Adam Frazier on 2024 and O's future: "The sky is the limit"

Gunnar Henderson and Adam Frazier

He was back playing second base at Camden Yards last night. But this time, Adam Frazier was not playing for, but rather against the Orioles.

Frazier enjoyed his time as an Oriole and was a key contributor to a 101-win team that won a division championship.

He has high praise for pretty much everything Oriole – especially his former teammates, manager Brandon Hyde and the Baltimore coaching staff.

“The whole staff really from (manager Brandon) Hyde on down, the hitting side, everything. Really bonded with those guys. The preparation that they were able to give us day in and day out, the (scouting) reports, it was top notch.

“You come to the Yard every day and you didn’t have to worry about this or that. It was just - take care of your business, help each other out and go win a game. It’s very refreshing. Some places I have been over my career, it hasn’t always been about that. It’s top notch,” said Frazier.

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Gunnar Henderson on hitting leadoff and Adam Frazier on return to Baltimore

frazier throws @KCR

Gunnar Henderson hit .197 last April. That is not happening this year.

He is 4-for-10 to start the new year, with a triple, homer and four RBIs. His three-game OPS is 1.438.

And here is the part that should worry opposing pitchers: He is getting more and more comfortable batting leadoff, as he has done the first three games and will do again tonight versus Kansas City.

“It’s growing on me. I don’t mind it now,” Henderson said before tonight’s game. “I was always hitting in the two or three hole minor leagues, and then when I got up here started hitting leadoff, and it has been growing on me.

“Just think I’m getting more comfortable with it. Just having to be ready, get out there a little earlier on the road. Just be aware of the time before the game. On the road you have to hit first and get out there earlier and be ready.”

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Remembering that time two future O's battled for a minor league batting title with a unique ending

Trey Mancini

You can say the topic you will read about here today is pretty random and I can’t argue that. I had no expectation of what I would write about today yesterday afternoon but would have not figured on this. It was a conversation in the comments section yesterday about what it takes for a player to qualify for league leader stats that jogged my memory.

It needs a good jogging often.

But I remember the 2015 Double-A minor league season when one player hit .359 but didn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify for the Eastern League leaders. But an 0-for-29 he never really actually took led to him winning the batting title that year.

This story does have Orioles ties.

The player that won that batting title by taking an 0-for-29 that never really happened was Trey Mancini. The player he beat out for that batting title was Adam Frazier, a 2023 Oriole.

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Three more Orioles surprises in 2023

Yennier Cano orange jersey

I rolled out three unexpected developments a few weeks ago relating to the Orioles’ 2023 season. Looking beyond the posting of the best record in the American League.

Austin Voth wasn’t impactful. Dillon Tate wasn’t able to pitch. Mike Baumann wasn’t big only in size.

Here are three more that come to mind.

Yennier Cano was an All-Star.

Cano staying on the 40-man roster over the winter qualified as surprising to me. It also illustrated why I’m not paid for my talent evaluating skills.

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The RISP stats will be hard to duplicate for the Orioles

Cedric Mullins black jersey

The Orioles averaged 4.98 runs per game in the 2023 season to rank fourth in the American League and seventh-best in the majors among the 30 teams. 

Only six teams this year averaged 5.00 runs per game or better for the full year. The Orioles came up just short of that scoring 807. That was seventh-most in team history and the most since the 2004 O's team scored 842.

Here are the six teams that outscored the Orioles this year.

5.85 - Atlanta
5.59 - Los Angeles Dodgers
5.44 - Texas
5.31 - Tampa Bay
5.10 - Houston
5.06 - Chicago Cubs

The Orioles were keeping pretty good company being among this group. Had they scored just three more runs to finish with 810, they would have averaged exactly 5.00 runs per game.

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Leftovers from the Orioles mailbag

Adam Frazier white jersey

Emptying out the mailbag isn’t as easy as it sounds. Questions are missed or held, the latter to keep the post at a reasonable length.

I’m not worried about breaking the internet. Just your spirit.

