O's new Double-A skipper on winning, chemistry, player development and more

O's new Double-A skipper on winning, chemistry, player development and more
When it comes to the improved farm system for the Orioles - one ranked No. 1 in organizational rankings by MLBPipeline.com and No. 4 via Baseball America - it can seem the club leaves no stone unturned. Whether it is data and analytics and the latest technology, the move to place five coaches with each affiliate, improved nutrition and even gains in areas like mental skills, the Orioles seem to be doing right by their young talent. They want to give them every chance to succeed. Seeing the...
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On O's farm, managers and players are moving up

On O's farm, managers and players are moving up
Orioles minor league players don't have wait around for the end of a season to get a promotion to the next level. Players such as infielders Jordan Westburg and Gunnar Henderson and outfielder Kyle Stowers played at three levels in 2021. Westburg and Henderson began with low Single-A Delmarva and later moved onto high Single-A Aberdeen and to Double-A Bowie. They ended the season in the playoffs with the Baysox. Stowers started with Aberdeen, later moved to Bowie and then to Triple-A Norfolk...
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Does Rutschman have any deficiencies?

Does Rutschman have any deficiencies?
With the understanding that no prospect - no matter how highly rated - is too good to be true, and no prospect is can't-miss, the Orioles' Adley Rutschman does come close. FanGraphs.com, in ranking him the No. 1 Orioles prospect (and several outlets rank him No. 1 prospect in all of baseball), said of Rutschman: "Rutschman is a complete, franchise-altering prospect, and one of the most exciting young players in the entire sport. He's a switch-hitter with a hit/power combination that would...
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Discussing pitching prospects, 20-game winners and more

Discussing pitching prospects, 20-game winners and more
Orioles pitching prospect Kyle Bradish is ranked among the club's top 10 prospects on lists from Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com. He is rated No. 8 by MLBPipeline.com and No. 9 via Baseball America. This week, FanGraphs.com topped that, ranking the right-hander No. 7 when it released its list of the O's top 45 prospects. The outlet puts a 60 grade on his fastball, which tops in the 97 mph range, and a 55 on his curveball. As I have noted numerous times in this blog, FanGraphs also noted...
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There are likely no untouchables in trade talks

There are likely no untouchables in trade talks
It was around Thanksgiving and it was a tweet that got a lot of attention around Birdland. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted the Orioles were "dangling" lefty John Means in trade talks. Olney cited other teams, not the Orioles, as his source. When a credible national reporter states such, it should get our attention. He does have great sources within the game. But I as wrote in this entry, I felt it was a matter more of the Orioles doing due diligence. I pointed out that there must be numerous...
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Britton on move to Triple-A, thoughts on Rutschman and Rodriguez

Britton on move to Triple-A, thoughts on Rutschman and Rodriguez
He is a talented young minor league manager on the rise. At just 35, Buck Britton is not too far away from his playing days on the Orioles farm. But coming up in the 2022 season, he will manage at Triple-A Norfolk as a first-time skipper at the game's highest minor league level. In their 28-year history, the Double-A Bowie Baysox have played for a league championship three times. They did that twice in two seasons under Britton. His 2019 team had a terrible 7-23 start, but still played for the...
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How important are these stats for pitching staffs?

How important are these stats for pitching staffs?
The topic of the Orioles signing more groundball pitchers came up in the comments section of the blog yesterday. It is a topic worthy of discussion. The basic thinking states that ground balls are generally easier to turn into outs than fly balls and we have yet to see a hitter drive a grounder over the outfield fence. It's guaranteed to keep the ball in the ballpark. The pitcher we discussed here yesterday, O's lefty John Means, is not a groundball pitcher. His 2021 groundball rate of 32.9...
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Fewer homers allowed could be a big plus for this pitcher

Fewer homers allowed could be a big plus for this pitcher
As we speculate and try and make educated guesses on which pitchers could be helped the most by the Camden Yards fences being moved back in left and left-center fields, the club's best pitcher could be among those that most benefit. In going 6-9 with a 3.62 ERA last year, lefty John Means allowed a career-high 30 homers. Among all Orioles pitchers with any significant number of innings, he was the only one to allow more homers than walks (26). He gave up 1.60 walks per every nine innings last...
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This pitching prospect could crack the rotation this season

This pitching prospect could crack the rotation this season
He is one of the Orioles' top 10 prospects, and after he threw 86 2/3 innings at Triple-A Norfolk last year, he is also among their most major league-ready on that list. Right-hander Kyle Bradish, acquired by the club on Dec. 2, 2019 with three other pitchers from the Los Angeles Angels for Dylan Bundy, is likely to make his big league debut during the 2022 season. In November, he was added to the Orioles' 40-man roster. We've been looking at various 2022 rotation candidates over the last...
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Borgschulte on working with Hyde, building player trust and more

Borgschulte on working with Hyde, building player trust and more
When I interviewed new Orioles co-hitting coach Matt Borgschulte recently, I asked him what stats are important to him in dealing with his hitters. When it comes to a question like this one, we have to keep in mind that the teams have so many more available stats and data than the media and general public. No one is going to give away any secrets here. But he did provide a few examples and that is where we began to discuss strikeouts and how the coaches will try to help the hitters produce...
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More appreciation for Mullins, plus other notes

