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Thoughts on the Initial Orioles Roster

Anthony Bemboom swings
Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports
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Opening Day is upon us after an abbreviated Spring Training. The Orioles don’t play on the actual MLB Opening Day today, and will have to wait until Friday to play.

Opening Day will start on the road this year as the Orioles will play the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Opening Day at Oriole Park will take place on Monday, April 11th, against the Milwaukee Brewers.

With Opening Day here, the Orioles had to set their official 28-man Roster. However, the official deadline for these rosters isn’t until Thursday at noon. This means that Mike Elias could make a waiver claim and put them on the roster.

However, the roster seems pretty set in stone, so I wanted to break it down today while giving my thoughts about it and what I like and disagree with. So let us get started.


Starters: John Means, Jordan Lyles, Tyler Wells, Bruce Zimmermann

Honestly, nothing surprises me with this group. Means gets his second straight Opening Day start and will be followed by Lyles. Wells is a little interesting because he spent last year in the bullpen, and he is now being moved to the rotation. While he won’t go five innings to start, he should get around three innings and then hand the ball off to a long reliever in the bullpen. Bruce Zimmerman, the Maryland native and Loyola Blakefield graduate, will get the home Opening Day start on April 11th.

Interestingly, the Orioles don’t have a set-in-stone fifth starter right now. The role could go to Dean Kremer or Kegan Akin, but nothing is set yet. Overall, there are no real surprises as Brandon Hyde has been going with this rotation throughout the last week of Spring, and this rotation is going to struggle. Those struggles have been well documented, so dwelling on it just isn’t worth the time. Outside of Means and Lyles, this rotation is a huge question mark. However, I do think that once Kyle Bradish is stretched out a bit and gets a couple of starts under his belt in Triple-A, we will see him take over that fifth spot.

Bullpen: Dean Kremer, Keegan Akin, Felix Bautista, Paul Fry, Dillon Tate, Jorge Lopez, Cionel Perez, Joey Krehbiel, Mike Baumann, Bryan Baker

This group has gotten flipped on its head since Spring Training started, due to the Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser trade and Wells being moved to the rotation. This certainly is a challenge to figure out who gets to pitch which innings. If I had to guess, Lopez would pitch the Wells role from last season, where he comes in high leverage situations yet not necessarily save situations. Perez is probably going to be in the Scott role. Kremer and Aiken will likely follow Wells after he departs the game or be the fifth starter.

The one interesting piece is Baumann. He was a starter in the minors yet was used out of the bullpen in the majors. Baumann could also follow Wells in his starts, and honestly, this role might fit him the best.

Even without Scott and Sulser, I think the bullpen can be fine if the starters give them some length – a big IF.


Robinson Chirinos, Anthony Bemboom

This wasn’t much of a battle since Adley Rutschman got hurt. Chirinos was guaranteed to be on the roster; the Orioles just had to figure out who would be the backup. Bemboom was given an advantage over the other options due to his left-handed swing, and he had handled the staff the best out of the options available. It honestly might not matter who the backup is because the other options seem unnecessary once Adley is up.

It stinks that Adley got hurt because I think he would have joined Bobby Witt Jr. and Julio Rodriquez as prospects who make their team on Opening Day. Chirinos and Bemboom just have to hold it down until Adley is healthy.


Ryan Mountcastle, Kelvin Gutierrez, Chris Owings, Jorge Mateo, Rougned Odor, Ramon Urias, Trey Mancini

Not too many surprises with this list either. Owings was a bit of a surprise add, but he brings value as a defender who can play all over the diamond. Mateo did have a bit of a scare as he was hit on the hand, but he ended up being fine and lucky to avoid injury. The one surprise was that Odor still made the roster even though he had a lousy spring. Although Odor is one of the only veterans the Orioles have outside of Trey, this probably played a part in making the roster. The only surprise was that Tyler Nevin didn’t make it. Nevin has always intrigued me, and he had a great spring, so I thought he would come north. Add Richie Martin into the group with Nevin because he had a great spring, yet there isn’t a spot for him right now. The issue has always been that his position has been crowded, and the Orioles would much rather have him get starting time in Triple-A. Mateo being healthy is a massive plus to this infield. Still, Nevin not making the roster was a little disappointing.


Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, DJ Stewart, Ryan McKenna

The Orioles’ three starting outfielders were the easiest to guess at this point. With Santander not being traded, the outfield will stay the same as last year with Hays in left, Mullins in center, and Santander in right.

The only question mark was Stewart. The Orioles see something in Stewart that I can’t figure out. He gets on base at a decent rate and has some power, but he doesn’t add value in other areas. I don’t get the Orioles’ obsession with Stewart; he is primarily a stop-gap until Kyle Stowers or another outfielder is ready. Ryan McKenna making it always wasn’t a shock considering his speed and defense; he makes for an excellent fourth outfielder.

I can’t wait for Opening Day, and this roster will have a lot of movement as the year goes on. Not only because of the unknowns with the rotation and the potential injuries but also because of the roster shrinking from 28 to 26 in May.

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