Who I’m Watching Closely this Spring

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 rather unknown players finding their feet in Baltimore. Sarasota is where those kinds of seasons get underway. Here’s a few guys I believe will either perform well enough to break camp with the club or put themselves at the top of the list in the minors.

 

Keegan Akin

Here’s an arm who’s been a strong, consistent member of the O’s minor league pitching staffs over the last few years. Keegan Akin is due for a shot at a place with the Orioles, but he’ll need an impressive Grapefruit League campaign to solidify his spot at Camden Yards. Given his experience in the minors and the openings available on the major league staff, I feel Akin will put together a great Spring Training and show that he could be a cog at the back-end of the rotation for the next few years.

DJ Stewart watches a pitch.

Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports

DJ Stewart*

Talk about a guy who’s had a hard time sticking around in the big leagues. Whether it’s been his performance or his struggles with injuries, DJ Stewart simply hasn’t had much opportunity with the O’s. In reality, given the presence of other young outfielders like Cedric Mullins, Ryan McKenna and Yusniel Diaz, this might just be Stewart’s last chance. With that in mind, *were he not currently injured I’d be looking for him to flash his on-base skills and provide some pop, winning one of the last outfield spots on the team. As it stands, his return timetable is up in the air.

Hunter Harvey pitching.

Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports

Hunter Harvey

One of the prized prospects of the last half-decade in the Orioles organization, Hunter Harvey finally found success and made his mark on the major league team. Though it isn’t as a front-end starter, as many fans would have hoped, but rather as a late-game reliever. He is all-but-certain to take on a similar role in 2020, and with a fast start to the year in Sarasota, he could make his claim on the set-up man’s role (with an inside track to the closer’s spot, should Mychal Givens falter). I think Harvey has all the tools to be an incredible closer, and I think he’ll prove that this spring.

 

Ryan Mountcastle

Yes, I know this guy is someone who may not have a chance at breaking camp with the Orioles even if he has a phenomenal month. Hell, he might not even stick with the big leaguers for the entirety of Spring Training. However, I fully expect Ryan Mountcastle to remove any doubt that he is ready, if there’s any doubt that remains. I think he’ll hit the ball better than most players on the diamond and show that he can man first base if needed. In doing so, he’ll make it tough for Mike Elias to wait much longer and defer to reserving the stud’s service time.

This entry was posted in Bird Feed, Blog View, Featured by Aidan Griesser. Bookmark the permalink.

About Aidan Griesser

Aidan Griesser
Aidan Griesser is a student at Boston College but don't worry, the evil influence of Boston sports can't sway his devotion to the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles! Aidan's from Annapolis and previously worked with the B-More Opinionated podcast for two years. When it comes to sports writing, Aidan is interested...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Hot off the street

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

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. ...read more

Reasons to be Excited: Young Pitching
Reasons to be Excited: Young 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...read more

Who I’m Watching Closely this Spring
Who I’m Watching Closely this Spring

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 b...read more

Reasons to be Excited: Hays & Mountcastle
Reasons to be Excited: Hays & Mountcastle

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 ha...read more

Thursday Thoughts: Who the Heck Are These Guys?
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 e...read more

View More