The news this week that the Orioles are moving their spring training home to Sarasota starting next year, will help the Major League O’s in many ways.
The facilities will be better and spring training travel much easier. The O’s will even likely now see some of their AL East rivals for spring games.
But it will help the O’s minor leagues in many ways as well. The O’s minor leaguers have already been in Sarasota at Twin Lakes Park. Now the Major League camp will be about 10 miles away at Ed Smith Stadium.
“It will take care of the distance factor in terms of having to move staff and players a long distance in a short amount of time,” O’s Director of Player Development, David Stockstill said. “It will help when Major League players are sent over to the minors to get at bats or innings. It will allow the Major League team to call a minor league player over for a game an hour before the game starts as opposed to having to do it the day before.
“It allows the Major League staff a better opportunity to know the minor league players and the minor league guys a better opportunity to know the staff and Major League players. Everyone becomes more familiar with each other and how things operate. This a tremendous step forward.
“Certainly there will be a lot more minor leaguers that can get to Ed Smith to play and work out. There’s a very good chance we could play some of our Double and Triple-A home spring games at Ed Smith.
“Twin Lakes is not big enough to house all of our minor leagues. That’s been an issue for years. Now we can send some overflow Double and Triple-A guys to the Ed Smith complex. Keep in mind most of the Triple-A team is already in Major League camp.”
Stockstill said there was a chance that 40-50 players that were not invited to Major League camp could work out as part of minor league camp at Ed Smith Stadium. That would leave about 100 players at the Twins Lakes complex and another 100 at Ed Smith.
The Twins Lakes complex will get a makeover as part of this deal. Fields will be re-worked and the building will be remodeled. Stockstill said complete plans for the upgrades were not yet final.
“It will be great for the fans,” Stockstill said. “They can come to see our Major League team and also see our minor league players. It will be much easier for the media and we can expect more coverage of our minor leagues.”
Right now the O’s are planning to use the Ed Smith Stadium complex for the first time for Instructional League workouts in the fall. Those had previously taken place at Twin Lakes.