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Overlooked no more: Donnie Hart came up big in O’s bullpen

Can a player drafted in the 27th round - one who was never considered a top prospect and has never advanced to Triple-A - help the Orioles? He can if that player is pitcher Donnie Hart. The lefty reliever is used to being overlooked. He saw 818 players taken ahead of him in the 2013 draft until the Texas State product heard the Orioles call

Baseball America’s John Manuel on Chance Sisco’s defense

He may not be hitting with big power right now, but no one is questioning O’s catching prospect Chance Sisco’s ability to hit for a high batting average on the farm. It is a big reason he was named by Baseball America on Monday as the Orioles’ No. 1 prospect. Baseball America’s John Manuel called him “a true No. 1 prospect. You have a guy

The allure of the baseball prospect

There is something intriguing about a baseball prospect. He provides hope of what he might become and how he can help the team. The highly-ranked prospect gets fans excited. They dare to dream that these players may become All-Stars or even something more like an elite talent that can lift up an entire franchise. There is always hope of a brighter future and that the

O’s coach Bobby Dickerson has his winter ball team in first place

During the stretch on the calender where he could be enjoying some well-deserved time away from baseball after a long season, Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson is still going to a ballpark every day. After turning down several chances over the years to manage winter ball, except for one season in Mexico, Dickerson decided to accept an offer this year. One week into the

Trading All-Star Orioles right now is not the best move

They are two of the better players on the Orioles. Maybe they are the two best. But would it make any sense to part with either in a trade - under certain circumstances? I speak of closer Zach Britton and third baseman Manny Machado. Both are under team control through 2018 and will be free agents after that season. So they have at least two

O’s closer Zach Britton named to Sporting News AL All-Star team

Orioles closer Zach Britton, who was a perfect 47-for-47 in save chances this year, has been named to the Sporting News American League All-Star team, his first selection to the team. Britton went 2-1 with an ERA of 0.54 in 69 games. Over 67 innings, he allowed 38 hits (just one homer) with 18 walks, 74 strikeouts and a .162 batting average against. Britton gave

Are the Orioles looking at an active winter?

In a preview of the Orioles offseason, MLBTradeRumors.com yesterday started a write-up on the club this way: “With some key position players hitting free agency and a still-unsettled rotation, the Orioles are looking at another busy offseason.” Is that really true? With six starters under contract for 2017 and a solid bullpen already on hand, this could be a quiet winter on the pitching front.

Talking Orioles prospects with Baseball America’s John Manuel

Not only is catcher Chance Sisco the Orioles’ new No. 1-ranked prospect according to Baseball America, but he is likely headed for the top 100 national prospects list, as well. Baseball America editor in chief John Manuel told me Monday that he now projects Sisco as a top 100 prospect, and that he personally would rank him in his top 30. The Baseball America top

Baseball America’s top 10 Orioles prospects: Chance Sisco is No. 1

After he was drafted in the first round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, right-hander Dylan Bundy became the Orioles’ No. 1 ranked prospect at the end of that season. And Bundy stayed as the club’s top-ranked prospect every year after, even as he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013. But with Bundy no longer eligible for prospects lists, there is a new Orioles No.

A look at two of the most improved players on the O’s farm

What a wild scene at Wrigley Field last night. And yes, 71 years is long enough. The Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1945. Now they look for their first world championship since 1908. Between 1908 and 1945, the Cubs lost the World Series seven times. The Cleveland Indians, the American League champs,

What’s next for Wieters?

He was the Orioles’ first-round draft pick (taken No. 5 overall) in the 2007 draft. He has played 882 games in an Orioles uniform. But catcher Matt Wieters’ time as an Oriole could be over now. The club has to decide whether it will make the pending free agent a qualifying offer and/or attempt to sign him to a new contract. Another option is to

The 2016 postseason could lead to changes in bullpen usage ... or not

The dominant bullpen arms have been dominant in this postseason for several teams. They are pitching more innings. Some feel a trend is beginning, one where closers will begin to pitch earlier in games and perhaps throw more innings. The Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen threw 51 pitches and 2 1/3 innings in Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Nationals. The Indians’ Andrew

Orioles’ 2017 rotation: Turning six into five

The Orioles have one starter too many. Or maybe they have two fewer than they really need. Or maybe it is something in between. In terms of players under contract for their 2017 rotation, they have six pitchers for five spots with Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo and Wade Miley. Of that group, only Gausman could pitch in the minors

Can the Orioles afford to keep Mark Trumbo?

The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo hit 47 home runs this year to lead all of Major League Baseball. He hit four more than any other player. But will his next homer come for another team? A free agent, Trumbo figures to garner some solid interest this winter and he could be in line for a sizable payday - one featuring a multi-year contract that the Orioles

Is Zach Britton’s sinker the best single pitch in the majors?

