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O’s Should Look to San Diego for Rebuilding Blueprint

You could argue that the Orioles are at a bit of a crossroads right now. By that I mean, they need to decide when to bring young prospects up, when do they make key trades, key FA signings, etc.…Do they start this year?  Do they wait another year?  Can they allow 2022 to be another poor year because of a dwindling and disgruntled fan base? Orioles GM Mike Elias came from Houston and everyone likes to point to Houston as some kind of proof that losing 100+ games for several […]

Fact/Opinion: Get Adley Up Here Now

Adley Rutschman swings in the batter's box
When I was growing up, back when we still read newspapers, one of my favorite columns to read was John Eisenberg’s Fact and Opinion column. So, with apologies/thanks to the former Sun writer and current Ravens.com writer, as well as author of multiple books, I present my version of facts and opinions on the Orioles Fact: On May 5, John Means threw a no hitter and the Orioles record at that time was 15-16. They were in 5th place in the division but only three games out of first. They […]

Throwing Gas & Banging Gas Cans

Bowie gas cans
If anyone ever asks me what it’s like to be an Orioles fan in 2021, I’ll tell them about the June 15, 2021 Bowie Baysox game, a 3-2 loss to the Akron Rubber Ducks. A one-run loss in a Double-A game seems pretty inconsequential. But this was no ordinary Double-A game – it was the first home start for Orioles’ vaunted pitching prospect and 2018 11th overall pick Grayson Rodriguez since he was promoted to this level. What began as a normal home debut turned into a gas can-banging affair, […]

In Hyde’s Shoes: Who Should Start in LF?

Austin Hays takes a spring training AB
In my last article, the key question was: “What have you done for me lately?” That prompted my analysis of how DJ Stewart has been on an offensive tear recently, due to his new-found ability to hit high-velocity heaters. Still, the Orioles are in a rebuild, so the focus should be far-sighted. So, the new key question should be: “Is it better for the Orioles in the long-term to start Austin Hays or Stewart in LF?” Looking at Hays’s whole career, his best year was definitely 2019, which was the […]

Will Crackdown Put Means in a Sticky Situation?

John Means pitches.
Major League Baseball’s newest memo outlines a 10-game (with pay) suspension policy for any players caught using foreign substances or grip enhancement. The policy is in response to the growing concern around the league surrounding the use of different substances by pitchers to obtain a better grip on the baseball, resulting in better overall pitching performances and an even deeper disadvantage for hitters. The virtually toothless measure is likely just the first step in MLB taking a stand against pitchers using substances. In the league’s rightful push to create more […]

Stewart & Hays – Closer Than We Think?

On May 26, I was very concerned for DJ Stewart’s sake that he would be sent down to the minor leagues and would possibly never be seen again in the orange and black, after reading this article. That was until the tables turned later that day when Austin Hays went to the Injured List (IL).  Although I have a soft spot for both players, Stewart has always been the underdog in his competition with Hays for the LF starting spot. And no, I don’t consider Ryan Mountcastle to be a […]

Perspective Matters in Birdland

sunset view of oriole park at camden yards
The perspective from which we view a situation can directly impact our assessment of it. In baseball, our opinions on gameplay could be influenced just by where were sitting.  Bang-bang plays, sweep tags, and the like; that blatantly missed third strike from the first base side could appear juuust-a-bit outside from behind home plate. Depending on the seat, things can look different. Orioles fans are pretty spread out these days, even with the recent return to full capacity at the Yard. Some prefer the nose bleeds, others the field level. […]

Elias Just Cleaning Up Dan & Buck’s Mess

buck showalter standing by fence talking to dan duquette
It’s been REAL spicy out in these Orioles Twitter streets the last few days.  The John Means no-hitter honeymoon is officially over. It’s easy to see why.  The team is fresh off of a fourteen game losing streak with a myriad of poor at-bats, defensive miscues, and bullpen breakdowns.  Our major league product has been uncompetitive for five seasons.  Certain players who showed promise during the COVID-shortened 2020 season have regressed.  There’s a lot of Orioles games that have been objectively tough watches, and any frustration is justified.  When things […]

Counterpoint: No Need to Rush, Rebuild is on Track

Cedric Mullins in the batter's box.
This is a counterpoint article to my colleague Rob Shileds’ piece earlier today, Let the Kids Play. It was former Oriole World Champion General Manager and Baltimorean Frank Cashen who said, “We in management are united by our problems and divided by our solutions.” One of the architects of the original Oriole Way was just as correct decades ago as he is today. Modern Orioles Nation can agree that the losing that defines our recent history is horrible. But O’s fans feel rather divided about the progress of the rebuild […]

Let the Kids Play!

