Some potential Orioles non-roster invite spring storylines


The media crowd around Jackson Holliday’s locker will have more layers than an onion on his first day of availability in camp. Must be his appeal.

(You see what I did there.)

Holliday was a good story last spring. The first-overall draft pick with the youthful face and famous father. Everyone wanted to see him play, and he stuck around much longer than anticipated.

It turned out to be more than a courtesy look and a chance to soak in the environment. Holliday wasn’t reassigned to the minor league side until March 14, after batting .385 with a .991 OPS.

The Orioles announced 30 non-roster invites on Feb. 2 and expanded the list later that day after outrighting reliever Darwinzon Hernández. The camp roster held 71 players, with an overflow in the auxiliary clubhouse.

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Diving into an imaginary trade package for Burnes


With family and friends gathering soon for the Thanksgiving holiday, the baseball business could slow but won’t necessarily halt. The screeching sound isn’t brakes. More likely talk radio.

Mike Elias could turn off his phone or charge it in another room while the turkey’s carved. He might be traveling and temporarily unavailable. But he’s aware of a fast-developing market after his time at the general managers meetings in Arizona. How pitching could fly off the board – unlike turkeys, who can’t fly – with so many teams searching for it.

The expanded playoffs increase the aggressiveness of executives, especially after the second-place, 84-win Diamondbacks reached the World Series. Snoozing brings the risk of losing.

Elias is known to prefer club control beyond one year if listening to trade offers, but the quest for a starter who slots high in the rotation might now allow it. Some of the biggest names assumed to be available are approaching free agency, most notably Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes, Cleveland’s Shane Bieber and Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow. The White Sox’s Dylan Cease has two years left on his contract.

The rentals can command less in return, but higher demand and desperation also can plant the sellers more firmly in the driver’s seat. Bidding wars aren’t confined to free agency.

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After slow start, Dylan Beavers' bat heated up as he advanced to Bowie

Dylan Beavers Bowie

With the promotion Sunday of infielder Max Wagner from High-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie, the Orioles now have their first four picks from the 2022 MLB Draft all together at the Double-A level with Jackson Holliday, Dylan Beavers, Wagner and Jud Fabian. 

Holliday was the No. 1 overall pick in that draft with Beavers at No. 33, Wagner No. 42 and Fabian No. 67. The last three are all college draft picks but Holliday, who is baseball's No. 1 prospect, is the 19-year-old phenom having a sensational season. 

Beavers has put up some very solid numbers in his own right and just got to Bowie last week, going 8-for-20 in his first five Double-A games. His bat is hot now, but it wasn’t always that way in 2023. He began the year with Aberdeen and after 45 games was batting just .214 with a .664 OPS.  But then in his next 40 games with the IronBirds he had this line - .343/.443/.580/1.023 with 29 walks and 21 extra-base hits.  

Now ranked as the No. 10 O’s prospect by and No. 22 by Baseball America, his bat was smoking. He is a player that gets some 60 grades from scouts for his power, running and arm.  

Beavers told me over the weekend in Bowie that when his bat was slow to get going this year, he tried not to overly stress about it and instead draw on experience from college ball at the University of California. There he began his career as a two-way player and later as a power-hitting outfielder was good enough to be the No. 33 overall selection. 

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In OBP and walk rate, the O's 2022 draft class got off to strong start


In the 20-round MLB Draft last summer, the Orioles selected 10 position players and 10 pitchers. They signed nine of the position players. And in what was clearly a small sample which should be noted, that group of nine showed some outstanding plate discipline which could bode well for their future MLB chances.

As a group of nine players, the Orioles draft class produced a collective .400 OBP to rank second only to Seattle's draft class. The Mariners also had nine players that produced a collective .405 OBP.

But the Orioles did rank No. 1 in MLB with a draft class walk rate of 17.3 with San Diego (also nine players) second at 16.2.

Among O’s minor league players with 50 or more plate appearances last year, no player had a better walk-to-strikeout rate as a hitter than O’s No. 1 overall pick Jackson Holliday. He also led the organization with a 27.8 walk rate. He is just 18 years old.

Over 20 games between the Florida Complex League and low-A Delmarva, Holliday walked 25 times with just 12 strikeouts. That is a robust 2.08 walk-to-strikeout ratio, the best on the O's farm. Maxwell Costes, a non-drafted free agent from the University of Maryland was next at 1.50 with Adley Rutschman third at 1.38.

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Playoff notes and quotes ahead of tonight's SAL championship game in Aberdeen


ABERDEEN, Md. – In the minor leagues it’s like the equivalent of playing a Game 7 of the World Series. For the O’s high Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds affiliate tonight, it’s the final game of a series and the season.

Aberdeen hosts Bowling Green, a Tampa Bay Rays farm club, in Game 3 of the best-of-three South Atlantic League championship series at 7:05 p.m. Bowling Green won 5-3 Sunday and Aberdeen won at Ripken Stadium 13-6 last night. Tonight’s winner will be the 2022 SAL champions.

