Mancini on the minors, plus other topics and notes

You will find few players to provide a stronger endorsement for the job done by the Orioles minor league staff and coaches than Trey Mancini.

After all Mancini is a one-time unheralded eighth-round draft pick that was one of the top rookies in the majors this year. He hit .293/.338/.488 with 26 doubles, four triples, 24 homers, 78 RBIs and an .826 OPS.

Trey-Mancini-watches-white-sidebar.jpgThis is a player that was never ranked in anyone’s top 100 prospects list. But he just worked very hard during four seasons on the O’s farm to make himself a good player. He kept advancing, progressing and getting better.

The Orioles are expected to move somewhere within the 12 to 18 range over the winter when new organizational rankings are released. They had a good year on the farm and will no longer be ranked among the bottom five in baseball. But Mancini said he could never understand such a low ranking in the first place.

“You look at some of the talent that has come through our system and you wonder why we have gotten that reputation,” he said. “Sometimes people can put too much weight in the rankings. It is so objective and hard to judge.

“I can never say enough about how the minor league system developed me. There are countless people I can thank and I owe a lot of my career to. They prepared me to get here. Coming up through the system you know what to expect here and that is a testament to our development system. You develop mentally too.”

Mancini seemed to indicate that lower rankings in the recent years for the O’s farm was more impactful in creating negative fan opinions on the O’s minors, than any reflection of what the Orioles staff actually did or felt about their work.

“You know what, they know at the end of the day the job they do,” he said. “There are so many that helped me along the way. They have developed a lot of players in this lockerrrom and at the end of the day, that should matter so much more than any rankings.

“I have known all along that the minor league system has gotten some unjustified criticism and we have clearly seen several guys come up and do well here.”

Minor league attendance, Keys honored: A total of 41,832,364 fans passed through the gates at minor league baseball games in 2017, the fifth-highest attendance total in the history of the organization, which was established in 1901.

The total of 176 minor league teams in 15 leagues drew over 41 million fans for the 13th consecutive season with overall attendance increasing 1.1 percent (455,162 fans) over 2016 and average attendance rising 2.4 percent (from 3,998 to 4,095) over last season.

The Orioles’ Single-A Frederick affiliate was announced as winner of the 2017 Esurance Home Field Advantage Award for the Carolina League. It marks the second straight season the Keys have claimed this honor. Winners are determined by highest percentage of attendance based on ballpark capacity. Each team selected will be recognized at this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

For the fourth consecutive season, the Keys led not only the Carolina League but all of high Single-A baseball in average attendance. The Keys drew 303,930 fans to Nymeo Field, second-most of any league team. In each of the last six seasons the Keys have welcomed 300,000 or more fans and have paced high SIngle-A baseball in overall attendance five times.

“We can’t thank our great fans enough for making this another terrific year,” said Keys general manager Dave Ziedelis. “They are truly some of the most passionate in all of the minors and we look forward to seeing many of them next season when we celebrate our 30th anniversary.”

World Series odds: The Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers are co-favorites to win the 2017 World Series, according to the Bovada online sportsbook.

10/3 - Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers
9/2 - Houston Astros
15/2 - Washington Nationals
8/1 - Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs
14/1 - Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees
28/1 - Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins

The playoffs begin tonight at Yankee Stadium with New York hosting Minnesota in the American League wild card game. The Twins are in the postseason one year after going 59-103. New York has won nine straight playoff games against the Twins. The winner advances to face Cleveland in the American League Division Series. The Boston-Houston ALDS begins Thursday in Houston.

My pick to win the World Series is the Washington Nationals. Yes, I am going with a team that has never won a postseason series. They have the big three in a strong rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. They have a retooled bullpen that was among the best in the National League in the second half. They have a very strong lineup with Bryce Harper back. They have a deep bench and a manager with playoff experience. I’m on the Nats bandwagon as the postseason begins.

Those offseason questions: We can also keep the conversation going here today on the Orioles offseason questions we wrote about here yesterday in this post. We floated several questions facing the Orioles right now, everything from how they need to fix their rotation to how many young players will they include on the 2018 roster?

Keep in mind one thing about this blog as the offseason rolls on. The topic here is always baseball and the Orioles. If you have a question or comment on anything Oriole post it or ask it. It doesn’t have to only be about what topic or topics I wrote on that day. All O’s topics are fair game here always.

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