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Orioles call up outfield prospect DJ Stewart

The Orioles waited until September 11 to make an interesting September call-up, adding outfielder DJ Stewart to the team prior to the start of the Oakland series.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles had a couple more September call-ups in them after all. After not doing much earlier in the month, the Orioles made a couple of moves to add players to the roster on Tuesday, including one new face to the 2018 team: Outfield prospect DJ Stewart.

It will be nice to see someone new for the last 19 games of the season. Hopefully the Orioles actually play Stewart for most of that time. Even as it is a welcome development, this is also strange because if the O’s wanted to look at Stewart this month, why didn’t they do so sooner?

The O’s could have called up Stewart on September 1, the day rosters expanded. They could have called him up on September 4, as soon as the Triple-A Norfolk season was over. Instead, it is September 11 and they have only just now gotten around to calling up Stewart following on the heels of a weekend where they didn’t play Adam Jones for a whole series and instead “got looks at” jabronis like Joey Rickard and John Andreoli.

This is the sort of thing that tempts one to conclude that the Orioles do not have any coherent plan for anything. It gives the appearance of being disorganized, haphazard, and perhaps the product of competing influences on the decisionmaking process.

The full set of roster moves from Tuesday afternoon:

  • Stewart’s contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk
  • Reliever Cody Carroll recalled from Norfolk
  • Mark Trumbo transferred to 60-day disabled list
  • Pedro Araujo transferred to 60-day disabled list
  • Andrew Susac reinstated from restricted list

That’s a lot of paper stuff for a roster that will look much the same as it already did. The O’s clear some 40-man spots to add Stewart and apparently to return Susac to the 40-man roster.

For more on Stewart’s prospect journey in the minors this year, check out Ben Hansford’s review of his season from this morning. The O’s needed to add Stewart to the 40-man roster this offseason anyway to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, so adding him this September to give him a little audition for the 41-102 Orioles makes sense.

Stewart has had a strange journey through the system after being a disappointment immediately after he was drafted with the 25th pick of the 2015 draft. He was of interest to me because last year at Double-A Bowie, he batted .278/.378/.481. Look at that OBP! At Norfolk this year, he was less successful but still managed to post a .329 OBP.

Hopefully now that the Orioles have called Stewart up, they will stick him in left field, his natural position, for most of their final 19 games. It may be that this makes too much sense for that to be something they would do in 2018, but maybe they will surprise us.

Post-publish update: Stewart is not in the starting lineup on Tuesday night, with Rickard in left field instead, because of course. If the Orioles have a plan, it’s the kind of plan that makes it look like they have no plan.