Is Zach Britton’s sinker the single best pitch thrown by any pitcher in the major leagues? You can make a strong case for that. After all, he was a dominant closer throwing mostly that one pitch and didn’t blow a save all year. Britton led the American League and tied for second in the majors in saves. His 0.54 ERA with four earned runs allowed

Despite shaky second half, Jonathan Schoop had a solid season

Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop turned 25 yesterday. The native of Willemstad, Curacao, is that rare international amateur signed by the club that made the majors. He is also entrenched as the Orioles’ starting second baseman for at least the next few seasons, it would seem. And maybe well beyond that. After a sprained right knee in April 2015 limited him to 86 games and

Offseason edition No. 1: “10 Questions for O’s Fans”

Back by popular demand, it’s “10 Questions for O’s Fans” - the first edition since the 2016 season came to an end. Answer one question, all 10 or any number in between. Answer in a few words or a lot of words. But just please take time to answer a few questions in our latest effort to gain the pulse of Birdland. Leave your answers

A look at how DJ Stewart moved up a level and turned around his year

It was late June of this season and an outfielder batting just .230 at Single-A Delmarva got promoted to Single-A Frederick. Orioles director of player development Brian Graham decided to make the move, which was the subject of some debate in the organization. Not everyone thought it would be a good idea, but it presented DJ Stewart, the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2015 out of

What should the Orioles do to be better in 2017?

From 2015 to 2016, the Orioles won eight more games, going from 81 to 89 wins. If they could now add six or eight more - maybe not even that many - they could end the 2017 season as American League East champions. While every team wants to win the World Series, securing the division title is the first goal. You avoid a one-game scenario

A look at O’s players headed to winter ball (plus other notes)

Every year, as the major league season winds down into late October (and maybe even into November), play in winter leagues around the world begins. As it relates to big league teams like the Orioles, many of the organization’s minor league players get in extra work to improve their game and help their careers. In some cases, players that have been playing since February travel

For starters: Young guns provide hope for improved rotation

For many years, fans questioned the Orioles’ ability to develop pitchers and wondered when or if the team would produce another ace. “Where is the next (Mike) Mussina,” was heard often. Is it possible now that the Orioles have not one, but two potential young aces in their rotation? The Orioles certainly have two young guns that are going to look good in joining Chris

Boston bows out (plus a look at the AFL Orioles)

As Orioles fans know all too well, playoff endings can be abrupt, painful, hard to take. In “Fever Pitch,” Uncle Carl told the 7-year-old Ben, “They’ll break your heart, kid.” He was talking about the Red Sox, but the thought applies to any fan base. Lest O’s fans think only Orioles bats come up short in October, the Red Sox just got swept by Cleveland

Will O’s fans continue to feel the love for Showalter?

It is kind of ironic in one sense that the last memory for many Orioles fans from the 2016 season will be that Zach Britton did not pitch in the wild card game in Toronto. Manager Buck Showalter is getting a heap of criticism for that when, for most of the season and for most of his tenure as Orioles manager, his use of bullpen

Notes on instructional league, playoff odds and free agents

A group of around 60 young Orioles minor league players will go their separate ways after Tuesday. That is the final day of the Orioles’ fall instructional league, which has been taking place since Sept. 19 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. Instructional league is usually comprised of players early in their minor league careers and the roster for this year included plenty of

Minor league notes on league top 20s, Chance Sisco and Tanner Scott

Baseball America has been rolling out its top 20 prospects list for each minor league over the last several days. They have not published the Triple-A league lists yet, but so far through the Double-A level, the Orioles have had just five players make the top 20s. Four of those were off the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds team when they ranked players from the New

This one is easy: Zach Britton should win AL Cy Young Award

At some point, and maybe it’s going to take a while, the talk concerning Orioles closer Zach Britton will shift from not pitching in the wild card game to whether he will win the American League Cy Young Award. Britton should certainly be on the short list and I think his resume is clearly strong enough to win it. If he does get the Cy

Can the Orioles offense feature more variety next year?

Here is a pretty fair and accurate statement, both simple and true: The Orioles offense was inconsistent during the 2016 season. As the team’s season came to an end Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, the Orioles produced just four hits in 37 at-bats (.108 average) and two runs. They didn’t score after the fourth inning and went 0-for-16 at-bat to end the game. No O’s

Trumbo on his future, Kim on outfield incident and more

TORONTO - He led the major leagues in home runs this year and hit another one last night. It was the only swing that produced any runs in the Orioles’ 11-inning 5-2 walk-off loss to the Blue Jays. Mark Trumbo hit a two-run shot off Marcus Storman in the fourth inning in his first career playoff game. The shot down the left field line gave

Clubhouse reaction as the Orioles’ season comes to an end

TORONTO - The Orioles’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion for players and fans alike tonight. Edwin Encarnacion’s first-pitch, three-run homer was a walk-off winner 5-2 for Toronto. A sellout crowd of 49.934 cheered on as Toronto now advances to meet Texas in the American League Division Series. After 89 wins, a tie for second in the AL East and their third playoff appearance in three