Keegan Akin throws a pitch
The Orioles just completed one of the worst months in franchise history and are currently in the race for the first pick to get Elijah Green in next year’s draft. We will see if that sustains (hey, they’ve won two series to start June!) as this season goes on.  For me, this season was always going to be about development, and we are seeing a lot of great things happen in the minors so far.  On the MLB side of things, the development has been inconsistent at best.  The young pitchers […]

Stock Report: May was Rough, but Mancini Mashed

Freddy Galvis fields at shortstop
Stock Up Trey Mancini Following up a good month of April, Trey Mancini took it to another level in May. To give his recent month some perspective, Mancini led all qualified designated hitters in May in average (.320), on-base percentage (.405), OPS (.993), wRC+ (176) and fWAR (1.1). Removing the positional filter, his May OPS and wRC+ both ranked in the top five in the American League. He raised his season slash line from .237/.299/.443 after April to .278/.353/.515 after May. Simply put: he’s been among the league’s best hitters […]

The 5 Worst O’s Things of the Week

Trey Mancini hit by pitch
Currently, part of being an Orioles fan is accepting the reality that during this rebuild, watching the team lose games is part of the deal. It seems that many people do understand this, but plenty of people do not. One way to process something difficult is to maintain a good sense of humor about it. In that spirit, this is a new weekly feature on ESR where we talk about the five worst moments of the previous week as fans of this team. Please do not mistake this as negativity […]

Patience Required in Birdland

empty baseball field with sun rising
The more I hear about Oriole fans jumping ship the less I understand about what exactly it is that they expected in 2021. A roster with less professional experience than the abbreviated 2020 group seems like it would lose at a higher rate, and the team is quite obviously committed to a complete rebuild. If these fans flipped on an Aberdeen Ironbirds game they’d be pleasantly surprised. The talent acquired since Mike Elias took over has the farm system ranks in the top handful of clubs overall. They should be […]

Grayson Rodriguez Headed to Bowie

Grayson Rodriguez
As the major league sqaud continues to be an embarrassment, losing ten straight and 17 of 19 since John Means‘ no-hitter back on May 5, Birdland is forced to look to the minors for some optimism. Fortunately, for the first time in a very, very long time, there is plenty of that to go around down on the farm. The AA Bowie Baysox are 15-5. The high-A Aberdeen Ironbirds are 14-7. The low-A Delmarva Shorebirds are 15-6. The O’s have the fifth-ranked farm system in baseball, per MLB.com, and are […]

Streaker at the Gnats Game

DC Streaker
During last night’s rain delay in Washington, D.C., a brave streaker took the field and one-upped O’s legend Rick Dempsey. Not only did he use the tarp as a slip ‘n slide, he did so while naked, then hid in the tarp. A couple views of the action: More entertaining than most anything the O’s have put on the diamond lately. The O’s try to avoid losing their tenth straight today as they begin a four-game set with the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.

More Barrels on Fewer Swings for New & Improved Mullins

Throughout his minor and major league career, Cedric Mullins was your typical singles-hitting, glove-first, speedster center fielder. The defensive prowess was always obvious, whereas the well-roundedness at the plate that he is now showing was not. The changes Mullins has gone through in recent months are well known. After an offseason spent with private hitting coach Rick Strickland in 2019, Mullins came into the 2020 season with some adjustments to his swing that he’s stuck with into 2021. His decision to abandon switch hitting is also widely known as he’s […]

Trey Mancini Catching Fire

Trey Mancini swinging his bat.
A couple nights ago, Trey Mancini had a phenomenal game, going 4-for-5 with two home runs, a bases loaded double, and a single. Thursday, Mancini was responsible for the lone run of the game with a home run in the 4th as the Orioles were blown out 10-1. His six RBI over two days was unfortunately not enough to prevent two losses, but still earned some great publicity and praise for Trey’s hot bat. On Friday night in DC, he added two more doubles, accounting for half of the Orioles’ […]

The Trey Mancini Dilemma

After what was certainly the hardest year of his life, Trey Mancini has come back to the Orioles and looks like the guy we saw in 2019.  During that season, Trey was one of the best 30 or so offensive players in the sport by nearly every metric.  The idea that he could even play in 2021 was far from everyone’s mind this time last year.  We were hoping that he would survive and continue to live his life, much less if he could continue to play the game. Instead, […]

Early Returns are In – This is Fun!

The minor league teams are off and running in Birdland and it’s clear that the changes implemented with the arrival of Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal and a cast of new scouts, instructors and trainers is working out quite well. Pre-quarantine, both Bowie and Delmarva won half of their respective leagues and the rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League took that title to show things may be looking better a bit sooner than expected. Still, it’s gotten better. The way the farm teams are playing here in 2021 through […]

Fry, Plutko, Sulser Huge in O’s Bullpen Resurgence

Paul Fry
The Orioles bullpen is off to a surprising start through six weeks of the season. A group that was near the middle of the pack by most measurements in 2020 now finds itself near the top of MLB in those same categories in 2021. Those numbers could largely be credited to the suddenly-dominant Cesar Valdez, who has established himself as one of the American League’s top closers. But looking past him, there are three other prominent bullpen arms with encouraging starts to the season leading the way for one of […]