Here are some leftovers from last week, with a smattering of newbies. Enjoy my disregard for editing. And be aware that my mailbag leads the parade, and your mailbag follows the elephant with a shovel.

Is the Orioles 49-game improvement over two seasons the record now?
The Orioles tied the 1890-92 Cleveland Spiders for seventh, according to STATS. The 1884-86 Detroit Wolverines are first with a 59-game improvement. In more modern baseball times, the 1981-83 Blue Jays improved by 52 games. However, the ’81 season was shortened by the players’ strike that lasted from June 12-July 31.

Is the rotation or bullpen the No. 1 offseason priority?
Don’t know whether the Orioles post official rankings. The business can be conducted simultaneously. Whatever gets done first is first. And bullpens tend to be a little easier based on cost and supply.

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The veteran presence that was important this year will be next year too

hicks w bat @TBR

On an Orioles team that produced 101 wins, their first 100-win year since 1980, along with making the postseason for the first time since 2016 and winning the division for the first time since 2014, several veteran players made key contributions.

But the Orioles have five free agents and all five could be playing somewhere else in the 2024 season. Infielder Adam Frazier played in 141 games and had an OPS of just .696, but that number was .932 with runners in scoring position. Outfielder Aaron Hicks is a free agent also but his OPS was .806 in 65 O’s games.

On the pitching side, right-hander Kyle Gibson is a free agent after leading the team with 15 wins, 33 starts and 192 innings. He tied for third in the AL in wins and was sixth in innings. He was a leader in the clubhouse and outside of it as seen by his Roberto Clemente Award nomination. The guy sure gives back – within the clubhouse and outside of it.

I see value in having Gibson back on the team to provide pitching depth. I just have concerns of a price tag of $10 million or more for such depth. Hard to put a dollar figure on what his mentorship for young pitchers and leadership for all players meant. But the club might have to look somewhere else for the same thing next year if they decide to try and get what he brings at a lower price.

Pitchers Jack Flaherty and Shintaro Fujinami are also free agents. It’s hard to see a scenario where the club pursues Flaherty, but maybe there is one out there. Fuji was given every chance to hold down a spot in high-leverage relief and spent a few nights looking like a steal. And a few looking like much less than that. I say the O’s let him walk and look for more consistency elsewhere, even if it comes in a package that doesn’t feature a 100 mph fastball.

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Orioles bring same season vibe into playoffs


Adley Rutschman sat with a smile on his face for most of his 11 ½-minute session with the media yesterday. Happy to be in the playoffs. Able to enjoy the attention and focus that he usually tries to deflect. Thrilled to talk about his teammates and how they got here.

“I'm super excited,” he said. “This is a complete blessing to have an opportunity like this to play postseason baseball with a great group of guys in the stadium with an electric atmosphere. There's nothing more you can really ask for. The opportunity to do something like this is amazing. You kind of cherish it.”

“That's why I'm smiling,” he added, “and I just crushed a cold brew, so …”

Catcher turned caffeinated comedian.

If the Orioles are nervous about playing in the Division Series, with Game 1 today at 1:07 p.m., they’re doing a marvelous job of hiding it.

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One of few O's with playoff experience says team is "definitely ready"

hicks orange

As the Orioles get ready to play in the MLB postseason for the first time since 2016 and in the American League Division Series for the first time since 2014, experience in the playoffs is one of the few attributes this team is missing.

The only position players who have played past Game 162 are Aaron Hicks, Adam Frazier and James McCann, and Kyle Gibson and Jack Flaherty are the only pitchers with a combined 26 1/3 playoff innings.

The Orioles have played in many close games and many late-season high-pressure games this year. That should help prep them. But the postseason could prove to be something different and even more challenging.

“Just think that there will be a lot more adrenaline than they’ve ever felt before,” Hicks, who has played in five different postseasons, said. “They’re going to be a lot more nervous pregame and what it pretty much comes down to is who can calm down the fastest and just play baseball. That is what it comes down to. Little things win games in the postseason.”

