Following last night’s horrific loss, the Orioles are sitting at 73-80 and effectively out of the playoff race. To be perfectly fair, ESPN does have the Birds playoff chances at 0.1%, but that is one severely rounded figure. Unless you’re Lloyd Christmas, ESPN is saying that the Orioles do not have a chance.
While the Orioles certainly want to stay competitive, it’s time to look forward towards next season. The team seems to have grasped this idea when it comes to the playing time of Austin Hays, but he’s not the only rookie with their service time clocks ticking away while the Orioles sit five and a half games back.
The Orioles’ number one prospect has been up with the big league squad since rosters expanded on September 1st. Since the beginning of the month, Sisco has recorded his first hit and his first home run, both against the Yankees last Thursday. However, he has not received a single start.
It’s not like Sisco has been bad in his limited outings. In a grand total of five plate appearances since the Orioles took a chance on him three weeks ago, Sisco has notched a double, home run, and walked twice. At least offensively, he looks poised to become Baltimore’s most famous Sisco since “Unleash the Dragon” debuted in 1999.
With Welington Castillo likely to decline his player option this off season to test free agency, the Orioles are looking at an opening in next year’s catching rotation. It’s always been assumed that Chance Sisco’s left-handed bat would naturally slot in alongside Caleb Joseph in 2018, but if that’s the case, why not take an extended look at the top prospect this year? Even if Buck doesn’t think his catching is up to snuff quite yet, let’s see him DH a day or two against righties.
It’s quite easy for Orioles fans to forget that the Rule 5 pick is still on the roster. In the meantime, Santander has already logged over 30 days of service time towards his 90-day requirement per the Rule-5 stipulations. It’s obviously too late for him to get in all 90 this season, but next season he should only have to be hidden on the roster for a month and a half.
As a side-note, I expect the MLB to close this 60-day DL loophole before Duquette starts drafting and stashing every Rule 5 pick coming off of Tommy John.
Santander was called up on August 17th and quickly got starts the next two days. But, after notching hits in both games, he hasn’t started a single time since. With the Orioles knowing that Santander will be starting on the 25-man roster in 2018, why not let him get some actual playing time in 2017’s garbage time? Let him get acclimated a little more to MLB pitching before being forced to see it next spring when it actually matters.
Scott was recently called up last weekend and made his first appearance last night. Let’s just say it went about as well as you’d expect for someone with a WHIP of over 1.300 in Bowie. When the move was first announced last weekend, our own Mark Brown accurately identified the team’s rationale as “for some reason.” It’s still a mystery.
The lefty flame-thrower’s service time has officially begun following his first full season in Double-A. A season in which he walked six batters per nine innings, I might add. I’m sorry, but no player is ready with that little control in the minors, I don’t care how fast he throws. Even Daniel Cabrera had better walk rates than that in the minor leagues and we all know how that turned out. But Scott’s here, so let’s see what he’s got.
Given the state of the Orioles’ starting staff, Scott should have plenty of opportunities in an overworked bullpen. Buck even mentioned the possibility of giving him a short start similar to what he was doing in Bowie. It sounds nuts, but how much worse could it really be than Ubaldo, Tillman, Hellickson, etc.? It will at least be fun seeing an Orioles pitcher hit triple digits on the radar gun again.
As for Sisco and Santander, let’s see them play too. This team isn’t making the playoffs and the veterans are tired. I want to see some of these guys other than in the eighth and ninth innings when the Orioles are down by 5+. Similar to the pitching, if Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis can continue to see regular playing time, so can the new guys. Let’s take a peek at next year’s in-house options before entering the off-season. Let’s see the rookies.