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Emotional Trey Mancini on big ovation (O’s lose 6-4)

It was not just any single in any spring training. This one meant a lot more. In his first at-bat since a spring game last March 2, Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini singled on a liner to center in the last of the first today. It sent Cedric Mullins, who had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch, to third base. It was

Wade LeBlanc wants to repay O’s for having his back during injury

When a player uses the word “disaster” as part of the description of his season, it didn’t go very well, Captain Obvious might say. For lefty Wade LeBlanc, it didn’t go very well in the six starts he made for the 2020 Orioles before an injury sidelined him for the season. LeBlanc, 36, recorded an ERA of 8.06 last summer with a 1.567 WHIP over

Mentorship with Freddy Galvis and a Chris Davis take

If they turn out to be the Orioles double-play combination, the club hopes to get solid glovework out of shortstop Freddy Galvis and second baseman Yolmer Sánchez. Galvis has been a Gold Glove finalist and Sánchez won the American League Gold Glove at second base in 2019, when he beat out the other finalists, New York’s DJ LeMahieu and Houston’s Jose Altuve. O’s manager Brandon

Taking a look at one lineup possibility, plus more notes

Which American League team had the third-best team batting average during the 2020 season? And, yes, it was a season shortened to 60 games, 102 fewer than normal. It was the Orioles. They ranked 12th in team batting average at .246 in 2019 and were third at .258 in the AL last summer when the league average was .245. While the Orioles in 2020 produced

After solid 2020 season, Cedric Mullins is looking for a repeat

For Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins, a 2020 season that began with him going 1-for-13 and getting optioned to the alternate site ended with him re-establishing his career while leading the majors in bunt hits. The .077 batting start reminded us of his .094 start to the 2019 year. That led to his demotion all the way down to Double-A Bowie, and Mullins ended that season

Hyde remains confident in Sulser, plus other notes

Right-hander reliever Cole Sulser’s first season with the Orioles started off pretty well, but it didn’t end up that way. He went 1-5 with a 5.56 ERA and with 17 walks and 19 strikeouts over 22 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old Sulser went 1-2 with five saves, a 3.46 ERA and a .116 (5-for-43) opponent’s batting average in his first 10 outings. But he finished 0-3

What does Ryan Mountcastle have coming as a follow-up act?

When your debut season went as well as it did last summer for Orioles prospect Ryan Mountcastle, the encore can be challenging. “I think year two is always difficult,” manager Brandon Hyde said today via Zoom of the challenges facing Mountcastle in 2021. “When you get to the big leagues, there is not a whole lot of major league data on you. But now that

Birdland farm check-in: Triple-A Norfolk GM Joe Gregory

After the dust has settled on Minor League Baseball, and now that we actually have schedules for the 2021 season, I’m going to check in around Birdland. Today, I start by interviewing Joe Gregory, the general manager of the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. While the primary task of a big league GM is to acquire players to win games, a minor league GM does not acquire

For Austin Hays, health is “most important thing in my career”

It sounds much easier than it is, but most players have two basic goals in mind each year - stay healthy and stay productive. Can’t do the second without the first part. After dealing with injuries earlier in his career and missing a month last year plus getting off to a slow start - he went 3-for-30 to start the year - outfielder Austin Hays

Spring notes on Mancini’s hitting approach, analytics and more

Manager Brandon Hyde has spent some time talking about the Orioles continuing move toward more use of data, technology and analytics since the start of spring training. New pitching coach Chris Holt led a big move toward data and tech to the Baltimore farm in 2019 and it’s matriculated to the big league pitchers as well. It was cited by veteran righty Matt Harvey as

Rio Ruiz: “This organization is in a great spot”

Did Orioles third baseman Rio Ruiz hit in some tough luck last year during the shortened 2020 season? A case could be made that he did. He batted .222/.286/.427 with 11 doubles, nine homers, 32 RBIs (tied for the team lead) and an OPS of .713 in 54 games. His OPS+ was 93, 7 percent short of league average. But Ruiz led the Orioles with

