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ESPN’s Keith Law on Gausman’s slider, Bundy’s rehab and more O’s prospects

This week, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the Orioles farm system No. 10 in baseball and had five Orioles rated among his listing of the best 100 prospects in the sport. In an interview yesterday, he talked at length about some O’s prospects and here are more quotes from that interview. First, here is his listing of the current top 10 O’s prospects and where he

Orioles add B. J. Surhoff as a special assignment coach in minors (with Surhoff quotes)

After working at times in the Orioles’ minor leagues the past three seasons on an unofficial basis, former Oriole B.J. Surhoff will now have an official role on the O’s farm this year. Surhoff has agreed to join the club as a special assignment coach. He played for the Orioles for parts of eight seasons, beginning in 1996. He was traded to Atlanta in 2000,

ESPN’s Keith Law on A.J. Burnett and O’s prospects

If the Orioles make a major run at signing free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett, ESPN’s Keith Law thinks it would be a great move for the team and that he’s likely the best fit for the club among the free agent pitchers. I spoke with Law on several topics today, including a long interview about his prospect reports this week, which were quite positive on

After re-signing with O’s, Zach Clark’s work with the knuckler will continue in 2014

He became a minor league free agent a few days after the World Series, but right-hander Zach Clark re-signed with the Orioles early this month to continue pitching for the organization he has been with since the 2006 season. After his wild ride last year - which saw him make the majors briefly, get designated for assignment and then begin throwing a knuckleball at three

ESPN’s Keith Law ranks four O’s young pitchers among top 43 prospects in baseball

Another top 100 prospects list is out and it is another one that shows five Orioles prospects among the game’s best young talent. Here is the ranking today from ESPN’s Keith Law, posted on ESPN.com: No. 23 - Kevin Gausman No. 31 - Dylan Bundy No. 38 - Hunter Harvey No. 43 - Eduardo Rodriguez No. 86 - Jonathan Schoop That is four O’s young

A look at pitcher groundball rates and how it impacts the Orioles

The Orioles led the American League in one pitching category last year that they would have preferred not to. The club gave up more homers than any other AL staff. The Orioles allowed 202 gopherballs while Toronto was second with 195. Both were way above the AL average of 167 homers allowed. We often hear about the appeal of a groundball pitcher - that is,

Notes on Brian Roberts, Hunter Harvey and Chris Davis (O’s farm No. 10)

Seeing Brian Roberts in pinstripes is going to be strange. But how will Orioles fans react the first time he plays at Camden Yards as an opponent on July 11? Yep, it’s going to be quite a wait until the Yankees make their first visit to the Yard in the last series before the All-Star break. No doubt, some boo birds will be heard. After

Parks on prospects: O’s pitching crop can hang with any in baseball

Baseball Prospectus today ranked five Orioles among its top 101 prospects in baseball. Kevin Gausman was No. 10 with Dylan Bundy No. 15, Hunter Harvey No. 58, Eduardo Rodriguez No. 61 and Jonathan Schoop No. 82. Jason Parks, the national prospect/player development writer for Baseball Prospectus, authored the list compiled with his prospect team and is quite high on several of the O’s young players,

Talking prospects and predictions

Five Orioles have been ranked among the top 101 prospects in baseball by Baseball Prospectus. Here is how Baseball Prospectus rated the five O’s on its list released this morning: No. 10 - Kevin Gausman No. 15 - Dylan Bundy No. 58 - Hunter Harvey No. 61 - Eduardo Rodriguez No. 82 - Jonathan Schoop Before last season, Baseball Prospectus rated Bundy No. 4, Gausman

When was the best home crowd ever at Camden Yards?

It was not a World Series win. It was not even a playoff win. But on the night of Sept. 6, 2012, the Orioles won a huge game against the New York Yankees behind an eighth-inning homer barrage. What brings that game to mind was that is was replayed recently on MASN and I got into a Twitter conversation with fans about whether that was

So are the Yankees going to be formidable or not?

If you look at all the New York Yankees’ acquisitions this offseason, the best will probably turn out to be the most recent one. We all know the importance of pitching and signing right-hander Masahiro Tanaka could prove to be a season-saver for the Yankees. Tanaka pitched as well, if not better, in his last few years in Japan, than Yu Darvish did when he

Jim Callis talks about the Orioles on the MLB.com top 100 list

The Orioles had three players ranked among baseball’s top 100 prospects by MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com in the list released last night. Pitcher Dylan Bundy was ranked No. 20, pitcher Kevin Gausman No. 31 and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez was ranked No. 68. When this list was released last January, Bundy was ranked No. 2 and Gausman No. 37 by MLB.com and Rodriguez was unranked as the

Three Orioles prospects make the MLB.com top 100 list

Three Orioles are among the sport’s top 100 prospects according to MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com. In its ranking of the game’s top young players released tonight, pitcher Dylan Bundy was ranked No. 20, pitcher Kevin Gausman No. 31 and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez was ranked No. 68. When this list was released last January, Bundy was ranked No. 2 and Gausman No. 37 by MLB.com and Rodriguez

As some fans’ frustration grows and Yankees spend big, what’s next for the Orioles?