Hicks has played in playoff games with the Yankees in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and last season, when he went 0-for-3 versus Cleveland in the ALDS.

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Amazing comeback: O's trail in eighth, ninth and 10th, yet walk off Rays in 11th (Hyde quotes added)


In a game in which they trailed by two runs in the eighth, and by one in the ninth and the 10th today, the Orioles produced a stirring comeback win.

One that lifted them back to a two-game lead atop the American League East at 93-56. They split the four-game series with the Rays, winning the last two games.

Cedric Mullins' sac fly with one out in the 11th scored Adley Rutschman from third and the O's had a walk-off win, 5-4 in 11 over Tampa Bay. An amazing comeback victory. And Mullins third career walk-off plate appearance. 

Before they sealed the win, Baltimore produced some late-game drama today. After Tampa Bay hit two homers to take a 3-1 lead in the eighth, the Orioles rallied to tie it with single runs in the eighth and ninth. They were down to their last out when they tied the score in the ninth and also in the tenth.

Down 3-2 to the last of the ninth, the Orioles rallied against Rays closer Pete Fairbanks. He came on in the last of the eighth with the Rays leading 3-1 and the O's pulled to within a run on Adley Rutschman's 19th homer.

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Some business that awaits Orioles

Jorge Mateo

The Orioles are down to their last 24 regular season games. The final West Coast trip wraps up tonight, followed by an off-day and weekend series in Boston.

An actual finish line is out of sight. The Orioles can’t break through the tape and veer toward the airport. That’s for non-playoff teams.

Where they stop, nobody knows.

At least one more roster move is pending, with John Means scheduled to make his last rehab start tonight at Triple-A Norfolk. Tyler Wells is expected to be recalled but first had to resume pitching. He was shut down with arm fatigue until last night.

Means is on the 60-day injured list, but there’s an opening on the 40-man roster. He can slide into it.

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Notes on Frazier's thumb, Voth's return from elbow injury and lots of Henderson

Adam Frazier

Adam Frazier stood at his locker yesterday and wrapped black tape around his right thumb and wrist. A pregame ritual that he’d like to stop.

Maybe soon.

Frazier said the thumb is much better since he injured it Aug. 3 in Toronto. He was in the lineup again last night and has appeared in the last five games, twice coming off the bench to face an opponent’s right-handed reliever.

“It was a grind of a couple weeks there once it happened,” he said. “It’s starting to feel good again and I’m swinging back full speed again, so it’s good.”

Some injuries linger until a player can shut down over the winter and heal, but Frazier doesn’t think he’s carrying the discomfort through the playoffs.

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Orioles and Blue Jays lineups to conclude series

orioles celebrate white

Adam Frazier returns to the Orioles lineup tonight after being unavailable due to a sore right thumb.

Frazier is batting ninth and playing second base.

Ramón Urías is the third baseman and Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop.

Anthony Santander, who homered twice last night, is in right field. Ryan Mountcastle is the designated hitter.

The Rays won this afternoon and are 1 ½ games behind the Orioles.

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Hyde on Flaherty, Voth, Baumann, Frazier, McCann and taking batting practice

baumann throws white

The Orioles aren’t listing starters for Thursday night or the three-game weekend series against the Rockies. The rotation is fluid after the decision to push back Jack Flaherty.

Flaherty said he didn’t bounce back after his last start in San Diego. Specifics are scarce.

“It was decided yesterday pregame to just give him a little bit extra time,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “In his catch play yesterday, there’s a little bit of soreness, and so we just wanted to give him a little bit of a break, and we moved up Dean (Kremer) to today.”

Hyde described it as “general” soreness, which “normally goes away over the course of between starts, and we feel like we want to be a little bit precautionary with him and just let him not make his start today.”

Flaherty was acquired from the Cardinals at the trade deadline to provide a veteran presence and someone who could handle a heavier workload, and a six-man rotation was built to spare the younger arms and make it easier control innings. But Flaherty's return date after three starts with the Orioles isn’t determined.