Scott up for added innings and Harvey’s path to Baltimore

The Orioles are looking to stretch out some of their bullpen pitchers this season to ensure enough innings to cover the long 162-game season. Manager Brandon Hyde recently said that could mean one inning plus for some relievers and could mean going two or even three innings for others. Lefty Tanner Scott, who had easily his best season in the truncated 2020 season, said he

Paul Fry on improved strikeout rate and a look at camp so far

The Orioles are not exactly featuring an abundance of bullpen left-handers. Even on a spring roster with 73 players that includes 37 pitchers. They do return Paul Fry and Tanner Scott from the left side in the ‘pen. Who, if anyone, joins them this year is to be determined. Fernando Abad, who signed a minor league deal, may have a good shot. Zach Muckenhirn from

How Dean Kremer used quarantine time to improve a difference-making pitch

Give a cerebral, young pitcher some time on his hands during quarantine baseball, with no games to play or spring training complex to report to, and he can do some unique and ultimately very productive things. For Orioles right-hander Dean Kremer, starting last March, that meant taking his slider, which had always been a work in progress, and morphing it into more of a cut

More with Chris Holt and another look at minor league schedules

Orioles coach Chris Holt is on his third title in his third year in the organization. It just points to his growing importance to the club and how it has expanded each season. For two years, he was entrusted with overseeing pitching on the farm. Now he joins the major league staff for the first time in 2021. Holt was hired for the 2019 season

Chris Holt on six-man possibility, plus minors schedules are out

As he gets set to begin his third season in the Orioles organization, but first as the major league pitching coach, 41-year-old Chris Holt faces challenges everywhere he looks. How to continue to improve a staff that finished with a 4.51 ERA last year, up from 5.59 in 2019. How to continue to introduce more young pitching to the staff. And how to manage pitcher

Pondering innings limits and a few other topics

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, his pitching coaches Chris Holt and Darren Holmes and the club’s front office, among others, have to ponder something important about pitchers for the coming season: How do they get from here to there? In this case, the here is the innings load that pitchers were given in a shortened 60-game 2020 season, and the there is how it will work

Means ready to add leadership to his duties in 2021

He will turn 28 in April and is a veteran of just 202 big league innings. But in leading an Orioles rotation that could feature two rookies at the start - and more joining the fun late - left-hander John Means is likely to add leadership to his roles during the 2021 season. “It’s crazy, the fact that I have two years of service time

As camp begins, another look at rotation candidates

When you look at the list of 73 players the Orioles have heading to spring training this week, there are 37 pitchers among that group of players. Of that group of 37, there are 15-20 that might have at least a remote shot at breaking north in the season-opening starting rotation. Realistically, the number is less, but still large. Let’s take a look at groupings

Expanded resume: Rylan Bannon added to his during instructional league

It happened last season at the Orioles’ alternate camp at Bowie. He made a joke that was not 100 percent a joke. When there was not a catcher available during a drill, infielder Rylan Bannon said they could put him back there. It didn’t happen that day, but during instructional league a few weeks later, it did. Bannon, who turns 25 in April, went behind

Dean Kremer now looks to build on impressive major league debut

As major league debuts go, this was a really good one. Outstanding, actually. Orioles right-hander Dean Kremer faced the New York Yankees on Sunday, Sept. 6 at Camden Yards. In a 5-1 win as Baltimore took three of four in that series, Kremer allowed one run and one hit over six innings. Yankees batters went 1-for-19 against him. He walked three and fanned seven, throwing

Will spring training games now hold more importance?

All you have to do is remember that catcher Jake Fox once looked like an All-Star during spring training. Some fans were clamoring for him to play over Matt Wieters. Yep, that did happen. Every year, we see players crush the ball in spring training but struggle when the season starts. And the reverse is often true. Every year, we wonder how much stock, if

Setting the minors by league and Elias’ excitement for season

Among a few adjustments Orioles fans have to get used to with minor league baseball in 2021 is seeing Aberdeen play as their high Single-A full-season affiliate and no longer as a short-season club. As of yesterday we also have to get used to new and very generic league names for these farm clubs. In many cases their league will be similar to where they

