fajardo, 23, hit .271 with High-A Frederick this year.
Alvarado, 24, and Jiménez, 23, are each organizational arms who have filled their roles well. Alvarado made 26 starts with a 4.18 ERA in his second year at High-A Frederick, while Jiménez was used to cover needs at both Frederick and Triple-A Norfolk this year.
Feliz, 26, was a useful utility piece for Bowie this year while getting some time at Norfolk, batting .276. García came over from the Philadelphia Phillies in an early-season trade and hit .295 with 23 home runs for Frederick.