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What to make of spring training stats?

So now we get to the next phase of spring training. The games begin. They don't count, but for the fans not heading to Sarasota, it gives them some stats, pitching lines, home runs, and wins and losses to track. Mike Hargrove used to say something about September and March being like fool's gold. A player's performance at the end of the year after the

Is the Baseball America list a sign of trouble for the Orioles?

I have gotten a similar question this week after just two Orioles were listed among Baseball America's top 100 prospects for 2011. The Rays had seven and the Yankees six players on the same list. "How can the O's have lost for 13 years and that's all we have to show from our farm system," several fans have asked? We need to keep in mind

Machado on Baseball America's ranking and his goals for this year

When I talked to Orioles 2010 first-round draft pick Manny Machado this week, I asked him his reaction to being named baseball's 14th best prospect by Baseball America. "It's an honor to be ranked that high, but I really don't look into the rankings. If I'm No. 1 or No. 100, I just want to give 110 percent and be the best at what I

Machado is ready for his anticipated first full season in O's organization

After a winter of workouts where he put on a few pounds to get stronger, shortstop Manny Machado describes himself as "super excited" for his first full season with the Orioles. Machado, the third pick in round one of last June's draft, spent time working out this winter near his Miami home where his workout partners sometimes included the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez. "This whole winter

Keys GM addresses the team's lease situation

Here is an update on the Frederick Keys and their lease situation. Last week, the city of Frederick released a request for proposals for use of Harry Grove Stadium for the 2012 season. Those proposals must be submitted to the city by April 15. The Keys, who have minor league territorial rights to Frederick and Montgomery counties, are the only affiliated team that can file

Callis feels O's best move is for Britton to start at Triple-A

In an interview, Baseball America's Jim Callis talked about Zach Britton's readiness to pitch in the major leagues. But Callis believes the Orioles' best move is for Britton to begin this season back in the minor leagues. "I think he is ready for the big leagues. He has no obvious weakness and did get in 12 starts last year at Triple-A and pitched well," Callis

Two Orioles make Baseball America's top 100 prospects list

Even though he has only played nine pro games, Orioles shortstop prospect Manny Machado has been rated as the game's 14th-best prospect by Baseball America. O's lefty pitching prospect Zach Britton was rated 28th by Baseball America, which today is releasing its latest top 100 prospects list. Earlier, Britton was rated 11th by ESPN's Keith Law and 19th by MLB.com. Machado was ranked 24th by

Looking back on one very wise decision

If we think back to last July, as it appeared that the Orioles were likely to name Buck Showalter as their next manager, there was one great debate ongoing. The debate was about just when Showalter should take over the team. Many fans, it seemed well over 50 percent to me, felt Showalter should not take over the club until the season was over so

Looking at some minor league strikeout totals

If you look at the statistics of some of the top Orioles' minor league batters from the 2010 season, one stat that may jump out at you is the strikeout totals. O's hitters finished first and second in the Eastern League in strikeouts in 2010 while Baltimore farmhands were first, second and fifth in the Carolina League. Brandon Waring fanned 179 times last season to

The time of year when hope does spring eternal

Fans can come up with some interesting theories. One I saw recently was that the reason it was taking so long for Vladimir Guerrero to get his Orioles physical was because he was having second thoughts about signing with the club and would end up elsewhere even after agreeing to terms. Then I saw the headline on Peter Schmuck's Baltimore Sun column that read, "Guerrero

Wrapping it up with Keith Law

Here is the second and final part of the interview with ESPN's Keith Law, picking up where we left off. Steve Melewski: A couple more things, Keith. We kind of diverted from the minor leagues, but this was also interesting, getting your take on these other topics. How do you see the young pitching. (Jake) Arrieta, (Brad) Bergesen, (Brian) Matusz and that group? Keith Law:

The Keith Law interview, uncut and unedited

The interview with ESPN.com's Keith Law and some of his quotes published here last week certainly got some fans stirred up. I had mentioned that this week I would publish the entire interview here and now is the time. Since it takes a lot of words to read through a 17-minute interview, I will publish it in two posts. The second one will follow this

A little more on the Frederick Keys lease situation

There is another article out today on the Frederick Keys' unsettled lease situation that I have written about previously. Click here for an update from Baseball America's Josh Leventhal. The city of Frederick is expected to accept bids on the 2012 lease through April 15 and an Atlantic League team is expected to bid to basically try to move in on the Keys' turf in

Some minor leaguers need to bring extra gloves this year

With the news coming out of Sarasota this week that Brandon Snyder will put the catching gear back on for a look at that spot in the big league camp, it reminds me of a topic we've discussed here before: defensive versatility in the O's minor leagues. We began to see some of it last summer. This year, we should see players at times playing

