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One Houston fan’s reaction to the Astros’ cheating scandal

By now, many fans have probably heard about what another fan did. That fan is 54-year-old Tony Adams and he is a Houston Astros fan. In an effort to get more information about the sign-stealing scandal, he went through 58 of the Astros’ 2017 home games and cataloged the sound of a trash can being hit. Banging on a trash can was one way Houston

Another look at left-hander Wade LeBlanc

When the Orioles agreed to a minor league deal Tuesday with lefty Wade LeBlanc, they added a veteran with good command and an ERA that from 2016-2018 was just a bit better than league average. The Orioles assume little risk here with a minors deal and one that will reportedly pay LeBlanc $800,000 in the majors. The Athletic reported he has an opt-out clause for

An interesting name on the non-roster invite list, plus other notes

When the Orioles released their list of 23 non-roster spring training invitees yesterday it included a name from their farm system that has flown under the radar. He was doing it to an extent even yesterday when bigger names and higher-ranked prospects were listed. But there with Adley Rutschman, Zac Lowther, Yusniel Diaz, Alex Wells and the rest was the name of pitcher Cristian Alvarado.

Could search for rotation help lead O’s back to Andrew Cashner?

Could the Orioles’ pursuit of rotation help lead them back to signing right-hander Andrew Cashner as a free agent for the second time? Before the 2018 season, they signed him to a two-year deal worth $16 million with an option for 2020. The Boston Red Sox acquired him from the Orioles in a trade in July and did not pick up that option. Cashner is

More opposite-field homers could make Chris Davis more productive

During a 17-minute interview Thursday night on 105.7 The Fan’s “Orioles Hot Stove Show,” Chris Davis talked about ways he is trying to get his bat productive again. During that interview, Davis told us he has not overhauled his swing, but has gotten bigger and stronger over the winter in an attempt to improve his game and drive the ball better. In 2019, over 352

Orioles get four on the MLBPipeline.com top 100 list

Another major outlet released its national top 100 prospects list on Saturday afternoon. During a live telecast on MLB Network, MLBPipeline.com unveiled its new top 100, and the Orioles have placed four young players on the list. Catcher Adley Rutschman, taken with the No. 1 overall draft pick last June, ranks No. 4 on this list. The only players ranked higher were Tampa Bay shortstop

Out of the top 100, but not out of the O’s future

With some excitement in the Orioles organization for young talents like catcher Adley Rutschman and pitchers Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall, who have made the Baseball America top 47, and with Ryan Mountcastle closing in on the majors, what’s going on with outfielder Yusniel Diaz? He is far from forgotten, although he did drop out of the Baseball America list of national top 100 prospects

Chris Davis adds bulk, but no swing overhaul heading into season

With high strikeout numbers but declining home run numbers, the Orioles’ Chris Davis has recorded an OPS of just .539 in 2018 and .601 last year. In 2019, over 352 plate appearances (his fewest since 2011), Davis hit .179/.276/.326 with nine doubles, 12 homers, 36 RBIs and 139 strikeouts. By September he was a part-time player, and he made just nine starts in that month.

Orioles add Taylor Davis and Brady Rodgers on minor league deals

With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training in a few weeks, the Orioles today added some pitching and catching depth with a pair of minor league signings. They added right-handed pitcher Brady Rodgers, 29, and right-handed hitting catcher Taylor Davis, 30. Both could get spring training invites, although the club has not announced that group of players yet. The Houston Astros drafted

Why did Ryan Mountcastle miss the Baseball America top 100?

When Baseball America released its latest top 100 prospects list on Wednesday, the Orioles had three players who made it and one that just missed. Catcher Adley Rutschman was No. 5, right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez No. 35 and left-hander DL Hall No. 47. Those are the club’s last three top draft picks, with Hall taken 21st overall in 2017, Rodriguez 11th in 2018 and Rutschman

A suspension’s unintended consequence, Hall of Fame vote and more

The remaining 63-game suspension of New York Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán will hurt the Yankees in the 2020 season, but could help them down the road. Earlier this month Germán was suspended under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. The suspension is stemming from an incident in September involving Germán and his girlfriend. No criminal charges were filed against Germán, who has agreed not to

Triple-A rotation should be one to watch in 2020

The Double-A Bowie Baysox had a pitching rotation that was fun to watch last year on the O’s farm. On its way to the Eastern League championship series for just the second time, Bowie put up some very strong pitching numbers. The Baysox’s team ERA of 3.18 led the league and set a record. So did the club’s WHIP of 1.18, which was so strong,

A look at how the Orioles bullpen might improve in 2020

It is an easy area to mark for improvement in the 2020 season: the Orioles bullpen. The ‘pen pitchers posted a 5.63 ERA to rank 15th in the American League last year. The year before that, their ERA ranked 14th, but it was much better at 4.78. The bullpen WHIP was almost equal going from 1.50 in 2018 to 1.51 in 2019. The OPS against

Season-is-close edition: “10 questions for O’s fans”

I don’t know if it’s back by popular demand - I hope so - but it is back. Today we present the latest edition of “10 questions for O’s fans.” So answer one or all 10, provide short answers or long, respond to other readers’ answers. It’s all good. This is the season-is-close edition to be followed in a few weeks by the early spring

In cheating scandal, there were no penalties for players

It has been quite a week in Major League Baseball. The cheating scandal took down one general manager and three managers. Franchises are tarnished. Houston got hit hard and Boston could be next. But the players involved were not fined or suspended, and none got fired. I’m OK with that. It would be hard to know exactly which players took part and how often. Cheating

