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Who Will Make Up the O’s “Starting Five?”

Alex Cobb pitching
Before the first game of the Spring Training season gets underway on Saturday, I think a fun experiment would be a sort of projection for the Orioles’ biggest question mark this year: the rotation. In this article, I will outline the players I feel will crack the Opening Day roster as the prototypical ‘starting five’ (yes, for the purpose of the piece I will assume that Brandon Hyde won’t use openers at the onset of the season). There are a lot of holes in the rotation this year, and that’s […]

Reasons to be Excited: Young Pitching

Hunter Harvey pitching.
When pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training in Sarasota, FL on Feb. 11th, excitement was in the air around one of the Grapefruit League’s finest facilities in the Ed Smith Stadium Complex. Yet despite the unbridled enthusiasm that usually surrounds the start of a new baseball season, some people think the Orioles have nothing at all to be excited about. And by some people, I mean David Schoenfield, who in a recent article for ESPN put the level of excitement around the team at zero. For people in Baltimore, […]

Who I’m Watching Closely this Spring

D.J. Stewart positioned in the outfield.
Spring has sprung in the baseball world, and for what it’s worth, I couldn’t be more excited for the O’s season to get underway. After such a heartbreaking playoff loss for the Ravens, it’ll be refreshing to watch a team I expect to lose. Even though the Birds might not be garnering much attention because of their status as a rebuilding team, I think that’s reason to find Spring Training even more intriguing. The emergence of players like John Means, Pedro Severino and Anthony Santander have set the precedent for […]

Reasons to be Excited: Hays & Mountcastle

Austin Hays running bases.
Spring Training is a time for excitement and optimism for fans of every MLB team, even if your team will more than likely lose its 400th game since 2017 sometime this summer. Yes, even Orioles fans have reason to be excited in 2020. Though David Schoenfield, a senior writer for ESPN, seems to think differently. Schoenfield wrote an article on Monday, the day before pitchers and catchers reported to Sarasota, highlighting what to watch for from all 30 teams, and the level of excitement for each team. For the Orioles, […]

Thursday Thoughts: Who the Heck Are These Guys?

1. Spring training is here and for the Orioles, it’s really a game of “who is he?” that will be played for the next six weeks. We always knew this would be the case, but it has never been more evident than through watching the team’s social media and realizing that the pitchers and catchers reporting this week really are a bunch of nobodies. Even players like All-Star John Means and top draft pick Adley Rutschman are included in that category. Means might have made the roster for last season’s […]

Hope Springs Eternal: The Spring is Bright for the O’s

empty baseball field with sun rising
submitted by Adam Mann Kristen Hudak Baseball is right around the corner. If you’re like me, the thought of turning on the TV night after night to watch the O’s can bring about mixed emotions. It’s fun to watch the prospects develop and imagine what the team might be like in a few years. But man, it can be hard to imagine that future sometimes when the team gets knocked around game after game. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t turn a few games off last season when […]

O’s Place 4 on FanGraphs’ Top Prospects List

Four Orioles farmhands find themselves on FanGraphs’ Top 120 prospects list to begin the 2020 season. Adley Rutschman (#5), Grayson Rodriguez (29), DL Hall (86), and Ryan Mountcastle (108) represent Birdland’s best hopes for the future, according to the amateur scouting team over at FG (full list here). Immediately jumping out at me were the omissions of Dean Kremer, who I think deserved to jump onto some lists this year (yet hasn’t, at least that I’ve seen) and Yusniel Diaz (who understandably dropped off some lists this year after his […]

O’s Have an Under-the-Radar Speedster

Mason Janvrin swings.
So, I was listening to the MLB Pipeline Podcast and they gave praise to an Orioles prospect. No, it wasn’t Adley Rutschman, or Grayson Rodriguez, or even DL Hall. They were discussing 2019 14th Round pick Mason Janvrin out of Division II Central Missouri. Janvrin isn’t even on an Orioles Top 30 Prospects List in any publication. “Why would they talk about a no-name Orioles prospect,” you may ask yourself. Two words: Blazing Speed. The discussion topic was brought up: Who are the fastest players in each organization? For the […]

Reflecting on the Manny Machado Trade

Dean Kremer prepares to pitch.
With Mookie Betts having just been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects and budding star Alex Verdugo, I was reminded of a similar trade just a couple of seasons ago. A young, hot-shot superstar unlikely to re-sign with the team that developed him being traded before inevitably losing him for nothing more than compensation picks. Sound familiar? When the Orioles traded Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the summer of 2018, it signaled the end of the winningest era of Baltimore baseball since the mid-80s. The […]

Thursday Thoughts: Showalter Shunned in Houston

It’s still cold and the Super Bowl has yet to be played, but Spring Training is right around the corner. Now I’m peeking out from around a different corner to see if this thing still works the way it used to. It’s been a while since I’ve written in this space. It’s probably been even longer since you’ve read any of it. Toward the end of last baseball season, interest in the Orioles seemed to dwindle. Losing 108 games will do that to a fanbase. But the O’s are still […]

Yet Another Position Change for Ryan Mountcastle?