The O's minor league spring training schedule

The Orioles have announced the schedules for their minor league spring training squads. The clubs will play 16 spring training contests. Minor league pitchers and catchers will report to camp in Sarasota on Sunday, March 6, while position players will report on Thursday, March 10. There will be four games each day with a Triple-A, Double-A and two Single-A games with the two O's higher

Adam Jones' take on "First Take"

While waiting to see how distracted Albert Pujols will be waiting for the all the money his next contract will provide, I took some time to watch the video of Adam Jones' appearance on ESPN's "First Take." What, ESPN covered the Orioles? Yep, Adam was in Bristol this week. Click here to see that video. (Yeah, I'm slow getting around to see this, guess I

Hearing from the man with the O's plan in Sarasota

Now that spring training is here, David M. Schwarz is getting to see his vision come to life. Schwarz is the design architect and master planner for the improvements and renovations to the Orioles' facilities in Sarasota, Fla., which include Ed Smith Stadium and the club's Twin Lakes minor league complex. "For us, it was extremely important to make something that felt quite at home

They came to say goodbye to Ernie Tyler

It was a cold and blustery morning in Harford County. Not a day exactly made for a ballgame, but that didn't stop hundreds from making their way to St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Jarrettsville to say goodbye to Ernie Tyler. The man, who was an Orioles employee since their first season in 1954 and umpires attendant since 1960, died at 86 on Thursday. The

Building deep depth in the lineup and bullpen

Call it the principle of displacement. If the Orioles put Vladimir Guerrero in the fourth spot in the batting order, doesn't that mean it will move others down in the order, displacing them? It should then help the order become stronger if someone who batted fourth can move down to fifth or sixth and so on and so on. One possible batting order for the

It looks like Chorye Spoone is back on the O's radar

For Orioles pitching prospect Chorye Spoone, the long road back from shoulder surgery in September 2008 has just about reached its end. Some fans were worried when he walked eight in just 3 2/3 innings in his last start at Bowie last Aug. 19. But he was simply out of gas, but not hurt again, after throwing 132 innings in 2010 at Double-A. That is

What are you thinking about as spring training begins?

Well, a new Orioles season is finally here. Pitchers and catchers will be on the field in Sarasota tomorrow and the first exhibition game is two weeks from tomorrow. So what story lines are you interested in as camp begins? What are you wondering about? What most excites you about this team? I am wondering if: * Adam Jones will bat second. Since I wrote

Taking a guess at who might play this year at Norfolk

Now that the Orioles' spring training roster is out, we can take a guess and make some projections as to what this year's Triple-A Norfolk lineup might look like. It's clear to me that Norfolk is likely to have a more veteran lineup this year, one potentially filled with players that may be more major league-ready than in some past seasons. Not only is the

Contemplating a baseball season without Ernie Tyler

Ernie Tyler was a physically small man, but his impact on the Orioles' organization was massive. For me and many of you, Ernie has been a constant over so many years of going to O's games at Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards. It says all you need to know about Ernie when Cal Ripken Jr. asks you to end a streak and come to his

Looking back on a busy day in the comments section

First of all, I thank everyone for posting so many comments yesterday. Many were well thought out and I think you all proved that the baseball IQ of the readership here is high. I think my computer is still smoking. Some of the comments were coming in faster than I could get to them. I remember telling someone that called, "Can't talk now, got to

Keith Law criticizes O's offseason moves

There is clearly a lot of excitement and anticipation for the 2011 Orioles season. Some of the national media has given the team some props lately. But ESPN.com's Keith Law won't make that list. In a phone conversation yesterday afternoon, Law told me he feels certain the O's have little chance to even be a .500 team this year. He also was very critical of

Adam Jones: "The time is now"

Even before the Orioles acquired Vladimir Guerrero, O's center fielder Adam Jones was psyched about the club's offseason additions and rather excited for the 2011 season. "The first couple years (I was here), no moves really had been made, maybe a couple here and there. This one seems like, the time is now. I like it," Jones said recently at FanFest. Even though Jones has

The Frederick Keys have their say

Last week, I wrote about the Frederick Keys' unsettled lease situation with the CIty of Frederick for Harry Grove Stadium. The Keys' lease runs only through September of this year and the city may soon accept bids for that lease for the 2012 season. If that happens, it is at least possible that an independent league team could gain that lease for 2012 and beyond

O's look to bring BuckBall to their minor league affiliates

When the new seasons begin for the Orioles' minor league affiliates in April, the O's want their minor league managers to take on even more responsibility than they have previously and will provide them some help to do that. To make sure the four full-season clubs - Norfolk, Bowie, Frederick and Delmarva - are ready to provide proper instruction for the players and that everything

More Guerrero benefits, including lineup protection

Two fringe benefits of the Orioles' addition of Vladimir Guerrero are that it should bring more media attention to the club and it might help the O's sell a few more tickets. The O's pickup of Guerrero produced airtime for the club on MLB Network and a live appearance by Buck Showalter on "SportsCenter" this weekend - time the club would not otherwise have gotten.