Let me start by repeating that I believe the Orioles need to add to their pitching staff, a point many made several weeks and months ago and still worth making. The Orioles didn’t pitch well enough last year and to get better, and they probably need both current pitchers to improve plus a key addition or two. The time has come for the Orioles to

Brian Roberts talks about joining the Yankees; Colvin deal may not come together

After playing 13 seasons with the Orioles, Brian Roberts will be in Yankee pinstripes in 2014. Today, in his first interview since joining the Yankees, he made some comments sure to draw the ire of some O’s fans. On a YES Network interview, Roberts was asked about the Yankees’ sales pitch to get him. “As you know, I don’t think they need a whole lot

A look at the pending Tanaka signing and how it might impact the Orioles (Tanaka to NYY)

Hey, Masahiro Tanaka, could you please make a decision soon so the rest of the teams in baseball can get on with their lives? I’m sure he didn’t intend to hold up the works, but since the new posting process began around Christmas for the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander, not much else has happened in baseball. Remember the flurry of activity with signings even before the

Will Bud Norris become a key part of the Orioles rotation?

He joined the Orioles last July 31, coming over in a trade from Houston. He is under team control through the 2015 season. Can Bud Norris become a key factor in the O’s rotation for at least the next two years? The Orioles sure seem confident he can. They gave up what some considered too good of a price to get Norris when they dealt

A look at where the Orioles’ top 10 prospects may play this year (updated)

Back in mid-December, Baseball America released its list of the top 10 prospects in the Orioles’ farm system. Later this week, MLB.com will release its list of the sport’s top 100 overall prospects. Baseball America’s top 100 list will come out in February or March. The Orioles should get somewhere between three and five players on those lists. Four seems quite possible. For now let’s

Another look at replay and the O’s-Tides exhibition game in Norfolk (remembering a year ago)

So what strategy will managers use with the new replay rules coming to the majors in 2014? Since the crew chiefs determine what plays should be reviewed from the seventh inning on, the managers will need to use their challenge in the first six innings. Should they use the challenge in the first inning, if needed, or wait for later in the game? Since a

With 2014 contract not yet set, Matt Wieters faces an uncertain future as an Oriole

It has been a winter with some Matt Wieters rumors. There were rumblings that the Orioles have approached Wieters and agent Scott Boras about a long-term contract, but did not make much progress. That led to rumors that the club was open to trading Wieters. At this point, there’s been no long-term deal or trade. Is it a coincidence that of the six players who

A memorable special on Cal’s most memorable game and another look at replay

Maybe crying in baseball is sometimes OK. I didn’t exactly need to reach for a paper towel, but I got a little misty-eyed last night watching that MLB Network special on Cal Ripken’s most memorable game. Yep, I’ll admit it. It was a tremendous special about the night of Sept. 6, 1995 when Ripken played in consecutive game No. 2,131 to pass Lou Gehrig and

Orioles agree with pitcher Bud Norris on one-year contract

The Orioles have reached an agreement on a one-year contract with right-hander Bud Norris, according to an industry source. This allows the club to avoid a possible arbitration hearing. Norris went 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 games, including nine starts, for the Orioles last year after he was acquired in a trade with Houston. Over 50 2/3 innings, Norris gave up 61 hits

A look at the MLB replay system that begins during the 2014 season

Major League Baseball has approved the replay system that will be in place for the 2014 season. Here is the release from MLB providing details: The 30 Clubs of Major League Baseball have unanimously approved the expansion of instant replay, which will be in effect for the 2014 Championship Season and the 2014 Postseason. The historic announcement was made this afternoon, at the conclusion of

Eddie Gamboa: Getting a little closer to the majors and a little closer to consistency with the knuckler

At 29, the process of Eddie Gamboa reinventing himself as a pitcher is continuing. He began throwing a knuckleball last year in spring training and and began to have success with the pitch at Double-A Bowie. When he moved to Triple-A Norfolk in July, he threw the pitch more often, but the results got worse. After the season ended, he went to winter ball in

A look at where some Orioles stand on top prospects lists

Last season, the Orioles’ top two pitching prospects, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, were ranked among the top 10 right-handed pitching prospects by MLBPipeline.com and MLB.com. Today, just Bundy is on that list. Coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery, Bundy was No. 6 last year and was ranked No. 8 on the list released today. Gausman, who was ranked No. 5 last year, did

Can Ryan Flaherty handle the everyday job at second?