When it comes to change, prospect Ryan Mountcastle has experienced it often as a professional. The soon-to-be 23-year old was drafted 36th overall by the Orioles in 2015. He finished that year with 53 professional games under his belt from time with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles and the short-season Single-A Aberdeen Ironbirds. He played 39 games at shortstop while also logging three games at third base. Mountcastle played the entire 2016 season with Single-A Delmarva, recording all of his defensive innings at shortstop. He earned a promotion to […]

The Payoff Pitch: Banging Ballot Boxes w/Dan Connolly

The Payoff Pitch logo.
In this first episode of The Payoff Pitch of 2020, I go over the recent Hall of Fame honorees, then get into the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and the fallout from that report. After that, I of course talks Orioles, including their jettisoning of Jonathan Villar, some prospects to get excited about, & more. Dan Connolly of The Athletic joins me to talk about his HoF ballot, Adley Rutschman being invited to big-league camp this spring, other young Birds that will be competing for spots, and more. Thanks for listening! Follow […]

Would You Trade Places with the Astros?

The Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles couldn’t be more different. Both are major league baseball franchises, and up until very recently, that’s about where the similarities ended. The Astros have appeared in two of the last three World Series, winning one (in 2017), and losing another in seven games (last year, to the Washington Nationals). The Orioles, of course, haven’t appeared in a Fall Classic since 1983. Houston has won an average of 96 games per season over the past five years, topping 100 each of the last three. The […]

Baseball is Around the Bend

Ed Smith Stadium at night.
Just when we thought that Baltimore was going to be the proud new owner of a new Trophy (the Lombardi) the unthinkable happens, the Ravens collapse and lose to the Titans. It seemed like a sure thing … Lamar Jackson and Purple Reign looked unbeatable. But the sports gods can be fickle creatures. So, bring on the MLB season! When we check the MLB Picks at SBR, we see the Baltimore Orioles are super long-shots at +100,000 to win the World Series in 2020. Now, I must say, even though […]

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore
Looking back over the last decade, and how the Orioles can improve in the 20s What a long, strange trip the last 10 years have been for the Baltimore Orioles. They started badly, and they ended even worse; but in between, we saw a brief turnaround in Baltimore’s fortunes that many hoped would be a permanent renaissance. You won’t find the Fox bet sportsbook PA offering good odds on the Orioles making a strong comeback in 2020 either. However, the Birds are looking at the long game, and it’s entirely […]

Villar Situation Tough to Swallow, but Makes Sense

Jonathan Villar in the batter's box.
On Wednesday night, the Orioles made a move that shocked a lot of the Baltimore baseball community when they decided to make an outright waiver request on Jonathan Villar. My understanding is that this means the Orioles could not find a trade partner for the middle-infielder and rather than taking the chance of having to pay parts, or all, of the $10.4 million contract he is due to receive through arbitration, the team decided non-tendering Villar was the best course of action. Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports Dan Connolly of The Athletic […]

The Beauty of Bench-Clearing Brawls

Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor fight.
For the most part, mass brawls are often a bit hard to watch and the sooner they come to an end the better. There is one exception though, and that is when they take place on the sports field, mainly because everyone knows there is only so much they can get away with if they care at all about not being banned for life from the sport they play. So you are at liberty to encourage the unfolding melee to step it up a notch and get stuck in, safe […]

The Payoff Pitch: Restless & FanFest-less w/Jon Meoli

The Payoff Pitch logo.
In this offseason edition of The Payoff Pitch, I congratulate the team down 95 on their World Series win, goes over the Orioles’ moves to date, and previews the owners meetings. The Baltimore Sun’s O’s beat writer Jon Meoli then joins me to discuss the O’s puzzling decision to cancel FanFest, Chris Holt’s role, those aforementioned moves, and more. Thanks for listening!

Can a Poker Mindset Help the O’s Stay Focused?

Mancini’s second season saw him lose focus Photo credit: Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 Now, you may think that this sounds a bit odd and, truth be told, we completely understand why. How on earth can poker or anything related to cards help the Orioles remain focused? Well, the thing is that there are quite a few aspects of poker that could be just the ticket for keeping players in the right frame of mind leading up to a game. Studies by leading neuroscientists discovered that poker continuously builds new […]