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A new season with new management means a fresh start for Chris Davis

For Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, a miserable 2018 season got even worse at the end. Davis went 1-for-37 over his last 10 games with 20 strikeouts and then didn’t play in the season’s last 10 games. Why was never really explained. The player who seemed to get at-bats every night during his huge struggles was not seen much as the 2018 season wound down.

Should the O’s add free agent starting pitchers?

When the Orioles reach the point of their winter that they consider pursuing a free agent or two or three, should starting pitching be on the list? If you lock in Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner and Dylan Bundy to head up a rotation of five, maybe those final two spots should be left for young pitchers. There is a long list of potential candidates for

In 2019, two former O’s will reunite in Minnesota

The Minnesota Twins have added two former Orioles this month. And the addition of one could really help the other. When Nelson Cruz led the majors with 40 homers and helped the Orioles to the 2014 American League East title and a berth in the AL Championship Series, he was a huge positive force in that clubhouse. He was particularly huge for young infielders Jonathan

Will baseball legislate on defensive shifting in 2019?

At a time when there is some talk in Major League Baseball about limiting or even eliminating defensive shifting, the Orioles now have a general manager that came from the team that shifted the most in the sport last year. In 2018, the Houston Astros shifted their defense on 37.3 percent of plate appearances. Tampa Bay was second at 30.0, followed by Minnesota at 28.4

A good start for new regime: Improve organization-wide pitching

As the Orioles look to build a consistent winner at the big league level from pretty much the ground up, developing solid pitchers will be a key to that. Maybe the key to that. With Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal and minor league pitching coordinator Chris Holt all coming from Houston, you have to like the Orioles’ chances here. In the 2018 season, Houston’s four full-season

Checking the analytics flow from front office to clubhouse

As the Orioles look to hire and finalize their coaching staff soon, the ability of those coaches to embrace analytics and pass the data on to the players in a useful manner will be a key. It may be the key factor in which coaches Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hires for his first staff. During the recent Winter Meetings, I asked general manager Mike Elias

Castro has found a home in the Orioles bullpen

He might be overlooked sometimes in the Orioles bullpen. He can’t touch 100 mph like Tanner Scott. He doesn’t get save chances. He doesn’t have a career 1.97 ERA like lefty Richard Bleier. But right-hander Miguel Castro has an important multi-inning role, and last year he ranked fourth among all major league relievers, throwing 83 1/3 innings. In 19 of his 62 outings, he gave

After strong AFL season, Ryan McKenna takes momentum into 2019

Orioles outfield prospect Ryan McKenna believes his breakout 2018 season came about as a result of taking care of the little things. He put in the work in the cage, listened to his coaches, and worked on striking out less and using his speed more with grounders and fewer fly balls. He also dealt with some adversity and overcame it. After batting .377/.467/.556 in 67

Now the work begins for Elias-Hyde management team

For so many years, we were used to the Dan Duquette-Buck Showalter duo leading the Orioles. But now Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde are in place as executive vice president/general manager and manager. Hyde was introduced Monday at a Camden Yards press conference as the 20th manager in Orioles history. He has pictures of Earl Weaver and Cal Ripken Sr. in his office and he

Austin Hays looks to regain top form in 2019

After a frustrating year where he missed many games and ended it undergoing ankle surgery, Orioles outfield prospect Austin Hays is heading into 2019 with a positive outlook and a right ankle that is returning to full health. Hays had surgery Sept. 13 to repair cartilage damage that led to several other issues with that ankle during the season. But after a two- to three-month

Post Winter Meetings edition: “10 questions for O’s fans”

It’s that time again: time for me to ask you some questions and get your responses. Answer one question or all 10. Provide short answers or long. Respond to answers by other readers. It’s all welcome. It’s all good. So on to the questions. 1. Will the Orioles trade Alex Cobb and/or Andrew Cashner this winter? 2. Who will be the 2019 opening day starter?