Showalter comments about addition of Guerrero

There has been a lot of discussion about the Orioles increasing their contract offer to get an agreement with Vladimir Guerrero. According to this report on ESPN.com, Buster Olney's sources say that $2 million of the $8 million is deferred. Meanwhile, while O's president Andy MacPhail will not comment on the deal until it is official, manager Buck Showalter did appear on ESPN's "SportsCenter." He

In other news

After the blitz of news, posts and reader comments about Vladimir Guerrero, here is a tidbit or two on other things Oriole. Even though new Orioles' pitcher Justin Duchscherer has made 192 career major league appearances out of the bullpen, don't expect to see him doing any of that in Baltimore. "He sees himself as a starter and we brought him in with the idea

I can't agree with Rob Neyer this time

There are a lot of national baseball writers out there who are talented, bring a lot to the table and are worth reading all the time. Rob Neyer is clearly one of them. He may be underrated and almost always has some real knowledge to spread with his opinions. But I don't agree with this column where he is down on the Orioles' addition of

More Guerrero: Some stats, facts and opinions

While no one knows for sure how well - or not - Vladimir Guerrero will hit for the Orioles this season, no one with any sense can deny the amazing career he has had. He ranks 24th on baseball's all-time OPS list. Some of those ahead of him are Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby and Joe DiMaggio. Here are some

Luke Scott talks about his defense in left field

The Orioles' addition of Vladimir Guerrero may unseat Luke Scott as the team's designated hitter, but it is not likely to take him out of the lineup. Scott is now expected to become the O's regular left fielder. In a telephone conversation tonight, Scott said he has heard the opinion that his left field defense is not up to par, but he doesn't share that

Team source confirms Guerrero signing

According to this tweet, the O's have come to terms with Vladimir Guerrero on a one-year deal for $8 million. An Orioles source tonight confirmed the agreement. Earlier today, a team source said the O's and Guerrero's representatives have had "ongoing" discussions this week. Now those discussions have indeed paid off. Reached via e-mail, O's president Andy MacPhail said he could not confirm or deny

MacPhail: Duchscherer passed two-day physical exam

New Orioles right-hander Justin Duchscherer passed his physical today, but the 33-year-old has had a past that includes two hip operations and just five starts over the last two years. But O's president Andy MacPhail feels good about Duchscherer's health heading into spring camp. The Orioles' doctors gave Duchscherer a more extensive look than usual. "He had a two-day workover," MacPhail said. "They looked at

MacPhail is playing his cards well with Guerrero

No truth to a rumor that, while walking into the warehouse Wednesday Andy MacPhail saw his shadow and that means six more weeks of Vladimir Guerrero rumors. Can anyone even stand six more hours of this? I'm still waiting to find out who offered Guerrero that $8 million dollar deal. Yeah, right. I think MacPhail has handled this situation/negotiation with Guerrero perfectly. He is not

The next step for Matt Hobgood

Pitcher Matt Hobgood, the Orioles' first-round draft pick in 2009, will be seen by O's team physicians in the middle of this month at spring training in Sarasota, Fla.. At that time, the doctors then will determine what will come next for the 20-year-old right-hander. Hobgood has been rehabbing a strained rotator cuff. The examination in mid-February will determine if the rehab process has led

Wondering whether we should be concerned about the Keys' future in Frederick

Here is something I didn't think I'd have to ponder and write about it. It is possible that the Frederick Keys, the Orioles' Single-A Carolina League affiliate, could leave town after this season and move somewhere else? I would guess that is a real long shot, and it's probably too soon to get alarmed, but right now the team and city of Frederick seem locked

Orioles release 11 minor leaguers

The Orioles recently released 11 more minor league players, bringing the total number of players released to 33 since the end of last season. The club has two fewer minor league teams now after dropping its Bluefield affiliate and cutting back to one team in the Dominican Summer League. Probably the most well-known of the latest group of players released were infielder Tyler Stampone and

Bordick and Surhoff lend a hand to O's minor leaguers

They are former Orioles and they are still around to help the orange and black. Over the last month, as some of the organization's minor league players took part in drills under the stands at Camden Yards, B.J. Surhoff and Mike Bordick have been among those lending a hand. Players like Tyler Townsend, L.J. Hoes and Tyler Henson have taken part in the three-day-a-week voluntary

Orioles' Brandon Snyder looks to get the magic back in his bat

It has been an eventful offseason for Brandon Snyder. He bought a house, added a puppy to the family and got engaged. A fall wedding is planned. Now he wants to have an eventful season and get back to spraying line drives like he did at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie; he's been unable to do that consistently yet at Triple-A Norfolk. In the summer

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