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Krehbiel optioned to make room for Webb

jacob webb pitching angels

The Orioles optioned reliever Joey Krehbiel to Triple-A Norfolk after last night’s game and activated reliever Jacob Webb, who was a waiver claim Monday from the Angels.

Krehbiel made two appearances with the Orioles and retired all five batters he faced.

Webb, who’s wearing No. 66, was designated for assignment Saturday after posting a 3.98 ERA and 1.358 WHIP in 29 relief appearances. He walked 20 batters and struck out 34 in 31 2/3 innings.

The Braves drafted Webb in the 18th round in 2014 out of Tabor College in Kansas. Prior to this season, he had appeared in 78 games over three seasons and had a 2.47 ERA and 1.304 WHIP in 76 2/3 innings.

Reliever Reed Garrett wore No. 66 earlier this season. It previously belonged to Tanner Scott and T.J. McFarland.

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Orioles pregame notes on Frazier, Mullins, Hicks, Webb and more


Orioles second baseman Adam Frazier has his right thumb taped after jamming it on a diving play in the final game in Toronto. He remains out of the lineup.

Manager Brandon Hyde said Frazier is available off the bench tonight. He might not have started anyway with the Orioles facing another left-hander, Houston’s Framber Valdez, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing.

“He’s been getting treatment since then, but he feels way better today,” Hyde said.

“He should be in there tomorrow.”

Center fielder Cedric Mullins remains with Double-A Bowie, starting in center field tonight in Richmond. His rehab assignment is nearing a conclusion.

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Orioles and Mets lineups at Camden Yards (plus notes)

mountcastle and o'hearn

The Orioles are back home for a weekend series against the Mets, followed by three games against the Astros.

Ryan Mountcastle, who went 11-for-13 with four doubles and six RBIs in Toronto, is batting second and playing first base. He tied the club record for hits in a series of four games or fewer. Merv Rettenmund went 11-for-18 when the Orioles swept Cleveland in a four-game series in September 1971.

In 18 games since returning from vertigo, Mountcastle has gone 23-for-50 (.460) with a 1.220 OPS, seven doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Adley Rutschman is leading off and serving as designated hitter. Gunnar Henderson is batting third and playing shortstop.

Ryan O’Hearn stays in right field. Jordan Westburg is the second baseman. Ryan McKenna starts in center field.

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Pulling out the close games has helped the Orioles surge into first place

Adam Frazier

It does confound some analysts. The Orioles, while ranking 10th in MLB in run differential, are second in the sport in winning percentage.

Just how are they doing that?

Winning a lot of close games is how.

Ironically, when the Orioles returned to the playoffs in 2012 after a 14-year drought, they won a lot of close games. That team had a plus seven run differential for the year but won 93 games. Yep, 93 while barely outscoring the opponents for the year.

O’s second baseman Adam Frazier isn’t too worried about the run differential totals as much as the win total.

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Orioles erupt early and entertain ESPN audience with 9-3 win (updated)


Three forearm smashes and a hand slap. That’s what awaited Adam Frazier tonight after he crossed home plate in the first inning. Before he reached the top step of the dugout.

In the middle of the latest beating administered to Yankees starter Luis Severino.

The Orioles sent 11 batters to the plate, scored seven runs and turned ESPN’s first Camden Yards broadcast in five years into a challenge to avoid using every note and anecdote before the top of the second.

Frazier drove a fastball onto the flag court in right field for a three-run homer, the sixth consecutive Oriole to reach base in a 9-3 rout of the Yankees before an announced crowd of 37,429.

The three-game series drew 114,816.

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Orioles pregame notes on bench depth, Means, Frazier in the clutch and more

mountcastle swing white

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde understands the logic behind going with a 12-man pitching staff, with the four-day All-Star break creating a rested bullpen. An extra arm isn’t necessary.

Hyde endorses the unbalanced ratio of pitchers to position players.

Ride with a dozen until it can’t be done.

A five-man bench is ideal for Hyde, however long it lasts. The late-game choices are much more enticing than in past seasons with the increase in talent.

“I have options this year," Hyde said, "which is nice.”

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