Encarnacion with walk-off homer as O’s season ends

TORONTO - What a tough way for a season to end. Edwin Encarnacion’s first-pitch three-run homer to left off Ubaldo Jimenez gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 5-2 walk-off win over the Orioles in the bottom of the 11th tonight. The Orioles’ season is over and Toronto advances to face Texas. Tied 2-2, Brian Duensing, the sixth Orioles pitcher, struck out Ezequiel Carrera. Then Jimenez,

O’s game blog: O’s and Blue Jays battle for a spot in the ALDS

We’re about 30 minutes from first pitch! @masnSteve is getting you ready with his #WildCard preview. #IBackTheBirds pic.twitter.com/xOcwJg7wxA -- Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) October 4, 2016 TORONTO - After they’ve played 19 times this year in the regular season, the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays play one more time and the stakes are higher. It’s the American League wild card game and the winner

A few comments from Toronto manager John Gibbons’ press conference

TORONTO - When the Orioles played the Blue Jays in Toronto last week, the Orioles took two of three and outscored the Blue Jays 8-7. But these teams have also played some shootouts over the years, too. In a four-game series in Toronto in June the Blue Jays outscored the Orioles 30-24. Who knows what kind of game we’ll see tonight when Chris Tillman (16-6,

Mancini is enjoying the ride (plus other notes)

TORONTO - When the Orioles made their initial callups in September, Triple-A Norfolk first baseman Trey Mancini was not among them. But he did get the call to Baltimore on Sept. 18 and then he hit a homer in each of first three major league starts. Now he finds himself on the roster for a major league playoff game. When I interviewed him in the

Adam Jones: Playoff appearance is organization-wide success

TORONTO - The Orioles came up short in their bid to win the American League East this season, but they are back in the playoffs for the third time in five years. They lead the American League with 443 wins since the 2012 season. For O’s center fielder Adam Jones, that is an organization-wide success that goes beyond just the players. “Through 162, we put

Chris Tillman on getting the wild card game start

TORONTO - Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman may not have strong career numbers against the Toronto Blue Jays or at Rogers Centre, but he has pitched well in Toronto twice this season and he was selected by manager Buck Showalter to get the start in the wild card game on Tuesday night. “Excited,” Tillman said about his matchup with Toronto right-hander Marcus Stroman. “I think everyone’s

Can winning 2012 wild card game help O’s now? (Trumbo on home run title)

TORONTO - It was four years ago tomorrow that the Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 5-1 at the Ballpark in Arlington to win the first-ever wild card game. Now the Orioles are back again and on the road again. This time against the Toronto Blue Jays at 8:08 p.m. on Tuesday night. O’s catcher Matt Wieters, who homered from both sides of the plate Sunday

O’s better play recently at Rogers Centre could be big in wild card game

The prospect of playing a winner-take-all wild card game at Rogers Centre at one time might have been a dicey one for both the Orioles and their fans. But while the Orioles had a losing record in that ballpark this year - going 4-6 - the Orioles just won a series last week in Toronto and they are 3-1 in their last four games there

They won and got it done: O’s beat New York to clinch wild card spot

The Orioles took care of their baseball business today in the Bronx. They could win and get in. They won. The Orioles’ 5-2 win over the New York Yankees this afternoon sends the Orioles to the playoffs for the third time in the last five seasons. They finished the regular season at 89-73 (.549) and will play in the American League wild card game. They

O’s game blog: Kevin Gausman on the mound for Game 162

With a win, they’re in. That is the scenario today for the Orioles (88-74) as the play the New York Yankees (84-77) in Game 162. A victory will put the Orioles into the American League wild card game. If they lose they’ll be in if Detroit loses at Atlanta. At the same time, the chance of a three-way tie for two wild card spots still

O’s loss opened door for Toronto and they walked through

Well, the Orioles’ loss on Saturday afternoon at New York opened the door for the Toronto Blue Jays and they charged through it last night at Fenway Park. After Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna balked in a run in the last of the eighth that tied that game 3-3, the Jays pushed one across in the ninth off Boston’s closer. Craig Kimbrel issued a leadoff Continue reading ....

One that got away: O’s lose lead, critical game at New York

They had an early three-run lead and looked to be moving closer toward clinching a wild card spot. But looks can be deceiving. The Orioles blew a lead and a game today and now we wait to find out just how damaging it all was. The Yankees rallied for a 7-3 win today and the Orioles can’t clinch a postseason berth tonight. This loss now

O’s game blog: Wade Miley is on the mound in the Bronx

Coming off a September where they went 16-11, producing the third-best record in the American League, the Orioles try to begin October with a win today at New York. If they do, they’ll take a major step toward clinching a wild card playoff spot, something they could do tonight if Toronto loses to Boston or Detroit loses to Atlanta. In fact, the Orioles’ path today

The O’s make their playoff push led by rejuvenated rotation

While it had to be a most welcome sight to Orioles fans to see their team’s offense breakout for eight runs in the win at New York last night, the starting pitcher delivered yet another solid performance. Orioles starters have been on a nice seven-game run, helping the team go 6-1 as the O’s continue to rebound from that four-game home sweep against Boston that

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