A conversation with the Orioles new closer (with audio)

A conversation with the Orioles new closer (with audio)
Like his idol, Nolan Ryan, new O's closer Mike Gonzalez is a strikeout pitcher. Last year, with Atlanta, Gonzalez fanned 90 in 74 1/3 innings. In his career he averages 10.6 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched. The great Ryan averaged 9.5 per nine. With some young starting pitchers on the staff, O's president Andy MacPhail said the O's needed a reliable closer to hold their leads and help their collective confidence. As a free agent this winter, the 31-year Gonzalez researched the...
Continue reading

A swing change has Rowell excited about the 2010 season

A swing change has Rowell excited about the 2010 season
After struggling for two straight seasons with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League, O's minor leaguer Billy Rowell is making a change. He made some adjustments with his swing during instructional league workouts in September and October. "I went back to my old swing from high school. You have to stick with what works. There are a lot of ideas but at the end of the day it's what works for you. This swing is the most consistent and most natural. "I had more power at instructional...
Continue reading

The future Orioles payroll

The future Orioles payroll
There are those who call the Orioles "cheap" because they didn't spend on a big name free agent this year. Others say this wasn't a top free agent class and the time wasn't right for the O's to make a move like that. Some look at the Orioles' payroll and see plenty of room for future spending. I won't argue that point. I expect the O's payroll, which was reported to be about 67 million last year, will probably be in that neighborhood again this year. There are a couple of...
Continue reading

More from Billy Rowell

More from Billy Rowell
Earlier this week in this space, I presented a story on O's minor leaguer Billy Rowell. Rowell talked about his recent swing change and attempt to get his bat going this season after two poor years at the plate at Frederick. Here are some more quotes from the 21-year-old on other topics. What is Rowell's take on reports he has a poor attitude? "I hear this from other people, the media, but if you ask the coaches I don't have a bad attitude. My attitude may have been bad because I...
Continue reading

O's get back in Venezuela

O's get back in Venezuela
As the Orioles continue to upgrade their international scouting, the organization is now trying to become more of a player in a nation that has produced many Major Leaguers through the years - Venezuela. O's Director of Player Development David Stockstill has just returned to Baltimore from a four-nation, 17-day scouting trip that took him to the Dominican, Colombia, Curacao and yes, Venezuela. He scouted many players over four days in that country. And for the first time in about three and...
Continue reading

Stockstill on Guzman and more

Stockstill on Guzman and more
Earlier this month the Orioles signed Joel Guzman, a former Dodgers number one prospect, to a minor league contract. The 25-year-old Guzman, who was a minor league free agent, did not get an invite to Major League spring training. The 6'5", 245-pound, right-handed hitter batted .281-12-57 in 108 games at Double-A Harrisburg last summer and hit just .121 in 12 games at Triple-A Syracuse with the Nationals organization. "He's got a lot of power and athleticism and plays multiple positions....
Continue reading

Wondering about Wieters (plus the Baysox plunge)

Wondering about Wieters (plus the Baysox plunge)
The Orioles clearly have their catcher of the present and future now solidly in place in Matt Wieters. But one key question concerning Wieters for the 2010 season is this one - how heavy of a load can he carry in terms of games played? If Wieters gets one day off per week, he would play in about 138 games. Last year, between Norfolk and Baltimore he played in 135 games, getting 495 at bats. He had 81 at bats as a DH. By my count, he made 114 starts at catcher during the 2009 season between...
Continue reading

One man's division realignment plan

One man's division realignment plan
In recent years whenever someone has suggested to me that the Orioles try to relocate to a division other than the AL East, I have been completely against it. Not that a team can just say 'we want to move' and MLB will grant its wish. But I have liked the fact that the O's bang heads with some of baseball's best teams in what has been baseball's best division in recent years. Do we want to be a "chicken" and now try to leave the Yankees and Red Sox behind and try to win another...
Continue reading

Spoone looks forward to a healthy and successful 2010

Spoone looks forward to a healthy and successful 2010
In 2007 he pitched in a Frederick Keys rotation that included Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, Jason Berken and Brandon Erbe. He went 10-9, 3.26 for that Keys team which won the Carolina League championship. He went 2-0, 1.00 in two playoff starts, pitching a complete game when the Keys beat Salem to clinch the title. But since then Chorye Spoone's fast track to the Majors was derailed by labrum surgery in September of 2008. Now he's healthy again and ready to show he is once again a top...
Continue reading

Will there be a spring training suprise?

