The composition of the Orioles’ second camp roster is public knowledge. We’ve been able to identify the first 44 players set to gather later this week at Camden Yards.
We’re just figuring out exactly what to call it. “Summer camp” and “spring training 2.0” are getting mixed reviews on Twitter.
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias used “summer camp” in yesterday’s Zoom with the media, so perhaps that makes it acceptable. Put the blame on him if anyone rebels.
Also under discussion is how the Orioles will fill out their 30-man roster for opening day on July 23 or 24.
A third catcher for home games - I’m not counting the road taxi squad - is expected to be part of it. Only Pedro Severino fits into every combination with Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns and Bryan Holaday also headed to Baltimore for summer camp.
Sisco’s left-handed bat and former prospect status seem to give him the edge. Manager Brandon Hyde could be left to decide between Wynns and Holaday.
The primary starters in the infield remain the same, with the shutdown unable to impact the favorites. Chris Davis at first base, Hanser Alberto at second, José Iglesias at shortstop and Rio Ruiz at third.
(My money is still on Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie.)
The Orioles need at least one utility player who can move from the infield to the outfield and the roster still includes Stevie Wilkerson and Andrew Velazquez. Hyde could hold onto both of them and also keep Pat Valaika, who was 9-for-27 with a double and three home runs prior to the shutdown. Valaika can play every infield position.
Richie Martin’s chances of staying with the Orioles have increased now that the minor league season is going to be scrapped. They must figure out whether it’s more beneficial to let him collect at-bats and middle infield reps in intrasquad games or sit on the bench in the majors with occasional opportunities to play.
The Orioles haven’t disclosed how many pitchers will be on the opening day roster. They were going to carry 13 before the rules changed. Now there’s no limit, per Major League Baseball’s list of revisions.
A five-man rotation figures to consist of John Means, Alex Cobb, Asher Wojciechowski, Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone. Relievers who appeared to be locks in March included Mychal Givens, Hunter Harvey, Shawn Armstrong, Miguel Castro, Richard Bleier and Paul Fry.
That’s 11, and here’s where it really gets interesting.
A long reliever is necessary. At least one. And the camp includes other pitchers with starter backgrounds besides Blach - Chandler Shepherd, Thomas Eshelman, David Hess, Kohl Stewart and Hector Velázquez.
As for other relief options, Cole Sulser allowed one earned run and struck out eight batters in 4 2/3 innings. Eric Hanhold allowed one run with nine strikeouts in six innings. Cody Carroll surrendered one run with eight strikeouts in six innings. Branden Kline didn’t allow a run in 5 2/3 innings, though he issued four walks.
Carroll didn’t pitch in the majors last season and underwent back surgery.
“Cody is definitely someone that is on the radar for potentially making our club,” Hyde said on March 3. “He threw well in the Arizona Fall League. He’s carried that over here. Sits in the mid-90s with good secondary stuff. Really like what we’ve seen so far.”
Hyde’s curiosity about their ability to transfer that production from Florida to Maryland will be satisfied.
I’m curious about César Valdez, and I’m not alone.
Was there a more surprising inclusion on the second camp roster than Valdez?
The 35-year-old right-hander arrived from minor league camp to pitch in four games, finishing two, and didn’t allow a run in five innings. He also didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine.
Valdez’s first major league appearance came in 2010 and he didn’t make it back until 2017. He spent the past two years in Mexico and was 15-2 with a 2.26 ERA and 1.063 WHIP last year in 23 starts.
“I’ve actually been hearing quite a bit about him,” Hyde said on March 1 after Valdez recorded the save in Clearwater with a three-pitch strikeout of the Phillies’ Deivy Grullon with the bases loaded.
“I didn’t see him pitch against Boston (four strikeouts in two innings). Everybody was real impressed with his stuff. He did a great job.”
Workouts officially begin on Friday. The media is waiting for instructions regarding coverage.
Major League Baseball issued a release yesterday containing the “unique features” that previously have been reported. Among them:
* Teams may schedule a maximum of three exhibition games before opening day. There’s no limit on intrasquad games.
* A regionally based schedule will feature each team playing 40 divisional games and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographical division.
* Both leagues will use the designated hitter.
* A runner will be placed on second base to begin extra innings and deemed to have reached via an error, but an unearned run won’t be charged to the pitcher.
* Both clubs may use an additional player in the event that a doubleheader takes place while the active roster limit is down to 26.
* Any player may appear as a pitcher. No extra-inning requirements or six-run margin as previously implemented for 2020.
* Up to three players can make road trips as part of the taxi squad, but one has to be a catcher.
* The trade deadline has been moved from July 31 to Aug. 31 and the postseason eligibility deadline has been moved to Sept. 15.
* Injured lists are going to be 10 and 45 days. There also will be a COVID-19 list
* Players or managers who leave their positions to argue with umpires, come within six feet of an umpire or opposing player or manager for the purpose of argument, or engage in altercations on the field are subject to immediate ejection and discipline, including fines and suspensions.
* Spitting is prohibited, but chewing gum is allowed.
* Pitchers may carry a small wet rag in their back pocket to be used for moisture in lieu of licking their fingers.
* There will be no exchanging of lineup cards. Clubs will input them into a mobile application provided by MLB.
* Players on opposite teams should not socialize, fraternize, or come within six feet of each other before the game, during warm-ups, in between innings or after the game. And don’t even think about fighting.