Entries Listing

A few World Series notes and takes as the season comes to an end

The 2019 Major League Baseball season is over. The Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 7 last night to take the Series, four wins to three. The visiting team won every game of the Series. On their way to their first championship, the Nationals beat a 106-win Dodgers team and a 107-win Houston club. They played in five elimination games in the

This reunion seems unlikely for the Orioles

Reunions can be nice. In sports we see them often. Would the Orioles be interested in one with a player that once made the All-Star team and finished 12th in the American League MVP voting? The player is second baseman Jonathan Schoop, originally signed by the team out of Curacao in August 2008. He played in 635 games over six seasons as an Oriole and

Q&A with Matt Blood, O’s new director of player development

As the Orioles look to build what executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has called an “elite talent pipeline,” the minor leagues and player development obviously will be critical. On Sept. 16, the Orioles and Elias hired Matt Blood, 34, as their new director of player development. Last November, the Texas Rangers hired him as the club’s director of player development. He moved

Another look at Dylan Bundy’s 2019 season

For two straight years, right-hander Dylan Bundy has led all Orioles pitchers in starts, innings and strikeouts. He’s been dependable. He takes the ball and gives you all he’s got. But Bundy is also 15-30 with an ERA of 5.13 and homer rate of 1.9 per every nine innings over those two seasons. We’ve certainly seen flashes of Bundy pitching well but there have also

O’s played at a 99-win pace with quality starts this year

It is a statistic that has some importance. How much is debated and some discount it. It is the quality start statistic. A starting pitcher records one when he allows three earned runs or less in six innings or more. One reason some don’t see its importance is that three earned runs allowed in six innings results in an ERA of 4.50. That is not

A look at pitchers that could be part of next wave of rebuild

As the Orioles look to put together a starting rotation for 2020, one question will be how soon will some of their homegrown prospects get their chance at the starting five. When will some of the up and coming pitching prospects - homegrown or not - get their shot? Based on how executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and his staff ran the minors and

The Orioles will feature five coaches at each affiliate in 2020

The Orioles affiliates from the Rookie-level team through the Triple-A International League squad will each have five coaches, counting the manager, during the 2020 season. Each club last year had a manager, pitching coach, hitting coach and one field/development coach. New Orioles director of player development Matt Blood, hired by the organization Sept. 16, said that will change next season. As previously reported on MASNsports.com

The path to the World Series might be with top 100 prospects

This comes up a lot here when we talk about prospect rankings. Some fans say that “the rankings don’t mean much.” I can’t agree with that. Although we can certainly find misses. But without a specific study or stat to prove my point, I took note of an article yesterday by Jim Callis on MLBPipeline.com. In this story, he pointed out that 24 of the

Baseball stars lack in popularity compared to NBA, NFL stars

Why are stars of Major League Baseball not quite as popular as those of other sports? This was an interesting question discussed in a New York Times story published yesterday with the headline “How Popular is Baseball, Really?” While this article (subscription may be required) points out that baseball blows away the National Football League and National Basketball Association in ticket sales, of course baseball

Looking at the pitch mix for the World Series teams and the O’s

The World Series teams both have plenty of quality starting pitchers who can throw big-velocity fastballs. They just don’t throw them as much as many other teams. For instance, the Houston Astros this year threw the lowest percentage of fastballs of all 30 major league teams at 45.6 percent. This despite the fact that Houston’s average velocity of 94.2 mph ranked second in the big

Looking at 2019 notes on Castro, Villar, Mancini and more

The Orioles public relations staff sent out a package of extensive season-ending notes on the club and its players recently. Let’s take a look at a few of those notes today. Miguel Castro: His 73 1/3 innings as a reliever ranked as the 10th-most in the American League. He posted a 0.89 ERA when pitching on three or more days of rest. Castro is durable

The path to .300: strikeouts down, base hits up

Can a player with a career batting average of .192 coming into the 2019 season hit over .300? Can he do that if he was waived four times between the 2018 and 2019 seasons? If that player is Hanser Alberto, he can. Alberto stunned a lot of people this year when he became the first Oriole to hit .300 or better since 2008. His making

Are big changes on the horizon throughout minor league baseball?

The look of affiliated Minor League Baseball could be in for major changes beginning in 2021. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reported Friday that 42 teams could be eliminated, reducing the number of minor league clubs to 120 starting in 2021. This is a proposal from Major League Baseball in current negotiations with Minor League Baseball (MiLB) as part of a remodeled agreement from the one

Richie Martin made big improvement in second half; what does that mean for 2020?

There was just one position this year where the Orioles used only two players for the entire 2019 season, and that position was shortstop. Rule 5 pick Richie Martin made 90 starts at short and Jonathan Villar made 72. For Martin, that was the third-most shortstop starts by a rookie in Orioles history behind Cal Ripken Jr. with 91 in 1982 and Ron Hansen with

Cedric Mullins’ season included slow start, fast finish

Things can change fast in a year in baseball. Outfielder Cedric Mullins won the Brooks Robinson Award as the Orioles’ 2018 Minor League Player of the Year. Adam Jones moved over to right field that August so that Mullins could take over in center for the parent club. But in 2019 Mullins lasted just 22 games as the O’s starter in center, was sent down

Which of these players has the most potential?

