Almost one third by way of spring coaching, the Orioles have didn’t do a lot successful. The outcomes by no means matter within the preseason, however it’s extra enjoyable when a group anticipated to wrestle sneaks out a couple of early victories down in Florida.
Although the Orioles (2-6-1) have ended up within the loss column extra instances than not, a couple of Baltimore gamers have already received large this spring.
Two incumbent beginning pitchers are the primary that come to thoughts. Whereas John Means arrived in Sarasota as Baltimore’s Opening Day starter by default, O’s’ skipper Brandon Hyde refused to anoint anybody else to the rotation.
Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer each made their main league debuts final season. Whereas each starters pitched effectively sufficient to maintain their spots, Hyde needed to make them earn it. If both participant felt they’d cause to be involved, they’ll sleep simple after these first two weeks.
Kremer struggled his first outing, however delivered three shutout innings yesterday afternoon. The righty touched 97 MPH on the radar gun and confronted solely 10 batters by way of three frames. Akin will begin in the present day in opposition to Toronto after permitting one run in two innings final week.
In the meantime, the duo’s competitors have but to make their greatest pitch for the job. Matt Harvey allowed three earned runs in his first two innings, and Felix Hernandez failed to the touch 90 MPH whereas permitting a pair of runs in his first begin.
Wade LeBlanc allowed only one hit and struck out two in his debut this season however that won’t clinch the second spot within the rotation. The Orioles are determined for manufacturing on the mound, however it’s practically not possible to image anybody coming for both sophomores’ spot. Barring an damage, the O’s high three is about.
Whereas Akin and Kremer could have been “competing” in title alone, the battle for the beginning job in middle discipline has been hotly contested. Austin Hays arrived this spring as the favourite to win the gig, and he’s executed nothing to lose it. Hays has hit .400 with a homer, two RBIs and a stroll up to now this spring, however the underdog would be the true winner up to now.
Mullins has posted an equivalent .400 common to Hays, however Mullins has two extra hits (together with a double and triple) and three RBIs by way of 5 video games. The pair’s sturdy play has Hyde pondering outdoors the field.
“I can see a mixture of Cedric and Austin within the outfield collectively,” Hyde famous earlier this week. That might seemingly lead to Ryan Mountcastle and Trey Mancini taking additional at bats at designated hitter, and Anthony Santander getting some shine at DH as effectively. The domino impact seemingly chases DJ Stewart or Chris Davis from the lineup, however that could be within the membership’s greatest curiosity.
Whereas Mullins has earned the title of an early winner together with his play, one other Baltimore place participant clinched the nod with inactivity. Rio Ruiz has hit simply .083 (1/12) by way of 4 video games, however the Orioles’ brass has but to take any steps to exchange him.
Tyler Younger weighed the professionals and cons of signing current free agent Maikel Franco, and Orioles’ administration could also be doing the identical, however the job seems secure with Ruiz.
Prospect Rylan Bannon has hit simply .163 by way of six video games. That’s simply not going to chop it for a younger man making an attempt to steal a spot from a veteran. Ruiz slashed .222/.286/.427 over 54 video games final season and .232/.306/.376 throughout 127 video games in 2019. Ruiz has performed streaky ball since arriving in Baltimore, however has benefited from an absence of competitors. As of now, that competitors has but to emerge.
Just like a group’s document, a participant’s stat line shouldn’t be indicative of their efficiency within the common season. Spring coaching is already a small pattern dimension, and the Birds have performed simply 9 of these video games up to now this 12 months. Nonetheless, the early numbers are barely extra than simply water cooler discuss.
Gamers want each edge they’ll get when battling for a roster spot. A participant’s spring efficiency can serves as a tie breaker when it comes time to fly north. Nobody can take away Cedric Mullins’ success, and Rylan Bannon has dug himself into an early gap. Akin and Kremer have seemingly by no means felt extra assured, whereas Harvey and Hernandez could find yourself battling for the ultimate spot within the rotation.
You may’t win a job within the first 9 video games of spring coaching, however you can begin to development in a sure path. Are there every other early winners this spring? Let’s hear it.