The Arizona Fall League starts up today, and the Surprise Saguaros roster includes 10 members of the Orioles organization: pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Brandon Kline, Tim Berry and Jason Gurka; outfielders Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez; second baseman Jonathan Schoop; catcher Michael Ohlman; Double-A Bowie manager Gary Kendall and short-season Single-A Aberdeen pitching coach Alan Mills.
Urrutia needs to get more comfortable in left field. He also needs to get around on the fastball. He was late on a lot of them after joining the Orioles.
Alvarez opened a lot of eyes with his impressive arm. Some scouts rate it the best or second-best (behind Adam Jones) in the organization.
Ohlman's stock rose significantly this year. Manager Buck Showalter, who checks the minor league reports every day, referenced him many times without being asked.
Ohlman won the Carolina League batting title, hitting .313/.410/.524 with 29 doubles, 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 100 games at Single-A Frederick.
It's been a nice comeback for Ohlman, who injured his shoulder in spring training last year after his truck flipped on its roof during an accident in Sarasota. The following month, he received a 50-game suspension for a second violation of minor league baseball's drug policy.
The Orioles selected Ohlman with the 11th-round pick in 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Lakewood Ranch (Fla.) High School.
The Peoria Javelinas visit the Saguaros today at 12:35 p.m. And I know what you're thinking. What the heck is a saguaro?
Well, it's a very large cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) of the southwest United States and northern Mexico, having ribbed upward-curving branches, white funnel-shaped flowers and edible red fruit. (Hat tip to TheFreeDictionary.com.)
I must see the mascot.
The Orioles will wear a patch on their right sleeve in 2014 for the fourth consecutive season, this one commemorating the 60th anniversary of the franchise's move to Baltimore.
They wore a patch in 2011 with "Baltimore" or "Orioles" in script, depending on the jersey. The 2012 patch commemorated the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards, and the 2013 patch honored Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver, who passed away on Jan. 19.
The left sleeve has included the Maryland state flag patch since 2009.
The major league minimum salary will rise from $490,000 this year to $500,000 next season. So I ask, why aren't we all playing major league baseball?
The projected cutoff for Super Two arbitration status is 2 years, 122 days. Chris Tillman would fall nine days short.
That's gotta sting.
TIllman earned $508,500 this season. And he really, really earned it.
The Marlins outrighted two former Orioles to Triple-A New Orleans yesterday: First baseman Joe "Big Irish" Mahoney and left-hander Zach Phillips.
Mahoney, the Orioles' minor league Player of the Year in 2010, batted .276/.276/.414 with a double, home run and four RBIs in nine games with the Marlins, and .190/.200/.262 with eight doubles, two homers and 16 RBIs in 55 games with the Zephyrs. Phillips was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three relief appearances with Miami, and 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 50 games with New Orleans.
Mahoney has so much potential, but he just can't stay healthy. Another hamstring injury ruined his 2013 season after the Marlins handed him the first base job.
Quick, name the two minor leaguers traded by the Orioles to the Phillies for Jim Thome on June 30, 2012.
Too late. It's pitcher Kyle Simon and catcher Gabriel Lino.
For no apparent reason, I checked how they did this season. Simon went 2-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 45 relief appearances for Double-A Reading, with 22 walks and 33 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings. Lino batted a combined .254/.304/.376 with nine doubles, four homers and 32 RBIs in 56 games for short-season Single-A Williamsport (46) and low Single-A Lakeland (10).
The Orioles really liked Lino's work behind the plate. I'm thinking "catch-and-throw guy."
Chris Davis grounded into four double plays in 673 plate appearances this season. Anyone surprised that it's such a low total?
Davis hit .343 with runners in scoring position. Anyone surprised that it's such a high average?
Davis posted a .230 average in 34 games batting third in the order, .207 in 25 games batting cleanup and .325 in 101 games batting fifth.
I'd keep batting him fifth unless the Orioles do something over the winter to warrant moving him up.