Getting crowded on the farm at higher levels in the infield

Having too many good players is not really a problem for any major league club. As we look down the road a year or two at the Orioles infield, it is starting to get crowded between players we’ve already seen in Baltimore and players on the way.

Of the current top 18 players on the O’s top 30 prospects list via MLBPipeline.com, nine are infielders, and seven of the nine have played at least as high as Double-A already. The depth is strong.

Gunnar Henderson, at least for now, is still prospect eligible and is the club’s No. 1 prospect with Jackson Holliday at No. 3, Jordan Westburg No. 5, Coby Mayo No. 7, Connor Norby No. 11, Max Wagner No. 15, Darell Hernaiz No. 16, Joey Ortiz No 17 and César Prieto No. 18.

Only four players can start on the infield each day, they tell me.

How will the Orioles handle this? Will there be trades? Will any of these players have to move positions?

“We always value defensive versatility,” O’s director of player development Matt Blood said in our recent interview. “We have done that consistently since we got here with the Orioles. We are not shy about playing players all over the field. And in multiple positions, and we’ll continue to do that to give options to the major league manager or whenever players sort of prove their bat needs to be in the lineup.

"But a guy like Westburg can play all over the infield. (Joseph) Ortiz can play all over the infield. Norby has even gotten some time in the outfield as well as the infield. We’ll continue doing that with all of our players.”

In baseball there is that phrase that “things have a way of working out.” We’ll see, moving forward, how that applies to the growing list of solid infield prospects at higher levels of the Baltimore farm.

Still looking for some offense: The Orioles were held to just three hits and, extra-base hit and no runs in Saturday's 8-0 loss to New York at Yankee Stadium. New York (97-60) pitched its 16th shutout of the year, its most since recording 16 in 1998. The Orioles were blanked for the 11th time. Also for the second time in 13 games and fourth time in the last 26 games.

This road trip started with the Birds scoring 23 runs in the first two games of the Boston series. But now they have scored just six runs over the last four games on 24 hits while going 1-for-24 with runners in scoring position. They are 1-for-14 with RISP this weekend.

Now 81-77, the O's still need one more victory in the last four games to post a winning record. Overall, they have now lost four of five, six of eight, 10 of 16 and 16 of the last 26 games. They are 6-12 against the Yankees and can win this series and end the road trip with a victory today in the Bronx.   

Orioles lineup vs. Yankees
On chemistry and who's going to lead
 

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