The Orioles may be headed for a transition year with their infield. The players that take the field on opening day on Friday in St. Petersburg will surely be pushed from behind by some of the club’s top prospects.
How soon those prospects arrive is an open-ended question, but surely the Orioles have them - both in quantity and quality - and the infield on opening day 2023 could look very different. Or maybe sooner than that.
Ramón Urías has cemented a starting infield spot this spring, a spring he began with a leg up on the competition after batting .279/.361/.412/.774 in 85 games last year. That produced an OPS+ of 111, and he is still youthful at 27. It’s just a matter of where he plays, with second, short and third all possible. Just not all at once.
The rest of the group, to be nice, lacks much in the way of big league stats, but Jorge Mateo, no doubt, intrigues with his blazing speed, and he did produce a .748 OPS in 116 O’s plate appearances last year. Rougned Odor and Kelvin Gutiérrez are in the mix, and Odor could start at second with Gutiérrez at third. Chris Owings, Shed Long Jr. and Richie Martin remain on the camp roster, and Martin has certainly hit well under the Florida sun.
But it’s the infielders on the rise that probably most excite Birdland. There are a few top 10 prospects and a decent group that will be at Double-A or Triple-A, not to mention a few ranked players expected to begin at high Single-A Aberdeen as well.