The last two O’s farm teams to win championships were the Single-A Frederick Keys in 2011 with Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop in the Carolina League and the Double-A Bowie Baysox in 2015. With a team that included Trey Mancini and Mike Yastrzemski, the Baysox won the Eastern League title.

Aberdeen, an O’s affiliate since 2002, had never even won a single playoff series until this year.

Ahead of tonight’s winner-take-all game, some notes and quotes from Aberdeen.

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O's 2022 draft picks come up big as Aberdeen takes must-win playoff game


ABERDEEN, Md. – It was certainly much more than a three-man show. But on a night when high Single-A Aberdeen had to win to save its season, the Orioles' second, third and fourth selections in the 2022 MLB Draft came up big.

Dylan Beavers, taken No. 33 overall from Cal, Max Wager, drafted No. 42 from Clemson and Jud Fabian, taken No. 67 overall from Florida, combined to go 6-for-11 with two doubles, a homer, five runs and seven RBIs as Aberdeen beat Bowling Green 13-6.

The win evens the South Atlantic League best-of-three championship series at one win each. The teams play at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Ripken Stadium in a winner-take-all game. The game 3 winner will be SAL champs.

The last farm team for the Orioles to win a league championship was Double-A Bowie in the Eastern League in 2015. Seven years later, Aberdeen can join them.

The IronBirds offense was cooking early and often.

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Aberdeen wins big to force a third and deciding game for SAL championship


ABERDEEN, Md. – In a must-win situation tonight to force a third and deciding game in the South Atlantic League championship series, the O’s High-A Aberdeen club got it done with big offense at Ripken Stadium.

Aberdeen never trailed, scoring once in the first, three in the second and five runs in the fourth on its way to a 13-6 win over Bowling Green. After the IronBirds lost the series opener 5-3 on the road Sunday, the SAL championship is now even at 1-1 and set for a Wednesday night Game 3 showdown in Aberdeen.

If the IronBirds win the title, it would be the first by an O’s affiliate since Double-A Bowie won the Eastern League in 2015.

Tonight, Aberdeen took a first-inning lead when Dylan Beavers walked, stole second and scored on Jud Fabian’s two-out single to left. In the last of the second, Aberdeen got a pair of singles with two outs and then Beavers hit his first homer at the High-A level. The No. 33 overall pick in the 2022 draft by the Orioles drilled a three-run shot to right for a 4-0 lead.

After Bowling Green scored twice in the third off right-hander Jean Pinto, Aberdeen took control of this game with five runs in the last of the fourth. Billy Cook’s two run single made it 6-2 and Heston Kjerstad tripled in two runs to right, and scored on the play himself on a throwing error for the 9-2 margin.

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The upcoming winter should also be filled with excitement in Birdland

mike elias

If Birdland is excited about how this 2022 season is shaking out, just wait until the offseason.

Sure, no games will be played, but the build up for the 2023 Orioles and anticipation of a season where the club should contend from the first game will be strong. 

Sometimes the hot stove season is almost as good as the regular season. This could be one of those times. The Rule 5 draft won't be an offseason highlight this time. 

Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has made a few comments this year that were about spot on. It started before the season when he seemed to challenge some of the young pitchers to step up this season and start to put up some numbers. Guess what - several have done exactly that. He also indicated this team would not be a 100-loss team and might be much more competitive. Right again.

Recently he talked about "blue skies" ahead for the organization. Yep.

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Minor league notes on Ortiz, Cowser, Hall, Holliday and more


It has finally happened. The Double-A Bowie Baysox are rolling. It happened later than we thought but the Baysox are making up for lost time now.

After going 27-42 in the first-half Eastern League race, Bowie has surged into first place in its division in the second half, going 20-8 heading into Thursday’s game. The Baysox have a few scorching hot hitters and a bullpen that has posted a 2.48 ERA in the second half after posting a 4.78 ERA earlier.

Among the hottest hitters is shortstop Joey Ortiz, the club’s fourth-round pick in 2019 from New Mexico State. The Orioles' first three selections in that draft were Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Kyle Stowers, and they took Ortiz as their fifth pick.

He got off to a very slow start this season after undergoing season-ending left shoulder surgery last June. He ended this June batting .206 with a .596 OPS. Then he got on fire for the Baysox in July and produced a batting line of .404/.438/.674 with an OPS of 1.112.

“He had an elite shoulder injury that is difficult to come back from, and I think he has finally found his strength and his groove,” said Matt Blood, the Orioles' director of player development. “And he’s been making little adjustments all along the way. This is the player we saw last year before he got hurt. Probably a combination of getting fully healthy and strong as well as making adjustments to the league and the pitching he’s seen this year. Joey and that Bowie team are playing fantastic.”

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Beavers on Yelich comp, Fabian on not signing with Boston (plus O's win)

dylan beavers

Cal outfielder Dylan Beavers, the No. 33 overall pick in the MLB Draft last Sunday night by the Orioles, once had dreams of being a two-way player in college.