Some prospect recognition for the Orioles

The Orioles got some nice prospect recognition this week when three of their young players were noted as among the best in the game by MLBPipeline.com. Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez was rated as the No. 10 right-handed pitching prospect in the sport. A nice honor, since the prospects lists always seem to be loaded with right-handers. Pitcher DL Hall was listed No. 10 among left-handers and

Taking the incomplete rotation for a spin

A total of 18 different pitchers made starts for the Orioles on the mound in 2019. We know they’ll need five to start next season and the number over 162 games will go well north of that, probably. Let’s take stock of the rotation as of today. The 2019 O’s produced a rotation ERA of 5.57 to rank 14th in the American League. The Los

Time for another Orioles Q&A

We haven’t done this since before Thanksgiving, so it’s probably past time for another Orioles question-and-answer session here on the blog. Time for readers to throw out O’s questions and/or comments - anything on the majors or minors, draft, whatever - and we’ll take shots at providing some answers and responses. As always, readers responding to other readers provide interesting, well, reading. We can discuss

Houston hit hard and an early 2020 mock draft

The Houston Astros, as speculated by many, did in fact get hammered for their part in sign-stealing via technology. Major League Baseball suspended their general manager, Jeff Luhnow, and manager AJ Hinch for the 2020 season. Then Astros owner Jim Crane went further than that. He fired both Luhnow and Hinch. Houston also lost first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021. They

Taking stock of the club’s position players heading into camp

With the Orioles report date for spring training fast approaching, today we take a look at the club’s position players heading into camp. Certainly, this could change pending any further roster moves. O’s pitchers and catchers are due to report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 11 and the first full-squad workout is Feb. 17. The spring training opener is Feb. 22

What will mark progress for the Orioles in 2020?

Today just a few words from me because this blog is more about what the readers and all O’s fans have to say. It’s about tracking progress. What would have to happen during the 2020 season for fans to see progress? Is it mostly about winning more games? Or more young players from the farm system making their way onto the roster? Is it about

Anyone know how to predict a win-loss record with any degree of success?

It’s risky business - and I’m not talking about a Tom Cruise movie. Lana won’t be knocking at the door. No, we’re talking about trying to predict a big league team’s win-loss record. But’s it’s OK, even fun to predict and take a shot. If we’re wrong, so what? Who will even remember? Sure, that is all true. I read preseason predictions, but seldom make

Will it be starter, utility role or the farm for Richie Martin?

When the Orioles signed José Iglesias to be their starting shortstop, it was easy to make the assumption that now the club would send Richie Martin to Triple-A to start the 2020 season. For one, Martin has never played at that level - jumping from Double-A to the majors last year as a Rule 5 pick. He could use the everyday batting reps. Even though

In this review of MLB drafts, the Orioles scored well

Baseball America published a very interesting article recently as the publication ranked each major league organization by its draft success in the decade starting in 2010 and running through the 2019 draft. They ranked the teams in terms of total Wins Above Replacement those drafts produced. They counted WAR no matter for which team it was accumulated. So the Orioles scored for Manny Machado, but

Trying to get a handle on cheating via technology in MLB

The hammer may be about to drop on the Houston Astros for their real-time sign stealing and cheating in baseball. But even before that hammer falls comes news that the Boston Red Sox are involved. Again. Wasn’t the Apple Watch episode enough? And it can’t be a good look for the sport when the World Series champs of 2017 (Houston) and 2018 (Boston) are tainted.

A few notes and takes on the addition of José Iglesias

The Orioles filled one box on their to-do list yesterday when they agreed on a contract with free agent shortstop José Iglesias. The former Red Sox, Tiger and Red got a one-year deal for $3 million with a club option for 2021 at $3 million, although the deal has not yet been officially announced by the team. The deal provides the club a plus defender

Building outfield depth for the Orioles

It’s been coming for a few years. The Orioles are building some nice outfield depth. Will there be room for everyone? Will this position provide a surplus eventually they may trade from? Let’s look at the eight players listed as outfielders on the 40-man roster. Trey Mancini: The Orioles are thrilled he’s under team control for three more years. At some point, maybe after 2020,

It is interesting down the road

The Orioles’ neighbors to the south are one interesting baseball team right now. They lost Bryce Harper to a division rival, failed to win their division, yet won the World Series. They overcame a poor bullpen by using their starters in relief at times in October. They got clutch offense late throughout the month and won it all. This after a terrible start to the

Another look at the importance of winning on the farm

In the minor leagues, winning is not everything. In fact, it may rank a few steps down the line. You can develop players while your team wins, but it’s not a prerequisite. You can certainly develop players on teams that don’t win. It happens often. It’s pretty clear that the primary goal on the O’s farm again in 2020 is for individual players to get

Pitch mix and improving slider could serve John Means well in 2020

It is a fair and reasonable question to ask about Orioles left-hander John Means: After he had such a strong 2019 season, will he regress next season? What will it take to keep him performing at such a high level? Means went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.135 WHIP and finished second in voting for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. He

Another reason to watch in 2020: Hunter Harvey

If there were an award for top Orioles relief outing of the 2019 season, the work by Hunter Harvey from Aug. 27 at Nationals Park would be a prime contender. When we discussed reasons to watch the 2020 Orioles in yesterday’s entry, we sure could have included Harvey. After his impressive pitching in a small sample in 2019, who doesn’t want to see more from

What will keep fans invested in 2020?

Welcome to a new year filled with a new season and new hopes for the Orioles. Those hopes are tempered a bit during rebuilding and no one is likely dreaming too big in light of 223 losses over the past two years. During the offseason, some fans I’ve met tell me they feel for me having to cover a team that losses so much. I

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