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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 […]

Learning Experience for “Fall Stars” Kremer & McCoy

Dean Kremer prepares to pitch.
After strong starts to the Arizona Fall League season, RHP Dean Kremer and INF Mason McCoy have been selected to represent the Baltimore Orioles at this year’s Fall Stars Game. McCoy, the Orioles’ 24th ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has a .417 on-base percentage across 36 plate appearances. Though not displaying much power aside from a line-drive triple to deep right-center field the other night, he’s hit the ball well, including nine hits in 21 at bats against right-handed pitching. Kremer, ranked 8th in the Orioles’ system, has started […]

An Offseason Blueprint for the Birds

Austin Hays running bases.
Griesser’s Suggested Changes of the Offseason Finally, after a long hiatus, I’m back with a brand new installment of my Suggested Change of the Week, and considering the 54-108 record that the Orioles are carrying into the offseason, there are a good number of adjustments and additions to make. As I’ve written before, this first year of the rebuild hasn’t really been all that bad, despite the team’s win/loss record. The Orioles uncovered a few players who could be hidden gems, like Anthony Santander, Hanser Alberto, John Means, and Pedro […]

Will the Real Trey Mancini Please Stand Up?

Trey Mancini watches the ball after making contact.
The 2019 Major League Baseball season has reached its conclusion and it’s time to look forward to the offseason and 2020. But looking back on this past season, there were a number of Orioles who produced impressive campaigns: John Means, Jonathan Villar, Hanser Alberto, Renato Núñez and Trey Mancini. Let’s talk about the last name on the list. We’ve seen quite a crazy start to the career of the Orioles’ first baseman/outfielder. Mancini wasn’t known as a top prospect of any sorts while coming up through Batimore’s farm system. He […]