Now ranked as the No. 34 prospect in baseball by MLBPipeline.com and No. 41 by Baseball America, Jordan Westburg is getting a lot of firsts out of the way today. Like his first interview as part of the Orioles before he takes the field with the Orioles tonight for the first time, batting seventh at second base.
“Feeling a lot right now,” Westburg said, surrounded by a large group of reporters this afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse. “Don’t really know what emotions I’m feeling. Lot of excitement but yeah, it’s been a whirlwind of a day. I’m excited to be here and get it going.”
Did he seek any advice from others who have recently been through this day?
“Nothing major. Just kind of asking where to go and what time everything is right now. Make sure I’m not late.
“Just kind of soak it all in, enjoy the moment, don’t be too nervous. Just kind of the cliché things,” he said.
After waiting over a calendar year for his call since he first played for Triple-A Norfolk on June 6, 2022, Westburg’s big day is here. He’s the latest top talent from the sport's No. 1 ranked farm to try and help the big league team get back to the postseason for the first time in seven years.
While some around Birdland have been clamoring for this day for a long time, Westburg, 24, said he did not. He used his energy on getting better to be ready when the call did come. Was it hard to do that and stay focused and patient?
“I didn’t think so. I didn’t put too much thought into it. I was really focused on just the day-to-day and trying to get better every single day. I trusted that it was going to come. Maybe not in my time but in due time. I didn’t think it was too hard,” he said, but added he was a bit surprised at the news he got yesterday in Nashville from Tides manager Buck Britton.
“A little bit, yeah. Buck kind of hid it from me and did a good job of keeping a cover over it. So yeah, I was a little surprised when I got the call.
“Yeah, it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it and really cherishing this opportunity. Going to try and soak it all in and at the same time try and contribute any way I can to help this team get a win.”
Westburg was batting .295 with an OPS of .939 this year with 18 homers and 54 RBIs for the Tides. In 158 Triple-A games since he was promoted to that level early last June, he’s hit .283/.366/.533/.899 with 40 doubles, five triples, 36 homers, 121 runs and 128 RBIs.
He was asked about his low-key reaction in the video the Orioles put out when Westburg was told by Britton he was coming to Baltimore.
“It hit me pretty hard and I was trying to stay composed I think. It looks worse than it actually felt, that’s for sure," he said as the player they said doesn't smile too often flashed one several times today.
And it might hit hard tonight in making a debut in front of the home fans.
“It’s special, super special. I’ve only been here a handful of times. Obviously never to play here so I’m really, really looking forward to it. I’ve heard a lot about the crowds and the atmosphere and environment so I’m looking forward to it."
Westburg said his parents Paul and Christine and wife Anna Claire, will be here tonight. But he pointed out that getting them the word yesterday was a bit of a challenge.
“Pretty crazy. Yeah, they were my first calls. In Nashville, I was down in a tunnel with bad cell service, so trying to make those calls was kind of brutal. First few hours were crazy trying to figure out travel plans and got in here pretty early this morning. But we’re here now and that’s what I’m happy to be with and focused about," said Westburg.
He added that if the Orioles want him to move around the diamond on defenses as he did at Triple-A, he is very up for that.
“Yeah. I kind of embraced that challenge," he said. "Told many of you that I see that as a fun challenge for me. Looking forward to maybe moving around the same as I was in the minors. But, wherever I play, I’m going to make sure to get my work in and try to be as solid as I can at that position.”
And Westburg when classy when asked about leaving behind his Norfolk teammates and moving to MLB.
“It’s tough. Obviously, this is where everybody wants to be so I was excited to leave, but not excited to leave my buddies and teammates. Especially with how well they’re playing down there. Clinching last week was a lot of fun. You don’t know how many times you will get to celebrate that on a career. It was a little difficult, but I’m happy to be here."