New 12 months, new faces … usual Orioles. The good majority of slots on the 26-man roster are nearly as good as sewn up, however as ordinary, the concept that in lower than a month-and-a-half, this membership goes to trot out a full major-league pitching employees jogs my memory of that dream the place you notice you confirmed as much as college in your underwear.
Since 2018, GM Mike Elias and his workforce of analysts have helped the Orioles shed $100 million of payroll by buying and selling away each Orioles veteran with any market worth: starters Alex Cobb, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner and Tommy Milone, plus relievers Mychal Givens, Miguel Castro and Richard Bleier. So whereas the Orioles’ farm system now seems to be higher than it has in most followers’ reminiscence, all these trades during the last two seasons have left plenty of speedy must be met.
For now, right here’s my finest guess on the state of the roster, and who fills the open slots:
Catcher—Probability Sisco, Pedro Severino
Infield—Trey Mancini, Yólmer Sánchez, Freddy Gálvis, Rio Ruiz, Chris Davis, ??
Outfield—Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins, DJ Stewart
Beginning Pitcher—John Means, Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, ??, ??
Bullpen—Shawn Armstrong, Hunter Harvey, Tanner Scott, Paul Fry, Cesar Valdez, ??, ??, ??
An Further OF/DH
My assumptions listed here are that all the outfield slots are set, that the Orioles begin off with a four-man bench and an eight-man bullpen, and that each of these change over the season as gamers shuttle round between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk. I believe Cedric Mullins’s velocity, potential to get on base, versatility within the outfield, and his robust 2020 carry him onto the roster. Lefty slugger DJ Stewart is on the bubble, however I slot him in as a result of I believe Elias and supervisor Brandon Hyde will give him one other shot to see if the facility reappears that drove a six-game, six-homer streak that led MASN to call him “quite possibly the hottest hitter on the planet” final September. Stewart’s energy and lefty bat are additionally worthwhile within the DH spot, which he’ll share with Chris Davis.
The Utility IF spot
If DJ Stewart makes it onto the roster, that leaves the Orioles with room for one backup infielder alongside Davis. I’ve 2B Jahmai Jones with the within observe. A second-round 2015 draft decide for the Los Angeles Angels, LA’s former no. 7-ranked prospect has many Orioles personnel seemingly actually excessive on his athleticism. Jones’ bat could also be his limiting issue—he’s a profession .258 hitter within the minors with simply 7 MLB plate appearances, although I’m sort of digging his compact swing—however at simply 23, and in a utility function, that received’t matter as a lot.
Jones and Stewart being on the roster bumps hotly-anticipated prospect Rylan Bannon right down to Triple-A in the intervening time, however odds are he’ll debut with the workforce comparatively quickly, too. A .280 profession hitter in three minor league seasons to go along with an .856 OPS, Bannon gives infield versatility—plus Elias retains strongly hinting that he likes him. (Bannon’s even been taking reps at catcher since tutorial league, and we all know that Brandon Hyde likes having an emergency third catcher.)
The Rotation: Two Olds and Two Newbs?
Right here begins the actual craziness. The Orioles have no less than two rotation spots to fill (or three in the event that they go along with a sixth starter), plus no less than three within the bullpen (or 4 in the event that they resolve to not carry an additional outfielder).
Together with third-year “veteran” John Means, I’m assuming that Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer get the advantage of the doubt, despite the fact that the 2 rookies have all of 14 major-league begins between them. Neither was sensible in 2020, however they each confronted some troublesome groups and put up some fascinating numbers (Kremer’s 2.76 FIP, for one, and Akin’s 3.27 FIP and 12.3 Okay/9).
In that case, that leaves two rotation slots to be divided between roughly 14 candidates, if I’m counting proper: seven from the 40-man roster (journeyman Jorge Lopez, Rule 5 guys Tyler Wells and Mac Sceroler, plus newly-protected prospects Bruce Zimmermann, Alex Wells, Zac Lowther, and Michael Baumann), 4 non-roster invitees (Tom Eshelman, “King Félix” Hernández, Wade LeBlanc, and Matt Harvey), and three camp reserves (lefty Josh Rogers, former Red Sox prospect Konner Wade, and one-time Tigers prospect Spenser Watkins).
As a result of we at present haven’t any entry to movie of bullpen classes or something (Matt Harvey was apparently just finishing his physical yesterday), there’s valuable little to base this on. For tactical causes alone, I wish to say that no less than one of many (soft-tossing) veterans—LeBlanc, Hernández, or Harvey—makes the workforce as a veteran presence. Admittedly, LeBlanc is the most-recently least-bad, with a 3.72 ERA in 27 begins for Seattle in 2018. Seemingly future HOFer Hernández made no less than 15 begins in every of the three seasons from 2017-2019, however his ERA ranged from 4.36-6.40 as his velocity dropped. However think about having him within the dugout mentoring the children. And wouldn’t or not it’s enjoyable if the 2 former Mariners teammates had been united once more?
Lefty prospect and Maryland native son Bruce Zimmermann had one begin in two 2020 appearances, however I believe he—together with Wells, Lowther, and Baumann—is prone to start the season at Triple-A.
The ‘Pen: Wild Guesses Welcome
Moreover the possible locks—Hunter Harvey, Tanner Scott, Shawn Armstrong, Paul Fry, and possibly Cesar Valdez, there are no less than three slots open within the bullpen, perhaps 4. I sort of like Jorge López’s probabilities: he was the embodiment of hit-or-miss in 2020, however he, like Tom Eshelman, supplies a long-relief or a sixth-man option in the rotation—and Hyde likes flexibility. I’m with MASN’s Roch Kubatko on Fernando Abad, a veteran lefty who may add stability.
Till we see extra from the remainder—and there are a mind-boggling 37 pitchers competing in camp proper now— the remainder is wild guessing. However, whereas we’re at it, righty Cody Carroll and Dillon Tate have the upside, and so does Josh Rogers, if he’s again to 2018 kind after recovering from Tommy John.
Simply because there are many arms in Orioles doesn’t imply there are many solutions. As Harrison Jowziak wrote yesterday, “the upcoming season would require loads of creativity” from O’s administration: we may see “something from a six-man rotation, to openers, or bullpen days, or perhaps one thing much more insane.” One of the best prediction might be simply to plan for the sudden.