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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are restocking the scouting staff

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Mike Elias parted ways with a bunch of O’s scouts in 2019. Now he’s replacing them, slowly but surely.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Remember a couple months ago, when the Orioles let go of a bunch of their long-time scouts? Remember all the consternation and hand-wringing that followed from some media and fans? “Mike Elias has gone too far!” they exclaimed, furrowing their brows and adjusting their monocles. “Why, he intends to make human beings obsolete and simply replace them with robots and computers. That’s no way to run an organization, good sir! Nothing can replace the experienced eyes and road-weary musk of a living, breathing scout.”

Relax. Elias isn’t abandoning the scouting department. In fact, he’s already begun restaffing the organization with new — and very much human — faces.

So maybe there wasn’t an elaborate scheme to staff the entire front office with T-1000s. The simple truth is that Elias wanted to part ways with the scouts he’d inherited from a 115-loss team and bring in a fresh set of eyes of his own choosing. It’s hard to blame him for that.

Links

Elias on arbitration-eligibles, Mancini, Rule 5, coaches and more - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko drops some tidbits from Elias’ appearance on 105.7 The Fan. The GM was non-committal on whether the O’s will offer a contract to the arbitration-eligible Jonathan Villar. They can’t possibly non-tender their best player, can they? ...Can they?

How the Orioles’ offseason moves so far can help their development goals in 2020 - Baltimore Sun
Aggravated O’s fans may wonder why the club keeps cycling through the likes of Chandler Shepherd, Ty Blach, and countless other waiver-claim washouts. But as Jon Meoli explains, the O’s need these kinds of guys, if for no other reason than to give their actual prospects more time to develop in the minors.

Orioles #6 Prospect Yusniel Diaz - RF - Orioles Hangout
Orioles Hangout is rolling out its yearly top prospects list, with Yusniel Diaz at No. 6. Luke Siler projects Diaz as a solid regular in the bigs, which might not be the most exciting outcome, but I’d take that any day of the week for a team whose current roster is mostly below average.

Chris Holt’s take on a few minor league pitchers - Steve Melewski
If you hoped Keegan Akin’s frightening walk totals at Norfolk this year were the result of him experimenting with new pitches, good news: they were. That doesn’t totally excuse a 4.9 walk rate, but it at least makes me feel a little better about his 2019 season.

Chris Davis and the Brutal Life of a Late-Career Slugger | FanGraphs Baseball
Justin Klugh looks at historical comparisons of 34-year-old sluggers to see if there’s any hope for Chris Davis. You probably know the answer.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have two Orioles birthday buddies: 2000 two-gamer Carlos Casimiro (43) and 1994 outfielder Dwight Smith (56), father of current O’s outfielder Dwight Smith Jr.

Nov. 8 is a good day for Orioles to win the MVP award. In 1966, Frank Robinson was unanimously voted the AL MVP after leading the O’s to their first World Series championship in his debut season. Robinson bagged the Triple Crown with a .316 average, 49 homers, and 122 RBIs, to go along with a league-leading .410 OBP, .637 SLG, and 1.047 OPS. Yeah, I’d say the voters got that one right. Frank became the first player in MLB history to win an MVP in both leagues.

In 1991, Cal Ripken was named AL MVP for the second time after the best offensive season of his career, in which he batted .323/.374/.566 with 34 homers and 114 RBIs to complement his Gold Glove defense at shortstop. Another excellent choice by the voters, as Ripken led the majors in WAR (10.6), even though WAR wasn’t a thing yet. They didn’t fare as well in choosing their runner-up, Cecil Fielder, whose 3.8 WAR was tied for 66th place.