Notes on deadening the ball, Camden Yards game times and more

After watching a record 6.776 homers leave ballparks during the 2019 season, Major League Baseball officials are taking an action that could produce fewer longballs this year. According to sources cited by several outlets, MLB will slightly deaden the baseballs for the 2021 season. According to an Associated Press report, MLB anticipates the changes will be subtle, and a memo to teams last week cites

Another top 10 organizational ranking for the Orioles

The Orioles farm system got some further positive recognition yesterday when it was ranked No. 7 by Baseball America in organizational rankings. That is up from No. 12 last year. In MLBPipeline.com’s latest organizational rankings, released in the fall, the O’s moved up from No. 13 to No. 8. It should be pointed out that not every outlet sees the O’s farm as top 10

Notes on health and safety, PECOTA, Renato Núñez and more

We now know some of the rules that will govern the 2021 Major League Baseball season. MLB and the MLB Players Association announced the health and safety protocols that will be in place starting when spring training begins next week. By the way, as a reminder, O’s pitchers and catchers report Tuesday, Feb. 16 with the first workout set for the next day. The first

What a scout says: Checking reports on Garrett Stallings, Chris Shaw

Neither player is currently on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. Of the two, one has played in the majors, while the other has yet to play a single inning of pro ball. Both could play in Baltimore at some point in the 2021 season. In this recent entry, I got the take and opinions from a National League scout on the O’s possible double play combo

New season brings opportunity for young pitchers like Zac Lowther

He got a taste of big league camp with the Orioles in Sarasota last season. Now as a new season is about to begin, Zac Lowther is ready to leave his home near Cleveland and head south. He’s a bit leaner than last year, and after a 2020 season spent trying to get better without games, looks forward to putting his best forward soon at

Remembering that time the O’s faced three Cy Young winners

The Los Angeles Dodgers now have a rotation featuring three Cy Young Award winners, and the Orioles of a few years ago know what it is like to challenge that. I think the Dodgers made a smart move with the free agent signing of right-hander Trevor Bauer. Yes, Bauer can opt after the first or second years of the deal, but Los Angeles hopes to

On O’s podcast, Elias on acquisition of Félix Hernández

He may have ultimately opted out of the 2020 big league season, but the Orioles would certainly take a repeat of Félix Hernández’s spring training performance from last year when the right-hander takes the mound in Sarasota over the next few weeks. Signed by the club this week to a minor league deal that will pay him $1 million if he’s in the majors, Hernández

A scout’s take on the O’s potential double play combination

If Freddy Galvis is at shortstop and Yolmer Sánchez is at second base for the 2021 Orioles, their up-the-middle infield defense will no doubt be very solid. And they could have some real durability. Between 2017-19, Sánchez played in 148 games per year for the Chicago White Sox. From 2015-19, Galvis averaged 156 games per season. I had a recent conversation with a National League

Félix Hernández brings quite a resume to Baltimore

Normally, the signing of a pitcher to a minor league contract who went 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in his most recent season would not garner much interest. Or much enthusiasm. There would be a story here and fans would await the pitcher getting his shot to prove he still has it during spring training. But it’s not every day a rebuilding team can sign

Prospect positional rankings and other notes

Baseball America recently released its prospect position rankings, which followed up its release of the publication’s top 100, where the Orioles placed five players. Adley Rutschman, ranked No. 2 in the Baseball America top 100 (subscription may be required), is rated as the No. 1 catcher in what Baseball America calls a loaded group of catchers, with nine of their top 10 rated also in

The rotation after the trade and more on Jahmai Jones

With right-hander Alex Cobb expected on his way via trade to the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles rotation, thought to have at least one opening, now has at least two. It’s two if you have John Means atop that rotation, which anyone certainly must at this point. But that is if you also have at least penciled in Dean Kremer and Keegan Akin, who combined

As spring training approaches, the uncertainty remains in MLB

Welcome to February. The month, we think, when teams will report to spring training in Florida and Arizona. Orioles pitchers and catchers remain scheduled to report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Feb. 16. The first spring training game is set for Feb. 27. Opening day is scheduled for April 1 at Boston. And that’s no joke. Those are the dates as of this

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