Cal was going to use him as both a pitcher and a position player. His fastball was touching 92 and 93 mph and the coaches saw promise in him as a two-way talent. But that didn’t last too long once he got on campus, he told me during an interview for MASN here on Saturday.

“It was right after the fall of my freshman year, so before the (spring) season even started. It kind of seemed like I was going to end up playing the outfield full time. I did warm up on opening weekend but once Covid and everything happened, I had a ton of time to work on my swing, my defense and stuff. And just went full time as a hitter. I definitely have more of a future as an outfielder," Beavers said. 

This season Beavers, as a fourth-year junior, batted .291/.426/.634 with 16 doubles, three triples, 17 homers, 62 runs and 50 RBIs. He hit 18 homers in 2021 and 36 for his Cal career.

He was at Camden Yards Saturday to sign his first pro contract and see the ballpark before he heads to Florida for O’s orientation and the likelihood that his first pro games will come in the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

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O's draft picks Dylan Beavers and Jud Fabian talk about joining the Orioles


University of California outfielder Dylan Beavers was an Orioles draft pick, No. 33 overall, last Sunday night. And now, just days later, he has signed his first pro contract and was at Camden Yards today to get a look around. He took time to talk with Baltimore reporters.

He said he didn’t have a lot of interaction with the O’s leading up to the draft. It was a nervous time, but then he heard his name called with the club’s Competitive Balance Round A selection.

“It was a little bit stressful, but I knew it would be a great time and I was super excited when I finally got picked," Beavers said. "I was definitely just ready to get my name called. It happened, and it was Baltimore and you know it made it that much better.”

Beavers, age 20 from Paso Robles, Calif., began his career as a freshman as a two-way player, also a pitcher who could touch 92 and 93 mph on the mound. But he quickly became a full-time position player. This season, as a fourth-year junior, the lefty-hitting right fielder batted .291/.426/.634 with 16 doubles, three triples, 17 homers, 62 runs and 50 RBIs. He hit 18 homers in 2021 and 36 for his Cal career.

He indicated that generating good bat speed gets him to his power.

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Orioles lineup and draft signings

urias and mateo dugout @TB orange

Adley Rutschman is batting second again tonight as the Orioles try to win their first game after the All-Star break.

Rutschman is catching, which puts him on the bench or makes him the designated hitter Sunday afternoon.

Manager Brandon Hyde posted the same lineup as last night.

Jordan Lyles is working on an extra day of rest following the All-Star break. This is his fifth start against New York in 2022, posting a 4.56 ERA in 23 2/3 innings.

The last two starts have been quality by definition, with two earned runs in seven innings and three in 6 2/3. He struck out a combined 16 batters.

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A look at the O's four picks on first day of MLB Draft

draft platform 2022

When the Orioles made their third No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick in team history on Sunday night, the pick was a popular one with a couple of the MLB Network analysts. They reacted quite favorably on the telecast when the O’s selected high school shortstop Jackson Holliday from Stillwater, Okla.

The son of long-time big league outfielder Matt Holliday, Jackson was Baseball America’s national High School Player of the Year. Holliday, who gets 60 grades from scouts for his hit tool, running and arm, is age 18 and hit .685/.749/1.392 (89-for-130) with 29 doubles, six triples, 17 home runs, 74 runs scored, 79 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 40 games during his senior season. His 89 hits set a national high school record.

He follows Ben McDonald in 1989 and Adley Rutschman in 2019 as O’s 1/1 picks and is the first high school position player the team made its top draft pick since Manny Machado in 2010.

The slot amount to sign Holliday is listed at $8,842,200.

“They didn’t cut a deal here,” said Jim Callis of on the MLB Network draft telecast. “They took one of the best players. I think Jackson Holliday is probably the best combination of hitting ability and ceiling in this draft. He plays on the infield, Druw Jones (drafted second) is an outfielder, there is defensive value here. I like Harold's (Reynolds) Bobby Witt Jr. parallel. He is a five-tool shortstop. I can’t think of too many players - and Jackson Holliday is one - that got better in every phase of the game (this season). Better hitter, stronger, faster, better arm, better shortstop as a senior. He was a good player coming in and he’s a great player now. I love this pick for the Orioles.”

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Doubling back to the MLB Draft

bird at 2022 draft

TAMPA, Fla. - A few takeaways from the first night of the MLB Draft:

Jackson Holliday’s father, former major league outfielder Matt Holliday, knew about the selection 30 seconds ahead of the announcement because he received a call from Scott Boras.

I didn’t make the immediate connection. Boras used to represent Matt, and he negotiated his client’s seven-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals back in 2010.

Of course, Boras would rep Jackson.

From the moment that the Orioles drafted Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman one/one rather than prep shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. in 2019, they were destined to have their careers tracked side by side. It won’t be the same with Holliday and Druw Jones, who went second to the Diamondbacks, because they weren’t universally seen as the top two prospects in the class. But there will still be comparisons as they embark on their professional careers.

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