Taking a look at some random Orioles notes. These are courtesy of the club’s public relations staff from the club’s 2013 season summary:
* The Orioles drew 2,357,101 fans in 2013, marking the first time since 2005 (2,624,740) the Birds drew over 2.3 million fans.
* The Orioles led the majors with 212 home runs, 24 more than the second-place Seattle Mariners. The O’s were one of seven teams (also Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Seattle) to have eight or more players hit at least 10 homers. The Orioles had four players hit at least 20 homers, which was tied for the fourth-most behind Atlanta (six players), Washington (five) and Toronto (five).
* The Orioles had seven players (Chris Davis, Hardy, Jones, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Nate McLouth and Matt Wieters) appear in 146 or more games this year, the most in the majors (the Reds had six) and the most by an Orioles squad since the 1975 club also had seven (Don Baylor, Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, Bobby Grich, Lee May, Brooks Robinson and Ken Singleton).
* The Orioles used 54 players in 2013, tying the 1955 Orioles for the most different players in a season in club history. The Birds made 176 roster moves in 2013 after making 178 in 2012. There were 24 players that made their Orioles debut this year, while six (Mike Belfiore, Zach Clark, Kevin Gausman, T.J. McFarland, Jonathan Schoop and Henry Urrutia) made their MLB debuts.
* The Orioles saw 19 different pitchers record a win in 2013, joining the 2001 and 2012 clubs for the second-most in club history behind the 2011 club that had 20 pitchers win games.
The Orioles took two players in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday, getting corner infielder Michael Almanzar from Boston in the major league phase and outfielder Julio Borbon from the Cubs in the minor league phase.
While Almanzar has no big league experience, Borbon has played in 288 major league games, batting .272/.318/.347 with eight home runs and 76 RBIs with the Rangers and Cubs. In 414 minor league games in the Rangers and Cubs organizations, Borbon batted .304/.357/.410 with 19 homers and 165 RBIs. He was originally selected in the first round (35th overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Tennessee.
“He’s a speedy outfielder that has major league experience and we like his ability with the bat as well. Feel like he could be a depth guy for our major league team,” Orioles director of minor league operations Kent Qualls said.
“Sometimes just a change of scenery, a new environment or new atmosphere helps a guy flourish when they get a second opportunity. We’re excited to bring him into spring training and let our staff work with him and see what we’ve got.”
Is it unusual to get a player with major league experience in the minor league phase of the Rule 5, meaning he does not have to be added to the 40-man roster and doesn’t need to make the 25-man roster to stay with Orioles organization in 2014?
“I’d say it’s a little unusual, but you never know,” Qualls said. “We’re just looking at the talent and upside of the player. He’s a good defender with good speed and we like his bat. So he’s got three areas we really like.”