Some of the best quotes and takes from Las Vegas

We covered a lot of topics and got the opinions and thoughts of a few national reporters and analysts over four days of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Today, we’ll take a look back at some of the most interesting and pertinent quotes of the week. ESPN’s Keith Law provided a take on new GM Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal: “I think this is

Up next for the Orioles: Hire the skipper as the rebuild moves on

LAS VEGAS - As expected, the Orioles were not very active in player acquisitions at the Winter Meetings, but the process of hiring a new manager moved near completion and the business of rebuilding the team is fully underway for new general manager Mike Elias. It was a chance for beat reporters to get a few opportunities to meet with the new GM and get

A few post-Rule 5 draft quotes on the new Orioles

LAS VEGAS - The Orioles are a bit short on middle infielders and they added two today via the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings. They selected Oakland shortstop Richie Martin with the No. 1 pick in the draft. After the draft, it was announced they had acquired infielder Drew Jackson, who been selected by Philadelphia from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Orioles sent

Can O’s use “secret sauce” to get more strikeouts from farm pitchers?

LAS VEGAS - If new O’s general manager Mike Elias can get Orioles minor league clubs to play as well as the minor league clubs of the Houston Astros system played in 2018, then fans of O’s affiliates might be quite pleased. And the Orioles may be developing some talented young pitchers. Houston’s Triple-A Fresno team finished in first place in 2018, going 82-57. The

Will the Houston model work in Baltimore? MLB Network’s Brian Kenny weighs in

LAS VEGAS - MLB Network host Brian Kenny was a fan of the Houston Astros front office at a time when they were losing 106 games in 2011, 107 in 2012 and 111 in 2013. He saw the data-driven approach they were taking with general manager Jeff Luhnow - and also with Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal. Luhnow was hired after that 2011 season and

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper weighs in on the No. 1 draft pick

LAS VEGAS - The last catcher drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft was Joe Mauer, taken by the Minnesota Twins in 2001. There could be another catcher taken 1/1 in June and the Orioles hold that pick. Earlier, it seemed that many analysts favored Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. for that No. 1 pick. Now the sentiment

Elias on his scouting background, Reynolds on Machado/Harper

LAS VEGAS - In sizing up the hire of new Orioles general manager Mike Elias, the point has been made that he brings a background of both scouting and analytics to the team. And while analytics will be huge moving forward for the Orioles, Elias knows about the old-fashioned eye test. He used to be the one doing the looking. He began what has been

Mike Elias on getting data and analytics to the players

LAS VEGAS - As the Orioles move heavily into the analytics age in baseball, they are going to be cognizant of how that information gets to their players in a manner that is helpful to them. Bombarding them with data that won’t lead to a better performance doesn’t accomplish much. New Orioles general manger Mike Elias knows how to get this job done. He was

MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds talks Mike Elias, Manny Machado and more

LAS VEGAS - It seems every year at the Winter Meetings we have a chance to talk with MLB Network analyst and commentator Harold Reynolds. This year was no different. I interviewed Reynolds today at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and touched on several different baseball topics. Reynolds on the possibility of MLB limiting defensive shifts: “It is going to be a very controversial

Will the O’s look toward the Astros in the Rule 5 draft?

LAS VEGAS - The Orioles have the No. 1 pick in the Rule 5 draft, which is the last event of the Winter Meetings. It takes place 9 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Baseball America executive editor J.J. Cooper is as knowledgeable of that draft as anyone and has written on it and studied it for years. Here

MLBPipeline.com’s Jonathan Mayo on Mike Elias and some O’s prospects

LAS VEGAS - It’s probably no surprise that while Orioles fans seem excited with their new general manager Mike Elias, and national reporters echo some of their feelings. Two I talked with yesterday, ESPN’s Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com, spoke highly of what Elias can do for the Orioles. “I think it’s a great hire,” said Mayo. “Obviously, you see the success the

Mike Elias on building the talent pipeline, Keith Law on analytics

LAS VEGAS - Hiring the next manager for the Orioles is an important priority in the short term for new executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias. He will pick one of six candidates he’s interviewed for the job. Though Elias wouldn’t confirm any of the reported names, the six candidates are known to be Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, Cubs bench coach Brandon

ESPN’s Keith Law on the O’s hire of Mike Elias and more

LAS VEGAS - Just as we can’t expect their won-loss record to quickly improve as they rebuild, the Orioles’ battle against other teams off the field in the front office could be lengthy as well. We’re talking about how the club catches up to other teams in analytics and in making data-driven decisions. On Nov. 21, new Orioles general manager Mike Elias hired Sig Mejdal

