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An Orioles Q&A, pre-camp edition

We haven’t done this in months, 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. So dive in today

Orioles’ 2020 strength of schedule will be difficult

The new Major League Baseball schedule is not out yet and it may be a while before we see one. But for the Orioles, it is expected to include competition against only teams from the American League East and National League East. That will be a steady diet of good teams, 2019 playoff teams and 2020 contending teams. The Orioles are scheduled to play 40

An early mock draft, an opening night matchup and more

Is it too soon to talk about the 2021 First-Year Player Draft? Probably so, but not at Baseball America. A day after the recent draft, Baseball America was already projecting the top picks (subscription required) for the next one. Never too soon, I guess. In fact, Baseball America has already put out a mock draft for June of next year and they have the Orioles

Looking at some prospects that could make O’s player pool

This Sunday at 4 p.m. ET is the expected deadline for teams to submit their player pool of 60 names for the 2020 season. It is from this group of 60 that 30 players will be active on opening day. The active roster will be reduced to 28 after two weeks and to 26 after four weeks. It’s safe to assume that some teams will

New extra-inning rule seems destined to be met with criticism

The date was April 5, 2018 and it was opening day in the Double-A Eastern League. That night, the Orioles’ Bowie Baysox affiliate and the visiting Harrisburg Senators became the first two teams in the minor leagues to experience a new rule. Starting on the farm that year, when games progressed to extra innings, a runner would be placed at second base to start each

Taking a shot at some O’s questions for the 2020 season (with video)

So can the Orioles keep it real interesting in a 60-game season by playing much better than expected at the outset and moving into contention? It seems unlikely, but with a 30-game midpoint it would seem they could put together a run in that span that leaves them close to a playoff berth. Yep, some strange things can and likely will happen in a 60-game

A look at some of the 2020 rules as MLB returns

In about 30 days, there will be Major League Baseball. The season will consist of just 60 games, which is 37 percent of a normal season. But we will see the Orioles return. They’ll play against the American League East and also against teams from the National League East. Last night, MLB players and owners finalized their protocols for health and safety during a pandemic.

Closing in on a baseball season

It should surprise no one that Major League Baseball owners and players could not reach agreement on the number of games to play in the 2020 season. Last night, we found out the players’ vote on the owners’ latest 60-game proposal. They voted 33-5 against accepting that. Now we wait and expect to find out that commissioner Rob Manfred will implement a schedule. He was

A look at Orioles’ post-draft math

When the Orioles selected Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad No. 2 overall in the recent First-Year Player Draft, the assumption was they took him there to save some money to spent later in the draft. And while it could work out that way, the Orioles made it clear he was their top choice. Any savings would be an added bonus. We didn’t know it then, but

Still waiting on baseball

To play 60 games or 70 games. Decisions, decisions. Something this important should take days to resolve. Actually, this should have been resolved weeks ago. But on we go. Still not sure if there will be a baseball season, how many games it will consist of and how the schedule will look. While the sides haggle over this, there have been several players apparently on

Trying to remember what I love about baseball

My feelings on the sport of baseball are a bit conflicted right now. There is disappointment that we still don’t have an announcement about the start of the 2020 season. I still expect there to be a season, but the harsh words and mistrust between Major League Baseball owners and players are pretty strong right now. But, I’d like to take a moment away from

Taking a look at the undrafted free agents

There was one school of thought that amateur players that signed after the draft would get scooped up by the best teams. While a case could made for that based on what we’ve seen so far, it is the Kansas City Royals that have signed the most players off the pre-draft Baseball America top 500 list of ranked players. We should point out that some

MLB takes a step toward a 2020 season

Will we hear the cry to “Play ball!” in July? One day after I wrote in this space about how bad it looked and how we had a right to be disappointed in both the players and owners, it seems an actual deal may be getting closer. The players held firm to get 100 percent of prorated salaries and they will reportedly get that. But

A hope that baseball can quickly get it together

Here are a few - but certainly nearly not all - of the reasons that baseball has gotten to the point where there is a chance there will not be a 2020 season. * The Major League Baseball owners and players negotiated an agreement on March 26. But now they can’t even agree on what they negotiated or agree on the language in said agreement.

Curt Blefary’s grandson wants to follow grandad to the Orioles

The Orioles’ third-round draft pick, University of Mississippi shortstop Anthony Servideo, has ties to the organization. His grandfather on his mother’s side is Curt Blefary, the 1965 American League Rookie of the Year for the Orioles. But beyond the family connection, no doubt the organization took note of Servideo’s huge improvement at the bat from 2019 to 2020. It was a small sample size, but

A conversation with Ken Guthrie, Heston Kjerstad’s scout

When the Orioles made the final call on their No. 2 draft pick, selecting Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad on Wednesday night, it was a big moment for the player and his family. But it was also a big moment for the Orioles scouting staff. Area scouts can follow players for years and years, file numerous reports, get to the know the player very well, meet

O’s use draft to fortify shortstop position on farm

Last winter, the Orioles signed free agent shortstop José Iglesias to a one-year contract with a club option for 2021. At a position where you want to have a plus defender, he will be that for the Orioles when we see baseball again. He posted a career-high 1.4 Defensive Wins Above Replacement last season and leads all major league shortstops in fielding percentage since 2015.

