A week of Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards announcements makes a stop tonight at Cy Young.
Each ballot had room for five candidates. None of the Orioles are expected to make an appearance.
The winner will come from a group consisting of Chicago’s Dylan Cease, Toronto’s Alek Manoah and Houston’s Justin Verlander.
The Orioles’ dry spell, dating back to Steve Stone in 1980, continues for at least one more year.
Yesterday brought us to an intersection of announcements – players added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft and Brandon Hyde finishing runner-up to the Guardians’ Terry Francona for American League Manager of the Year.
I can lead fans to articles, but I can’t make them read.
The five protected players weren’t surprises, though right-hander Noah Denoyer fell short of being a slam dunk. No serious doubts existed with right-handers Grayson Rodriguez and Seth Johnson, left-hander Drew Rom and shortstop Joey Ortiz. Rodriguez and Ortiz were absolute locks.
Rodriguez, Johnson, Rom and Ortiz are top 20 prospects in the system per MLBPipeline.com. Denoyer was signed in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif.
It would take another injury for Rodriguez to be excluded from the opening day rotation. The only question is where he’s slotted.
Johnson is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Rom probably will be back in Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation to begin the season, but he can try to force the issue in camp. Ortiz could compete for the shortstop job after a breakout summer offensively, his bat catching up to his plus-defense. Denoyer hasn’t pitched above Double-A, so his next move is joining the Tides.
Catcher Maverick Handley, outfielder Zach Watson and pitchers Zack Peek and Kyle Brnovich, both recovering from Tommy John surgery, didn’t make it. Neither did reliever Xavier Moore, who registered a 1.36 ERA and 1.000 WHIP with 10 saves in 30 relief appearances with High-A Aberdeen, averaged 15.8 strikeouts per nine innings, allowed just one home run, and was named an All-Star.
Pitcher Blaine Knight, infielders Adam Hall and Cadyn Grenier, and outfielder Robert Neustrom weren’t protected again. There was no Rule 5 draft in 2021 due to the lockout.
The 40-man roster increased to 39 players. There can be subtractions to create more room for various acquisitions, whether in free agency, trades, waiver claims or the Rule 5 draft.
Among the outfielders is Daz Cameron, the son of former major leaguer Mike Cameron and the 37th-overall pick of the Astros in the 2015 draft, when current Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias was Houston’s director of amateur scouting.
The Orioles selected Cameron, 25, off waivers from the Tigers on Nov. 9. Deepening a position that already appears loaded.
“He’s a real center fielder,” Elias said last week. “He’s a right-handed hitter, so there’s a bit of an advantage toward left-handed pitching. And he’s still young. He’s had some success in the minor leagues and some flashes of success at the major league level, and I think it’s a good depth move for the center field position. We’ll see where it goes.”
Cameron was drafted the same year as outfielder DJ Stewart, taken by the Orioles with the 25th-overall pick out of Florida State University.
Eight players taken within the first 46 picks in 2015 have been in the Orioles organization: Reliever Dillon Tate (fourth overall), pitcher Carson Fulmer (eighth), infielder Richie Martin (20th), Stewart (25th), infielder Ryan Mountcastle (36th), Cameron (37th), infielder/outfielder Tyler Nevin (38th), and pitcher Thomas Eshelman (46th).
Tate, Mountcastle, Cameron and Nevin remain. Martin and Stewart are minor league free agents after playing for Triple-A Norfolk and the Orioles this year.
I had a vote for Manager of the Year and selected Hyde, Francona and the Mariners’ Scott Servais. Francona is now a three-time winner.
I have lots of respect for Francona, who received 17 first-place votes compared to nine for Hyde. He’s one of the best, and he guided a team with the youngest roster to a runaway Central Division title.
However, Hyde led a team that lost 110 games the previous season to a 31-win improvement. In the American League East. What he did ventured into historical territory. I’m sticking with my decision.
Hyde was excluded on five of 30 ballots, which seems absurd to me. Francona didn’t appear on four.
Mets manager Buck Showalter, who introduced the AL winner, won the NL award.