Today, I’m revisiting some recent articles that appeared in this space. We’re taking another look at two players.
I enjoyed my recent interview with 27-year-old Chris Shaw for this article. He’s probably facing an uphill battle to make the Orioles’ opening day roster. Several players, now including him, will compete this spring for outfield corner spots, along with first base and DH.
But Shaw had quite a season on the farm in 2019. Between Double-A and Triple-A for the San Francisco Giants, Shaw filled up the stat sheet over 120 games. He hit .294/.360/.559 with 27 doubles, three triples, 28 homers, 94 RBIs and a .919 OPS. For his career on the farm in 524 games, he’s batted .279/.340/.520 with 109 homers and an .861 OPS.
He told me he already is friends with several players in the O’s organization.
“I actually know a good amount of guys that are or have been on the roster,” Shaw said. “I actually lived with Ryan Mountcastle and Stevie Wilkerson in the (Arizona) Fall League in 2017. Played against DJ Stewart in the ACC and Richie Martin was on the Cape when I was playing there.
“It was awesome (in the AFL). I think Mounty was just turning 20 at the time and I was 22, and everyone else in the house - we had like seven guys there - we were all 22, 23. Mounty could not come out and partake in everything we partook in that fall league during that time. But it was fun experience living with those guys, so I’m excited to see them.”
After getting 72 at-bats over two years with the Giants in the major leagues, Shaw told me was very excited about his fresh start with the Orioles.
Will Kim pursuit heat up soon?: The Toronto Blue Jays may be pursuing free agent shortstop Ha-Seong Kim. They have been in touch, according to a report from MLB Network. That is not telling us much, as due diligence would mean getting in touch, but the Blue Jays could turn out to be a fit for a player that some O’s fans wish their club would get involved with.
But Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has indicated the club is unlikely to extend a multi-year deal for a free agent right now. He didn’t completely rule it out, but it would be a surprise.
Kim has played in the Korea Baseball Organization from 2014-2020. MLBTradeRumors.com currently ranks him as the No. 7 free agent available.
Kim, who made his KBO debut at 18, just turned 25 and his age is a lot of the allure here. You would have this player heading into some prime seasons. The question mark is how the KBO stats will project into Major League Baseball. But his stats are strong. In 2020 for the Kiwoom Heroes, he batted .306/.397/.523 in 138 games with 24 doubles, a triple, 30 homers, 21 steals and an OPS of .921, which was a career best. Some scouts don’t believe he can handle shortstop in the majors and might have to play somewhere else.
He just recently was officially posted. And in addition to dispensing the contract itself, the team that signs Kim will also have to pay a transfer fee to the Kiwoom club. The Heroes’ transfer fee will be 20 percent of the contract’s first $25 million in value, 17.5 percent of the next $25 million and 15 percent of anything beyond the $50 million threshold.
I recently wrote about Kim here after an online sportsbook listed the O’s as seventh among the betting favorites to get him. That is far from the projected betting leader, but I guess they are saying there is a chance.
With one projection that Kim could get a five-year deal for $40 million, that amounts to $7.625 million additional. Yes, the O’s are in need of a shortstop now that they have traded José Iglesias, but it sure seems unlikely they would dive into the deep end of the pool for this player. Plenty to like about Kim, but he’s not coming to Baltimore right now.
A few final tidbits: The Orioles public relations staff, not long after the season ended, provided O’s reporters with a comprehensive wrap-up on the season, which included a batch of notes and stats on each player. Here are a few random tidbits from that.
* On Aug. 11 at Philadelphia, outfielder Austin Hays hit the 23rd inside-the-park home run in Orioles history, leading off the 10th inning. It was the first O’s inside-the-park home run since Robert Andino did it on Sept. 26, 2011 versus Boston.
* Third baseman Rio Ruiz led the Orioles with 54 hard-hit (95+ mph) balls, according to Statcast.
* Outfielder Anthony Santander’s eight DRS (defensive runs saved) were the second-most among American League right fielders, according to Sports Info Solutions.
* Bullpen lefty Tanner Scott’s opponents hit .065 (2-for-31) with runners in scoring position, the fourth-lowest opponent batting average in the majors (minimum 20 RISP at-bats).
* O’s righty Dean Kremer did not allow a hit to a left-handed batter (0-for-13) in his first two outings, and through his first three starts, lefties batted just .111 (3-for-27) against him with eight strikeouts.