Can a player with 399 major league at-bats, a career .221 average and has never been a big league regular player be the Orioles starting second baseman this year? He could, and Ryan Flaherty seems to be the leading candidate to emerge from spring training as the starter at the position. On the plus side, Flaherty has some pop, plays solid defense and already has

A take on the Alex Rodriguez saga and the Delmon Young addition

Ken Rosenthal said Tony Bosch is not exactly a high-character person on MLB Network Monday and he is right. On the same broadcast, Harold Reynolds said it was the players, though, that brought Bosch into the game and he was right. Rosenthal said no one came off looking good during the “60 Minutes” telecast Sunday night - not Bosch, not Major League Baseball and certainly

Orioles offense: Bottom line was solid, plus a deeper look

If you grade the Orioles’ offense on the bottom line - and that is runs scored - it would get decent grades for the 2013 season. The O’s scored 745 runs last year to tie for fourth in the American League. Only Boston (853), Detroit (796) and Oakland (767) scored more. The O’s scored 31 more runs in 2013 than they did in 2012. They

Wondering about Palmeiro being dropped from Hall of Fame ballot and whether some broadcasters will ever get a vote

Former Oriole Rafael Palmeiro is on the very short list of players that have both 3,000 hits and 500 homers. The group includes Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Palmeiro. That is one of the most exclusive lists in the history of the sport and those accomplishments clearly cement Palmeiro’s credentials to be a Hall of Famer. But he’ll probably never make it to

Is the closer role overrated? (plus ranking center fielders)

Well, I’ve softened my stance on one aspect of baseball. Years ago, I used to believe that the closer was the most important player on the team and any club with designs on a championship needed a top-notch talent for that role. I still think it’s a pretty critical role, but maybe don’t feel quite as strongly as I once did. I still haven’t come

More notes and quotes on the minor league staff and a look at the Face of the Franchise poll

The Orioles announced their minor league staff for the 2014 season yesterday and the eight men that managed in the minors last year all return to the organization. As noted yesterday, low Single-A Delmarva and high Single-A Frederick are basically switching managers with Ryan Minor headed back to Delmarva where he managed from 2010-12 and Luis Pujols taking over at Frederick. Director of player development

Orioles set minor league staff for 2014 season

The Orioles have announced their minor league managers and coaching staff assignments for the 2014 season. All four full-season managers return to the organization, although Luis Pujols moves from Single-A Delmarva to Single-A Frederick and Ryan Minor moves from Frederick to Delmarva. Ron Johnson returns for his third season as manager at Triple-A Norfolk and Gary Kendall will manage for the fourth season at Double-A

For starters, a look at the leadoff position in the order

Last season, Nate McLouth and Brian Roberts combined to bat first in 125 of the Orioles’ games, or 77 percent of the time. There will be a new man atop the O’s order in 2014. Who is the best choice? Looking back at 2013, O’s leadoff hitters batted a collective .266 with a .331 OBP and .715 OPS. That was just ahead of the American

A look at Mike Mussina’s chance to get the call to the Hall and other notes

Former Orioles right-hander Mike Mussina may make the Hall of Fame one day, but it appears today will not be that day. He may well come up short on a ballot plentiful with worthy candidates. It is clear to me that all these years later some O’s fans are still bitter about Mussina’s signing with the Yankees as a free agent. What is not clear

Taking a look at Chris Davis and his 2014 season

After he had a monster season in 2013, what should O’s fans reasonably expect from Chris Davis next season? Davis led the majors in homers, RBIs and extra-base hits. He had nine more homers and 21 more EBHs than anyone else in the game. Davis became the third player in MLB history to hit at least 50 home runs and 40 doubles in a season,

What is the priority now for the Orioles?

So, what should the Orioles priority be now that we are about five weeks from the start of spring training? Should it be a starting pitcher? A closer? A DH? Or all three? To me, you almost always go for the pitching. The Orioles tied for fourth in the American League in runs scored last year, and while their offense could certainly use help, the

Will Markakis return to the norm in 2014?

One of the strange sights from the 2013 season was watching Nick Markakis, a player that hit 43 doubles or more four straight seasons from 2007-2010, turn into a singles hitter. Markakis finished with 24 doubles last season, but, after the All-Star break, he hit just six doubles and two homers in 253 at-bats, posting a slugging percentage of just .300 and OPS of .622.

Sometimes it’s great to be a fan

By now, most readers here know I grew up in the Baltimore area as an Orioles fan. I no longer go the games to cheer from the stands, but I feel lucky to have a job covering my childhood team. There are so many memories of going to so many games at Memorial Stadium. I think I spent more time there than at home during

First 2014 edition: 10 questions for O’s fans

We had a 10 questions blog in October and one in November. Somehow we missed December, so let’s get our January version posted today. As usual, answer one, two, all 10 questions or any number that strikes you. Answer with one word or expound on your answer as much as you like. Here is the first 2014 edition of “10 questions for O’s fans.” 1)

Comparing Bundy and Gausman at the top of O’s prospects list

After putting together the Orioles’ top 10 prospects list this winter for Baseball America, the question I was asked the most was about ranking Dylan Bundy as the club’s No. 1 prospect with Kevin Gausman No. 2. Some fans wondered how close it was between the two pitching prospects. First of all, keep in mind the editors at Baseball America - as they certainly should

Are dire predictions going to come true for the Orioles?

First of all, happy new year to everyone. As this holiday season is coming to a close, I hope it’s been special and wonderful for all of you. Now, back to baseball. Some fans have already made some dire predictions for the 2014 Orioles. They have predicted fourth place. They have predicted a losing record. Heck, one reader here predicted 72 wins the other day.

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