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More predictions of a poor season for the Orioles, plus other notes

We should certainly not be surprised anymore. But when some analysts released their lists of Major League Baseball power rankings for the 2016 season, they don’t see the Orioles as very powerful. The latest publication to predict a poor season for the Orioles is Sports Illustrated. In his first MLB power ranking of the 2016 season for SI.com, Jonah Keri has the Orioles rated No.

This is not your father’s American League East

As any fan of the Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays or Tampa Bay Rays could tell you, and perhaps even say with some level of pride, the American League East is no longer a two-team race. Once the domain of the big spending Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the AL East has produced four different division champions the past four seasons. Over the last

Trey Mancini on a career turning point, his power increase and more

Trey Mancini, the Orioles’ 2015 minor league Player of the Year, has been a solid hitter since the day the Orioles drafted him in round eight of the 2013 draft. Mancini hit .328 that first pro season in 2013, earning team MVP honors for short-season Single-A Aberdeen. Since then, he has also hit .300 or better at Single-A Delmarva, Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. But

A take on the statement from Casey Close and a possible in-house right field candidate

We probably won’t get any answers from outfielder Dexter Fowler or agent Casey Close of Excel Sports Management on these questions, but we can still wonder about some of them. * If Fowler and Close sought an opt-out clause, why were they negotiating with one team that has said it will not provide one? In his statement last night, Close said, “Both the Orioles front

Trying to build a good team and then keep it together

At a time when players come and go - and major league rosters change, sometimes almost daily - the Orioles may now be developing a situation where their roster will feature stability. At least for a few years. Let’s look at the eight players that could be on the field with the pitcher on opening day and include outfielder Dexter Fowler. Except for catcher Matt

A take on the Orioles’ restructured deal with pitcher Yovani Gallardo

While the deals are not officially completed, it sure looks like this time we can safely say the Orioles have indeed added a starting pitcher and outfielder. For the second night in a row, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko was the first to report an agreement. This time he reported it is a two-year deal with a team option for a third season with pitcher Yovani Gallardo

Another look at Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler

Maybe today we find out if Yovani Gallardo will be in the Orioles rotation or not. Just when fans were getting used to the thought of the right-hander being about to join the team came the news of additional medical tests taking place. The physical is not complete, the signing is not final. The Orioles did get one of the two players they have been

A look at the Orioles’ addition of Dexter Fowler

As one deal potentially may be falling apart, another came together. Tonight, for what look to be the same terms offered to free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo, the Orioles added free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler. They’ve agreed to terms with Fowler on a three-year deal worth $35 million, according to reports first from MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko and then from ESPN. Last year for the Chicago

Catching up with Joe Mahoney (plus a look at free agent spending)

Before Trey Mancini and Christian Walker were Orioles first base prospects, there was another young lefty-hitting slugger working his way toward Baltimore. Drafted in round six in 2007, his path to the bigs included a 2010 season that ended with his winning the Brooks Robinson Award as the O’s minor league Player of the Year. Joe Mahoney did make it to the major leagues -

None left: O’s rotation will be without a southpaw

Will having an all right-handed rotation be a problem for the Orioles? Last year, right-handers made 131 of 162 O’s starts. Wei-Yin Chen’s 31 starts were the only by any left-hander. Will they go 162-for-162 this year? When the Orioles officially add Yovani Gallardo, he will join holdovers Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez. No lefty anywhere. But there are some reasons

The Gallardo agreement: Its impact on draft picks and other notes

If the Orioles wind up losing their top two draft picks for the second time in three years, they could wind up in better shape this time. The O’s will lose their No. 14 pick when the team’s agreement with pitcher Yovani Gallardo becomes official. They could lose a second pick if they sign outfielder Dexter Fowler, who they are pursuing. They parted with two

A few notes on the Orioles’ agreement with pitcher Yovani Gallardo

So it is done and this time it seems pretty final, if not yet official. The Orioles have agreed to sign free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo to a three-year deal worth $35 million with an option for a fourth year. A $35 million deal will bring the Orioles’ free agent spending this offseason to a total of $249.8 million. They previously re-signed Chris Davis to

When it comes to starting pitchers, do some teams prefer quantity over quality?

When it comes to starting pitchers, is more now better? Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci wrote about this recently in a season preview column. He sees a trend developing in the sport where there seem to be fewer workhorse pitchers. With fewer pitchers that can give you a lot of innings, teams are using more starting pitchers to cover those innings than ever before. “Teams now

A look at the Orioles’ minor league early camp roster

About nine days before Orioles minor league pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training, a group of 37 players will report for an early camp in Sarasota, Fla. The list includes 18 pitchers, four catchers, nine infielders and six outfielders. They’ll report to the O’s Twin Lakes complex starting next Tuesday, Feb. 23. This will give this group of players an earlier

MLB Network analysts debate the Chris Davis contract; Brian Graham talks Bundy, Harvey

When the Orioles officially re-signed slugger Chris Davis to a seven-year deal worth $161 million, many fans were excited that the club was able to retain the power-hitting first baseman. He leads the majors in homers since 2012 and was the major league homer leader in both 2013 and 2015. But not all analysts saw the signing as a good one for the Orioles. Yesterday,

As spring training begins, five questions about the 2016 season

Orioles pitchers and catchers officially report to Ed Smith Stadium today. Spring training is set to begin. Opening day is April 4. That seems a long time away, but it will be here before we know it. As a new season begins, five teams are chasing the American League East championship. It is a title won by four different teams the last four years. The

A look at some inaccurate PECOTA projections for the Orioles, plus other notes

When Baseball Prospectus released its latest PECOTA projections for the 2016 season, it basically predicted a strong race in the American League East this year - but not one that will include the Orioles. PECOTA, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is Baseball Prospectus’ proprietary system that projects player performance based on comparison with historical player seasons. There are three elements

Are projections for tight AL East race more reason to pursue Gallardo, Fowler?