Will there be a spring training suprise?
Each March, it seems, there are one or more players that surprise us all and make the Orioles Opening Day roster or make it down to one of the final cuts. Will there be a surprise out there this year? It seems unlikely with the O's 25-man roster pretty set before the club even reports to Sarasota. But that's why they play the games. There could be injuries and/or a trade or trades that could change things in a hurry. Some players could report and be more improved or advanced than anyone...
Continue reading

It's not Britton's time yet

It's not Britton's time yet
He is rated by Baseball America as the number three prospect in the entire O's organization and last year was named the Carolina League pitcher of the year. Despite the accolades and new found fame, 22-year-old lefty Zach Britton did not get an invitation to Major League spring training with the Orioles this year, although there had been talk that he might get one. "I was told earlier I may be going to big league spring training. They kind of put me on the plan to be ready to go. But they...
Continue reading

Pondering and wondering

Pondering and wondering
Do you ever wonder: *Why some fans and posters here keep asking if the Orioles are going to sign more players? Haven't the O's indicated they are pretty much done at this point. It doesn't mean something can't happen but it seems unlikely. But still fans wonder if the O's are talking to Johnny Damon, Hank Blalock, Jarrod Washburn and on and on. *If anyone cares about the payroll disparity in baseball besides the O's, Rays and Jays. Those three teams have to beat out the Yankees and...
Continue reading

Self proclaimed underdog emerges as a top O's pitching prospect

Self proclaimed underdog emerges as a top O's pitching prospect
This time last year, O's minor league pitcher Zach Britton was just starting to get noticed. Now, after a 2009 season where he was named Carolina League pitcher of the year, it seems everyone knows his name. He was rated recently by Baseball America as the Orioles third-best prospect. The reason for his success could be his outstanding power sinker. Or his fastball that can touch 94. Or his great makeup. Or his willingness to learn and solid relationship with pitching coach Kennie...
Continue reading

Hobgood arrives early at O's minor league camp

Hobgood arrives early at O's minor league camp
Minor league pitchers and catchers are not scheduled to officially report to the O's Twin Lakes Park complex in Sarasota until March 2nd, but several players arrived early to get a jump on the season. That list includes last June's first-round pick, right hander Matt Hobgood, who has been in Sarasota since February first. The 19-year-old that the O's selected with the fifth overall pick last June, has spent most of this winter learning to eat better and reducing his body fat. He worked...
Continue reading

More with Hobgood

More with Hobgood
Earlier today in this space we published an article on O's pitcher Matt Hobgood. The 19-year-old right hander was taken with the 5th pick in round one of last June's draft. He went 1-2, 4.73 in eight starts last summer at Bluefield. After the year he was named as the 4th best prospect in the Appalachian League by Baseball America. Hobgood has joined other pitchers that have reported early to the O's minor league camp in Sarasota, Florida. Here are some more comments from an interview...
Continue reading

B-Rob sounds excited

B-Rob sounds excited
As he gets ready to begin his 10th season as an Oriole, Brian Roberts says he's excited to see how some of the young O's players progress this year. He's also excited to see the O's new spring training digs in Sarasota. "To me it (the new facility) is re-energizing. We are looking forward to having the major and minor league guys in the same spot so we can get to know some of the minor league players. There are so many benefits to this move for us," Roberts said Wednesday during his...
Continue reading

O's minor league spring training schedule

O's minor league spring training schedule
The O's today released their minor league spring training games schedule. As I mentioned in a post last week, the Triple-A and Double-A clubs will play their home games at the Ed Smith Complex, while the class A clubs will play their home games at the Buck O'Neil Complex at Twin Lakes Park. Date Club Opponent Time Location March 17 AAA/AA Tampa Bay 1:00 Ed Smith Complex A @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte March 18 AAA/AA @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte A Tampa...
Continue reading

The MLB world is watching the Mauer negotiations

The MLB world is watching the Mauer negotiations
He has won three batting titles, two straight Gold Gloves and is the reigning American League Most Valuable Player. He has done all this before his 27th birthday. Joe Mauer is baseball's best catcher and an amazing force on offense and defense. He is also said to be a great guy, one that will likely never show up in the headlines to discredit his team or town. The question is - will he continue to destroy AL pitching as a member of the Minnesota Twins beyond this season? He can be a free...
Continue reading

Brian Cashman: The Orioles are a sleeping giant

Brian Cashman:  The Orioles are a sleeping giant
Give Yankees general manager Brian Cashman credit. He took time this week to go on the Scott Garceau show on MASN and 105.7 FM, the Fan, appearing on the Orioles flagship radio and TV outlets. Cashman, I'm sure knowing what audience he was speaking to, was very enthusiastic in his comments about the Orioles. Yet his comments sounded quite sincere and he didn't just seem to be saying the politically correct thing about a division opponent. You be the judge. Here is an excerpt of...
Continue reading

Will it get tough for some of the youngsters?

Will it get tough for some of the youngsters?
There are many clichés in sports and certainly in baseball, too. "You win with pitching and defense." "It's a marathon, not a sprint." "You can never have enough pitching." "A walk's as good as a hit." OK that last one is from little league and not heard too often in the American League. Here's one that is just not true. "As a young player, he will only get better." Oh really. If that were a truism, every young talent on every team would put up better...
Continue reading