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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are pouring on the runs

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The Birds’ bats have been very much alive in spring training so far. It probably means nothing, unless it means ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

We’re nearing the finish line in the Orioles’ Grapefruit League schedule. Just one week from today, the O’s will be done with spring training, closing the book on Sarasota and making their way to New York to begin the 2019 regular season on March 28. Only seven exhibition games remain.

The O’s, though, are still having fun while it lasts — especially the offense. Yesterday, they laid a 14-1 smackdown on the Tigers in Lakeland, and a dozen Orioles hitters collected at least one hit as part of the club’s 18. Reserve outfield candidate Dwight Smith Jr. went 3-for-4 with a home run. Jonathan Villar and Trey Mancini ripped back-to-back RBI triples during a six-run fifth inning. Even non-roster invitees and minor league fill-ins got into the action, with the likes of Jace Peterson, Zach Vincej, Andrew Susac, and Cael Brockmeyer contributing RBI hits.

The offensive onslaught continued a spring-long trend for the Birds. They’ve scored 159 runs in exhibition play, which leads all Grapefruit League teams. Of players with at least 25 at-bats, eight Orioles are batting .300 or better (including three who have already been cut from major league camp: Austin Hays, Yusniel Diaz, and Anthony Santander).

Does that mean the O’s will carry their hot bats north once the real games start? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Several of their presumed regulars, such as Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Cedric Mullins, Villar, and Mancini, have looked mediocre to bad at the plate thus far, even while the lesser known guys are excelling. And once the O’s are facing MLB-caliber pitchers who have fully shaken off the cobwebs, things could get ugly.

But for now, let’s enjoy this productive, dare I say exciting, Orioles offense. Maybe, just maybe, the O’s will have some semblance of a competent lineup this season.

Links

Cashner on his “big step in the right direction” (O’s win 14-1, updated) - School of Roch
Lost in the Orioles’ offensive fireworks was that Andrew Cashner twirled a gem, giving up one run in five innings and retiring the last 12 batters he faced. It’s nice to see at least one O’s starting pitcher look somewhat ready for the regular season.

Analytics guru Sig Mejdal discusses his role with the Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
I always enjoy Sig Mejdal’s interviews. His comments are intelligent and honest, especially when it comes to how far behind the analytics curve the Orioles used to be. Here he’s asked about coming to a club with no analytics department and he’s like, “It wasn’t nothing. There was one guy.”

How Mejdal plans to impact Orioles - Orioles.com
Sig was really making the rounds on the interview circuit, apparently. I laughed out loud when he was asked about why he left the world champion Astros for the 115-loss Orioles and he responded, “I ask myself that question all the time.”

After solid 2018 debut, Grayson Rodriguez preps for first full pro year - Steve Melewski
The Orioles’ rotation might not be anything to write home about now, but if you squint, you can see a promising starting staff way on the horizon. Last year’s first-round pick, Grayson Rodriguez, could be a key part of it.

Camden Chat’s 2019 pre-season contest - Camden Chat
Think you know more than hundreds of other Orioles fans about how the 2019 season will play out? Prove it, wise guy! Enter Camden Chat’s always-delightful pre-season contest. Last year, the key to victory was to be as pessimistic about the Orioles as possible.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have just one O’s birthday buddy, and it’s not an exciting one; righty Rocky Coppinger turns 45 today. Coppinger worked 45 games for the Orioles from 1996-99 and actually finished fourth in the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year voting with a 10-6 record and 5.18 ERA. Must have been a slow year for rookies.

On this day two years ago, a memorable Oriole-on-Oriole robbery occurred in the World Baseball Classic:

Sigh. I miss those guys. The NL West got a whole lot more fun this offseason with the addition of those two.