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COVID-19 Crisis and MLB: An Opportunity Amidst Tragedy?

sunset view of oriole park at camden yards
Disclaimer: Just as I did when writing about this topic on Russell Street Report, I need to state that sports are absolutely secondary/tertiary/etc. in the grand scheme of things, and that’s especially true at the moment. Please don’t berate me with cries of “THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT?!” I get it. This is a tough time for all of us. But these are sports blogs, so sports blogging I shall do. As the world waits for announcements on the plans that all sporting leagues have in place, the one that […]

Hanser Alberto Cannot Surprise Me in 2020

During this time last year, most people didn’t have infielder Hanser Alberto breaking camp with the Orioles. I include myself among that list. But keeping him turned out to be a great decision by the club. He rotated between second and third base while contributing both in the field and at the dish. He got the job done, but did it in an unusual way. In 139 games in 2019, Alberto slashed .305/.329/.422 with 12 home runs. The .305 batting average obviously looks marvelous, but I continue to be stunned […]

Framing up Orioles’ Options Behind the Dish

In 2019, the Orioles selected catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft. The switch-hitting backstop out of Oregon State quickly jumped to the top of the Orioles’ top prospects list and became a  top-10 prospect throughout all of baseball. The Orioles’ plan was made very clear – Rutschman will be looked upon as the future face of the franchise. Although he is seen as the star catcher of the future, the club still needs to pencil catchers in two major league roster spots for […]

Players Making Good Early Impressions This Spring

It’s early in Spring Training thus far, but it’s an important camp for many players and for the Baltimore Orioles organization. With a presence of fringe veterans and up-and-coming prospects, it is also an intriguing camp for fans like us. As I’ve followed the first week or so of camp and gameplay, here’s who’s impressed in the initial stages.   Chris Davis Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports I won’t waste any time getting to this name. Chris Davis has been outstanding thus far at the plate. Through his first few appearances he […]

(Belated) Thursday Thoughts: O’s Shake Up the Booth

Chris Davis in Grapefruit League action.
(Ed note: Andrew submitted this last week as part of his regular Thursday Thoughts series. Due to some technical issues, we weren’t able to post it until today.) 1. The Orioles made a number of changes to freshen up their broadcasting team recently, as games got started down in Sarasota. We’ve heard from a number of the voices that will be on the call through both television broadcasts on MASN and on the Orioles Radio Network, but there are also some new ones to add to the mix. It includes […]

Reasons to Be Excited: O’s in the Outfield

Trey Mancini swinging his bat.
It could be another long season for the Orioles, as a franchise that had only lost 100 games in a season twice during its first 64 seasons in Baltimore is staring its third consecutive 100-loss season squarely in the face. PECOTA seems to think the team will at least avoid the feat, predicting a 63-99 finish, but still finishing with the worst record in baseball.  Don’t Miss Parts 1 and 2 of my Reasons to Be Excited Young Pitching Hays & Mountcastle Last Tuesday, the Orioles did their best to squash whatever optimism there may have been […]

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 […]