One of the more popular offseason topics related to the Orioles is the implementation of analytics on a team that didn’t exactly embrace them in the past.
They weren’t ignored, but getting everyone on the same page regarding their importance and how to use them was an impossible task. The levels of commitment to them resembled a staircase.
Mark Trumbo is the latest Oriole to offer his approval of the plan being put in place by executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and assistant Sig Mejdal.
“It’s everywhere and I’m sure there are going to be a lot of things,” Trumbo said during Thursday’s “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan.
“I think defensively those can really provide dividends. On the pitching side. On the players’ side, I’ve been around four teams now and I’ve seen, I guess, some of it. You never know how much is actually being shared because our job as players is to really go out there, and a lot of it is reactionary at the plate and in the field. So, as far as positioning, it goes a long way, but when you’re in the box against some of the elite pitchers out there, it’s a little more difficult if you start guessing that he throws a slider in 2-1 counts 40 percent of the time. Interpreting the data.
“My point is, it’s a little more difficult. But it has its place. I’d like to see how it’s shared in the capacity that we’re going to be doing it. I really look forward to probably learning quite a few things.”
Further adapting will come with the hiring of a new hitting coach. Don Long will replace Scott Coolbaugh, according to multiple industry sources.
“I really enjoyed my time with Cooley,” Trumbo said. “Under him, I had the best year I’ve ever had and he had a very unique ability to kind of cover both sides of hitting, the mental side and then the mechanical side as well. But I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years and it’s always special to form a new relationship with somebody that teaches this for a living and I think that you’ve got to go in with an open mind. That’s the only way to do it.
“Sometimes, maybe the message hits home right away and it seems like it’s going to be a natural fit. Sometimes, you’ve got to kind of wade through the information and find out, hey, this makes sense, or maybe not so much. But I’m excited for whoever we choose for the position.”
The Orioles held their minicamp over the weekend and I’ve heard that their organizational meetings begin next Monday, with various departments represented as we approach spring training.
The meetings will include professional scouts Dave Engle, Jim Howard, Dave Machemer and Doug Witt. I’m assuming that Rich Amaral, a former Orioles outfielder hired over the summer to work in sort of a hybrid role - focusing on amateur and professional special assignment scouting and also serving as a basestealing instructor - also will attend.
All of the amateur scouts are expected to be there.
Witt also was hired over the summer, though news didn’t leak until September. He’s the brother of former major league pitcher Bobby Witt and the uncle of high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., projected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming amateur draft.
Lots of people in the industry assumed Witt’s hiring meant the Orioles would draft his nephew, but that’s not necessarily the case. Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman has emerged as the favorite in a couple of the mock drafts that I’ve read.
Witt brings a solid reputation to the organization - I’ve talked to scouts and executives who rave about him - and his value to the Orioles shouldn’t be measured by family ties.