Negotiation fatigue is real for the fans of baseball

At a time when turning on the news can be depressing in so many ways, baseball had the chance to be our hero in recent weeks. We turn to sports for enjoyment and entertainment. It is a great diversion from life’s issues for a few hours. Baseball had the chance. But so far, baseball has failed. The constant bickering between the players and owners, I

Notes and quotes on the draft and more with Brad Ciolek

The Orioles selected six players the last two nights in the First-Year Player Draft and the first five-round Major League Baseball draft ever is in the books. In a Zoom call with Baltimore reporters late last night, O’s supervisor of domestic scouting operation Brad Ciolek expanded on the club’s scouting and interest in top pick Heston Kjerstad, the University of Arkansas outfielder that went No.

Wrapping up the draft with the O’s Brad Ciolek

The Orioles completed their draft tonight, making four more selections and six total over five rounds and two days. They selected four college position players to start their draft, added a high school infielder in round four tonight and a prep pitcher in the fifth and last round. So, four of six taken were from the college ranks and five of six were position players.

Another look at the O’s picks of Kjerstad and Westburg

On night one of the First-Year Player Draft the Orioles got two Southeastern Conference players from Texas to add to their farm system. They selected an outfielder and an infielder. They added Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad (pronounced KERR-stad) with the No. 2 overall pick and they selected Mississippi State infielder Jordan Westburg at No. 30. Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias made

New Oriole Kjerstad confident in himself and his new club

New Oriole Heston Kjerstad, taken by the club with the No. 2 pick tonight in the First-Year Player Draft, showed some confidence when he talked to reporters during a Zoom interview. After Detroit took Spencer Torkelson as expected, the Orioles pulled a surprise with the selection of the lefty-hitting outfielder from the University of Arkansas. “I’m just excited to be a part of Birdland now

A look back and a prediction as draft day arrives

Draft day is here. The First-Year Player Draft begins tonight at 7 p.m. and the draft will be televised by both ESPN and MLB Network. The Orioles will have two picks this evening when they select No. 2 and No. 30 overall. Their first pick is the second pick of a first round that will last 29 picks. Their second pick is the first selection

Another look at O’s options for the No. 2 pick

When the First-Year Player Draft begins on Wednesday night, the Orioles will have some big decisions to make. They may well be choosing between one of three options with their No. 2 overall pick. * Take a real good hitter in Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson, if he doesn’t go 1/1 to the Detroit Tigers, or add Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin. He features some defensive

Keith Law on O’s pick and a take on Austin Martin (with video)

While pointing out that the Orioles could go underslot with their No. 2 draft pick to go over at No. 30 and/or No. 39, The Athletic’s Keith Law still has the club taking Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin with its first pick. The draft begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night with coverage on both ESPN and MLB Network. That night, the first round features picks No.

A look at O’s potential pursuit of undrafted players

Over the years, there have certainly not been many players signed after the First-Year Player Draft. Not when it was 40 rounds - or before that, 50 rounds. All the good talent was long since scooped up. But this year is very different. The draft is just five rounds. There will be 160 players drafted, or 13 percent of the 1,217 taken in 2019. Some

A closer look at the O’s draft preparations (with video)

Hired by the Orioles in 2013, Brad Ciolek is a young talent in the front office who has had to do some improvising the last couple of months. Ciolek is supervisor, domestic scouting operations for the Orioles, who have the No. 2 pick in the First-Year Player Draft this Wednesday night. They have three of the first 39 picks and six selections in the five-round

The case for drafting lefty pitcher Asa Lacy

Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is expected to be one of the top selections next week in the First-Year Player Draft. If the Orioles take him, turn that 21 into 1-2. He’ll be a first-round pick and the second player taken. Many mock drafts still project Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson going first to Detroit, leaving the Orioles to

A look at Baseball America’s surprise mock draft O’s selection

When Baseball America released its latest mock draft yesterday, it had a real surprise with the Orioles and the No. 2 pick. It was not Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin or Asa Lacy of Texas A&M. This mock had the Orioles taking high school outfielder Zac Veen from Orange, Fla. This would be part of a one-two approach in which the O’s could sign Veen, get a

Baseball America’s Ben Badler on O’s international effort (video)

If the Orioles are going to build that elite talent pipeline to get back to winning baseball, they are going to need international talent to be a big element of that effort. Under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and senior director of international scouting Koby Perez, the Orioles are trying to quickly bring their international program up to speed. The Tampa Bay

The latest with the baseball talks, plus international notes

So is the latest development in the talks between Major League Baseball players and owners going to lead toward an actual season? We’ll see about that and time continues to be short. The owners side yesterday proposed a 50-60 game season, which would be followed by a postseason with seven teams in each league making it. The seven-team scenario was in play before the pandemic.

Remembering the Orioles’ last playoff game

It produced an abrupt and loud ending. Bat connected with ball and the contact was very loud. Moments later, the crowd would be very loud, too. Edwin Encarnación hit one 440 feet to left center. It was a first-pitch, three-run homer off Ubaldo Jiménez and Toronto beat the Orioles 5-2 in 11 innings in the 2016 American League wild card game. When the night began,

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