Notes on Mansolino, shifts and potential shortstops

Today we’re taking a look back at some recent articles you read here on MASNsports.com to check on some important topics and get more of your thoughts on them.

The new coach: The Orioles made their eight-man coaching staff official this week. Their latest hire is Tony Masolino, 38, who comes to the club from the Cleveland Indians. I had wondered if the O’s would consider hiring from within for this position, but Mansolino joins the club from the Indians.

Masolino-coaching-third-Indians-Sidebar.jpgHe will coach third base and work as an infield instructor. He becomes the youngest coach on this staff by eight years. He has a player development background as both a minor league manager and coach. He hopes, he said in this entry, that his youth will serve him well.

“I think I probably ran into that managing at Triple-A,” he said. “I think I was the oldest guy. Well, we had some coaches older than me, but I think the oldest player when I ran the Columbus club was probably just a few months younger than me. I think it allows me to relate to these guys in some ways. I’m at a similar spot in life as a lot of these guys are, in terms of families and kids and things like that.

“And then also I’ve grown up in this generation of the game. So as people talk about this generation of the game, it’s something that I played in and a part of the game I’ve been raised in myself. In terms of understanding these guys, and kind of where they are at personally and professionally, I feel like it does give me a little bit of an edge due to my age.”

What about shifts?: In this entry, I wondered if it is time to look at reducing or eliminating infield shifts in baseball. The World Series winning Los Angeles Dodgers led Major League Baseball in 2020, shifting 55.8 percent of the time. The Orioles ranked 16th with a shift 34.2 percent of the time. The MLB average was 34.1 percent last summer.

The batting average in MLB last year for all teams and games was .245. That was the lowest since the .244 mark from 1972. And that was the year before the start of the use of the designated hitter in 1973. While strikeouts are up and players are swinging for the fences - and neither help batting averages - the shifts are no doubt taking away many hits.

Readers often think players could easily adjust to shifts and just hit away from them or bunt. I contend if players could easily do that, why don’t they?

So is it time to discuss legislating against shifts?

What about shortstop?: In this entry, my colleague, Roch Kubatko, reported that several outfielders will take part in a small minicamp at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota starting Monday.

He also reported on some shortstops that have emerged on the O’s radar, including former Oriole Jonathan Villar. He also noted that there are varying levels of interest in Freddy Galvis, Ehire Adrianza and Daniel Robertson.

Kubatko reported that the Orioles could sign more than one shortstop with the possibility existing of one major league and one minor league signing.

blog comments powered by Disqus