Talking about the No. 1 draft pick at the Winter Meetings

LAS VEGAS - It will obviously be a huge moment for new Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias. But we are going to have to wait a few months for it. In June, the Orioles have the No. 1 pick in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft. For just the second time in team history, they select 1/1, the first

O’s Ryan McKenna named to AFL Top Prospects Team

LAS VEGAS - A nice honor today for Orioles outfield prospect Ryan McKenna. He was named to the 2018 Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team. The team is selected by AFL managers and coaches to recognize players that excelled during the six-week season. In 17 games with Glendale, the 21-year-old McKenna hit .344/.474/.590. He scored 16 runs and produced six doubles, three triples, a homer

Quick preview of the the Winter Meetings

LAS VEGAS - For years now, the Orioles have not been among the teams making major news at baseball’s annual Winter Meetings. That didn’t appear likely to change much this year as media and front office executives arrived at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for the meetings, which officially begin today. It seems like it has been years since the Orioles were involved in

Taking stock of the O’s current catching situation

The Orioles have three catchers on their current 40-man roster after Caleb Joseph was recently non-tendered. They are Austin Wynns, Chance Sisco and Andrew Susac. What will the Orioles do at the catching position in 2019? Are they going to add a veteran catcher and/or does Joseph still have a shot to come back? Will Sisco have to go back to the farm next April

Shifty business: Is MLB really going to limit or eliminate shifts?

What if a baseball game were played, but players in the field were not allowed to roam anywhere they want? What if defensive shifts were limited or eliminated completely? Would officials in Major League Baseball really take such action? This week, Jayson Stark of The Athletic wrote an excellent article examining this topic. “At last month’s owners meetings, baseball’s competition committee gave the commissioner ‘strong’

O’s prospect Ryan McKenna on his strong play in the AFL

When Orioles outfield prospect Ryan McKenna went to the Arizona Fall League in October, he had a chance to add to his batting average again. And he did that, batting well over .300 for Glendale as he faced some of the sport’s top pitching prospects. It was a return to success for McKenna, who began this year by tearing it up in the Carolina League.

A look at several potential Orioles managerial candidates

We don’t know yet who the next Orioles manager will be, but he might be among five names we will mention here today. The first four are expected to interview with the club, or maybe have already. The fifth name has ties to O’s general manager Mike Elias. Both worked for the Houston Astros last season. Will the next O’s skipper be among this group?

For Miguel Castro, giving back begins at home

Even listening through the telephone and using the assistance of a translator, you could tell it meant a lot to Miguel Castro. He recently recently took part in an event to help kids and it was most meaningful for the Orioles reliever. In his hometown of La Romana, Dominican Republic, Castro was one of three major league pitchers taking part in a program to provide

Notes on DL Hall and an outfielder that is not a fit for O’s

Orioles pitching prospect DL Hall, 20, continues to play to strong reviews for his very solid 2018 season. While his record was just 2-7, his ERA was 2.10 ERA in 22 games for Single-A Delmarva. Hall allowed no more than one earned run in each of his last 13 starts after June 10, pitching to an 0.89 ERA. After the season, Hall was ranked as

With ankle injury healing, expect Austin Hays back on the radar in 2019

There are likely not many players that have had two such very different first two full seasons in pro baseball than Orioles outfield prospect Austin Hays. In 2017, he was ranked among the best minor leaguers in the sport. But in 2018, a slow start at the plate and later an ankle injury left him with 20 fewer homers and an OPS nearly 300 points

MLB Network talks about Mike Elias and Elias talks on ESPN

The search for a new manager is a top priority for new Orioles general manager Mike Elias. A top priority, but far from the only one. Building that elite talent pipeline has to be pretty high on the list. Elias was a big part of doing that in St. Louis and Houston, and if he can do it here it will produce a strong talent

Do the Orioles go catcher with the No. 1 pick?

As new Orioles general manager Mike Elias said this week, he is looking to take the best player and not work to fill a need on his major league roster with top draft picks. You can’t have a higher pick than No. 1 in round one, which the Orioles hold for the June 2019 First-Year Player Draft. That could be a pick, however, that sees

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