There has been plenty of debate as to whether the Orioles should or should not sign pitcher Yovani Gallardo and/or outfielder Dexter Fowler. One big reason in favor of doing so for me is that they could push the Orioles over the hump in the American League East. Right now, the division looks very even and open from top to bottom. You could rank teams

The scoop on Schoop: He could be headed for stardom

Is second baseman Jonathan Schoop an emerging star for the Orioles? Schoop, who turned 24 on Oct. 16, had 455 at-bats in 2014 and just 305 last year. But after the big improvement he made last season, you would have to be encouraged by the numbers Schoop may be able to put up with 600 at-bats over a full season. First, here is a look

Baseball America pitches a shutout: No Orioles on the top 100 list

It may be Valentine’s Day, but Baseball America did not show the Orioles any love on Friday. When it released its latest list of the game’s top 100 prospects, not a single Oriole was on the list. Baseball America has released 27 such lists since its debut top 100 ranking in 1990. The only other time the Orioles were shutout on a top 100 was

O’s fans take to Twitter to analyze every aspect of Yovani Gallardo’s pitching

Sometimes we just overanalyze baseball players. That might be what it truly comes down to. When I wrote an article yesterday with the headline of “As Yovani Gallardo’s strikeout rate decreased, so did his ERA,” that was a headline but also an indisputable fact. But some fans were coming at me fast and furiously yesterday on Twitter. A good ERA is fine with some, but

As Yovani Gallardo’s strikeout rate decreased, so did his ERA (plus prospect notes)

There has been some discussion about free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo and his declining strikeout rates in recent years. But at the same time, while the strikeouts have declined, so has his ERA. Over the last four years, his two lowest seasons of strikeouts per nine innings have also produced his lowest ERAs in that stretch: 2012: strikeouts per nine innings rate of 9.0 and

Notes on Yovani Gallardo, Dexter Fowler, O’s payroll and more

Are the Orioles going all-in on the 2016 season? First came reports yesterday of their pursuit of free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo. His signing would cost them one draft pick. Then reports surfaced that if the O’s signed Gallardo, they could then also sign free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler and lose a second draft pick. The O’s lost two picks for signing Ubaldo Jimenez and

Will these players put up better stats for the Orioles in 2016?

The Orioles have a few players that they are counting on to perform better in the 2016 season than they did last year. It is pretty easy to point to starting pitchers Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez, and shortstop J.J. Hardy as players who can clearly upgrade from their 2015 statistics. In the three seasons from 2012-2014, Tillman went a combined 38-16 with an ERA

Slow start, big finish: O’s pitching prospect ended 2015 season with a flourish

Can a pitcher who had an ERA of 5.83 last June 20 for Single-A Frederick be considered one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects? He can if he was able to turn his season around to the point where he got a late-season promotion to Double-A Bowie. And then he pitched two huge games in the playoffs to help the Baysox claim the Eastern League

Another look at the possibility of the Orioles giving up a draft pick

So what is the value of a draft pick? On the one hand, we know that most players that get drafted never make the major leagues - and even some of the highest-drafted players never make it. Look at the first-round picks for just about any draft and check out the number of players that never made it or never did very much in the

Looking back at when a Super Bowl-winning QB was an O’s draft pick (with Alvarez note)

With the 50th Super Bowl set for later today, it is not a bad time to revisit a story I first wrote here about two years ago. It was not long after the Seattle Seahawks beat Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the Super Bowl. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns that day. The championship came for Wilson

Mancini wraps up his degree work, Walker on his strong 2015 second half

Not long after he was named the Orioles minor league Player of the Year and helped Double-A Bowie win the Eastern League championship last September, first baseman Trey Mancini took on a different but familiar role - that of a student. He returned to Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in pursuit of a degree and he got it. Mancini added 24 credits over two

Still talking about starting pitching

Are the Orioles stockpiling fifth starter candidates? And not just fifth starter candidates, but rotation options that can be optioned. If the Orioles cannot add a more established starting pitcher to their staff, could it be that they intend to have a revolving door of sorts with optionable pitchers in the fifth starter’s role? Maybe take a look at several pitchers and/or go with the

Comparing the O’s 40-man roster construction to the rest of MLB

FanGraphs.com took an in-depth look at the 40-man roster makeup of every Major League Baseball team. The findings show that the Orioles’ 40-man roster construction mirrors that of many other teams. FanGraphs lists 11 Orioles as being acquired by the team through the First-Year Player Draft, with the major league average at 12. It lists seven added via free agency (with the MLB average at

There is no crying in baseball, but is there tanking?

Is tanking really becoming an issue in baseball? It appears it may be, and that there is concern in the sport that some teams have set up their rosters to lose games in order to come up with higher draft picks. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the issue of tanking was raised at the recent MLB owners meetings. “Houston is often cited within the sport

Trey Mancini and Christian Walker talk about Chris Davis re-signing with the O’s

Christian Walker was the Orioles’ minor league Player of the Year after the 2014 season, winning the Brooks Robinson Award. Trey Mancini took that same honor after last season. But going into the 2016 season, both prospects’ path to the Orioles is potentially blocked by first baseman Chris Davis. He plays the same position they do and Davis re-signed with the club, agreeing to a

Notes on Pedro Alvarez, position rankings and prospect rankings

Providing a few thoughts on a few different topics today: Is Pedro Alvarez still a fit for the Orioles?: Probably only in the sense that they could use another left-handed bat. But when Chris Davis re-signed, that put a real dent into the possibility of Alvarez as an Oriole - unless the O’s are OK with a lineup of Davis at first, Mark Trumbo in

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