Today let’s take a look at five young Orioles position players. Then give us your take on how much promise and potential they hold for future Orioles teams. Rate these five - listed here alphabetically - on future potential and upside: Hanser Alberto, Austin Hays, Rio Ruiz, Anthony Santander, Dwight Smith Jr. Alberto hit .305 in 139 games and finished eighth in the American League

A statistical look at O’s pitching in 2019

Captain Obvious checked in to remind me that the Orioles will need to pitch better in 2020. He said that O’s fans have seen 223 losses and a lot of poor pitching over the last two years. The Orioles were last in the American League in ERA, bullpen ERA, homers allowed, first-strike percentage, homers-per-fly-ball ratio and rotation OPS in 2019, to point out a few

After inconsistent 2019, is Mychal Givens’ future role in doubt?

He still has the mid-90s fastball that can touch higher. He can still feature an at times devastating slider and solid changeup. He was still tough on right-handed batters this season and had a very strong stretch of games late in the year. But the season didn’t end well for O’s reliever Mychal Givens. And in 2019, he posted career worsts in ERA, homers, homer

Early offseason edition: “10 questions for O’s fans”

Welcome in to the first offseason edition of 10 questions. There will be others as we progress into fall and winter. As always, answer all 10 questions, just a few or even just one. Provide short answers or long. Respond to other readers’ answers. It’s all good and always interesting to check the responses. So here we go. 1) What will the Orioles’ record be

His prospect status took a hit, but a door is still ajar for Yusniel Diaz

It was a year when Orioles minor league outfielder Yusniel Diaz dealt with some injuries and saw his prospect rankings take a hit. But he ended the year hitting well and there is optimism that the key player acquired in the July 2018 Manny Machado deal could still become a key future player for the Orioles. The 23-year-old Cuban-born Diaz was signed by the Los

After tough outing, Kershaw shines in postgame interview

The Los Angeles Dodgers are becoming a bit of a tortured franchise. They have won seven straight division titles - something incredibly impressive - but they are already out of the 2019 playoffs. They lost Game 5 of the National League Division Series at home to Washington. Since the Dodgers started this run, four different teams have won the American League East title. But just

The Orioles may be forced to part with Jonathan Villar

It is going to come down to this: Can a team still in the early stages of a rebuild in 2020 afford a $10 million middle infielder? MLBTradeRumors.com yesterday came out with its arbitration projections for this winter, and predicted that the Orioles would have to give Jonathan Villar a salary of $10.4 million for next year, more than doubling his $4.825 million paycheck from

Three needs for the Orioles, and maybe one more job for Showalter

Former Orioles skipper Buck Showalter’s name is coming up for some of the various managerial openings around Major League Baseball. He’s been somewhat connected to the openings in San Diego and with the New York Mets. He could be a candidate if there is an opening soon in Philadelphia. Showalter certainly did great things in Baltimore. Ironically, he left the Orioles with an overall losing

Has MLB reached the point of too many homers?

Rather than bore myself with hard-to-follow stories about seams on baseballs, or how they are made or how much or little drag was on the ball in 2019, I just looked at a few numbers, and they led me to a conclusion. Major League Baseball officials need to use a baseball in 2020 that leaves the bat and moves more like a baseball than a

In September, Austin Hays showed his tools and smarts

His skills were on display on offense and defense often in September, but for center fielder Austin Hays maybe they were never more evident then on the night of Monday, Sept. 23 at Toronto. In a game the Orioles would eventually lose 11-10 in 15 innings, Hays made several strong plays on defense and hit two homers as the team dug out of an early

Remembering two seasons spent working with Andy Etchebarren

Sometime late in 2003, a mean man decided I should no longer work as sports director at WBAL Radio and that I should exit stage right. So I did, not knowing what might come next. For a few years, it was broadcasting play-by-play on the radio for both the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds and the Florida State Seminoles. I treasure the memories of working for

A look at season-ending rankings for the O’s offense

In an entry earlier this week I pointed out that the 2019 Orioles featured a league-average offense in the second half of the season. They hit better as the year went on. Today let’s look at Major League Baseball and American League rankings in some stat categories for the entire year. In 2019 the Orioles produced these numbers: * 4.50 runs per game (22nd in

Where the O’s were ranked in minor league top 20 lists

Baseball America has been rolling out its league top 20 prospects lists for each minor league level, and they have completed the four full-season leagues where the Orioles have affiliates. In the Triple-A International League, first baseman/left fielder Ryan Mountcastle of the Norfolk Tides was rated as the No. 7 prospect with pitcher Keegan Akin No. 20. In the Double-A Eastern League, Bowie outfielder Yusniel

Where are the fans with the O’s rebuild, and do they have hope?

The impression I get after a season of a lot of interaction with fans via this blog, Twitter and a radio show is this, in a nutshell: A large majority of Orioles fans are very understanding of the club’s rebuilding situation. They have taken a mostly supportive wait-and-see approach, and they are optimistic for the future. They got frustrated with some aspects of the 2019

Does manager Brandon Hyde get good grades for 2019?

A major league manager can make an impact and change games with sound strategic moves. But perhaps their biggest impact is as a tone-setter and the daily public voice and face for their teams. In that regard, I believe that Brandon Hyde had a very solid first season with the Orioles. He and his staff seemed to quickly gain players’ trust and confidence in spring

Looks like he made it: John Means earned his rotation spot

When spring training began for the 2019 Orioles, left-hander John Means appeared to be a pitcher who would get a brief look before heading to minor league camp to prepare for a Triple-A season. That never happened. He showed a velocity increase along with an outstanding changeup. He made the opening day roster. By April 9 he was in the rotation. In July he was

« September 2019 | Main Index | Archives | November 2019 »