A few thoughts on fall instructional league

The Orioles are getting ready to open their fall instructional league down in Sarasota. The Ed Smith Stadium complex is operating again after being shut down for more than six months.

One of the smartest moves made by the Orioles has been exercising caution instead of their players.

A complete roster of participants will be available soon and figures to include the draft selections who were denied a minor league season.

I’m working more on assumptions. For instance, why shut down top pick Heston Kjerstad?

Give him the reps in right field. Get some eyes on him from important people in the organization.

Catcher Adley Rutschman is moving from Bowie to Sarasota. He got plenty of work at the alternate camp site, but the Orioles want to keep him active.

“He’s a very exciting player,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said during Saturday’s Zoom conference call. “He’s got some special abilities all the way around and I’m glad that we have him. And he may have more activities later this year if we’re able to do something late this year.”

DL-Hall-Delivers-Futures-Game-Sidebar.jpgInfielders Gunnar Henderson and Terrin Vavra and left-hander DL Hall also are reporting to the Ed Smith Stadium complex. I’m assuming that pitcher Grayson Rodriguez will join them, but we’ll find out when the roster is revealed.

We all know what happens when you assume.

There’s a chance that you’re wrong.

Vavra was obtained from the Rockies in the Mychal Givens trade. The third-round pick out of the University of Minnesota batted .313/.405/.483 in 146 games in the short-season Single-A Northwest and low Single-A South Atlantic leagues. He’s the son of Tigers hitting coach Joe Vavra.

MLB Pipeline.com ranked Vavra as the Rockies’ No. 7 prospect and Baseball America had him 17th.

Hall and Rodriguez were built up to around 100 pitches at the alternate camp site. The Orioles really did a fine job simulating a minor league season, at least as much as humanly possible.

I’ve heard that left-hander Zac Lowther headed to North Carolina for a throwing program. I also heard that he’ll be included on the fall instructional league roster. Not sure it can be both. We’ll see.

Players who didn’t make it to the secondary camp site will be the main targets. We can speculate about pitchers Cody Sedlock, the first-round pick in 2016, and Alexander Wells. Catcher Brett Cumberland and infielder Rylan Bannon are expected to be there.

How about Drew Rom, the 20-year-old lefty and fourth-round pick from 2018 who posted a 2.93 ERA last year in 21 games and averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings at low Single-A Delmarva? Makes total sense to send him to Sarasota.

Everyone will go through the intake and quarantine process before being allowed on the field for workouts. I’d expect the games to begin in the second week of October and run through the rest of the month.

The Orioles may bypass the annual January minicamp.

Let’s just hope the complex can stay open for pitchers and catchers to report in February.

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