More appreciation for Mullins, plus other notes
We gained another reason to admire Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins this week. We learned that he produced a Most Valuable Oriole season, becoming the first player in club history with 30 or more homers and steals in one year, while battling the effects of Chron's disease. This did not keep Mullins from continuing his impressive rise from player demoted back to Double-A in 2019 to American League All-Star and All-Star game starter in 2021. He also won a Silver Slugger in November - the...
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Still No. 1: Rutschman leads five players on Baseball America list

Still No. 1: Rutschman leads five players on Baseball America list
For just the third time since Baseball America started releasing top 100 prospect lists in 1990, the Orioles had five players in the initial top 100 of the year when the newest list came out on Wednesday. We say initial top 100 because now these lists are tweaked and changed often during the year. Some outlets, including Baseball America, move players in and out as they "graduate" and lose prospect and rookie eligibility. There was once a time when outlets released one list per year and a...
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O's 2022 rotation candidate: right-hander Jordan Lyles

O's 2022 rotation candidate: right-hander Jordan Lyles
It's an assumption - but probably a pretty safe assumption - that right-hander Jordan Lyles is not only a rotation candidate for the 2022 Orioles, but he is very likely to be a key member of their rotation. This is why the club agreed with the free agent pitcher on a one-year deal for $7 million right before the lockout, and the Orioles hold a team option on his 2023 contract. Lyles went 10-13 with a 5.15 ERA for Texas last season. And that produced an ERA+ of 85 for last year or 15 percent...
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Some O's international players will be moving on up this season

Some O's international players will be moving on up this season
A little over a month ago, I wrote in this space taking a look ahead at some of the projected roster for the 2022 low Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds and how they are expected to feature a club with a strong international flavor. This is yet another big step for the Orioles in their emerging international program, which added 24 signees on Saturday and three more were reported by Baseball America on Monday for a class of 27 to this point. Keep it coming, the fans might say. With major league...
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A closer look at a couple of minor league hitters

A closer look at a couple of minor league hitters
Both players advanced to Double-A Bowie last season and both produced a final OPS of .800 or better. They both showed some nice pop during their time on the field, which was limited by injury for one of these players. When I spoke recently with the new Orioles co-hitting coach Ryan Fuller for this entry and also this one, we talked further about minor league first baseman Andrew Daschbach and shortstop Joey Ortiz. Ortiz had labrum surgery on his non-throwing left shoulder in July, but did take...
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International program's contribution to the elite talent pipeline

International program's contribution to the elite talent pipeline
With a new academy coming in the Dominican Republic and their latest signing class announced yesterday, the Orioles' resurgent international program keeps growing and getting better. The elite talent pipeline, international division, got better as a result. On one Saturday afternoon, the Orioles announced the signings of 24 players and spent their entire pool allotment of over $6.2 million, according to Koby Perez, the club's senior director of international scouting. Where the Orioles once...
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O's add Braylin Tavera at $1.7 million as signing period begins (updated)

O's add Braylin Tavera at $1.7 million as signing period begins (updated)
A new international signing period arrived today in Major League Baseball and the Orioles have announced a class of 24 players. This includes 16-year-old outfielder Braylin Tavera from the Dominican Republic. The 6-foot-2, 175-lb. right-handed hitter agreed to a bonus of $1.7 million, according to MLB.com, and that is the largest ever given by the club to an international amateur. Tavera, who profiles as a speedy center fielder, also features some power potential and gets scouting grades of 50...
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Speed and outfield defense will be important in new Oriole Park left field

Speed and outfield defense will be important in new Oriole Park left field
While we expect Oriole Park at Camden Yards to yield fewer homers in 2022 with the deeper outfield fence coming in left and left-center, the new dimensions and angles of those outfield walls will create more ground to cover for the defenders. Outfield defense in left and center just got more important for the Orioles. The Orioles may now place more of a premium on that outfield defense than before. And an outfield of Austin Hays in left and Cedric Mullins in center with have more frequent...
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Elias and Mejdal on outfield changes at Oriole Park

Elias and Mejdal on outfield changes at Oriole Park
Yes, the Orioles are quite aware that their pitching staffs in recent years have struggled. But the changes underway in left field and left-center field at Camden Yards are more about producing a park that plays more neutral and more toward norms in Major League Baseball. Right now, the club plays in a stadium that produces among the most home runs and runs in baseball - for all pitchers - and this will create a shift in that. Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said...
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New owners for Baysox and Keys, left field construction pics and more

New owners for Baysox and Keys, left field construction pics and more
In a transaction that took effect on Jan. 1, 2022, the Orioles' Double-A Bowie affiliate has a new owner. So does a former O's affiliate, the Frederick Keys. Attain Sports and Entertainment - Maryland Baseball, LLC announced that it has purchased the Bowie Baysox and Frederick Keys of the MLB Draft League. Led by owners Greg Baroni, CEO and principal general partner, and Richard Roberts, president and general partner, Attain Sports and Entertainment's mission is to present baseball as...
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