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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where the Grayson Rodriguez hype train is at full speed

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All aboard! The Orioles have a chance to actually compete...in a few years,

Grayson Rodriguez waves to the Camden Yards crowd Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Last summer, in what would prove to be his final draft in charge of the Orioles, general manager Dan Duquette selected Grayson Rodriguez with the team’s first-round pick. The high school hurler had rocketed up draft boards in the months prior to being picked, but the O’s were able to sign him for slightly under his allotted bonus.

Ever since that fateful day, Rodriguez has dominated minor league opposition. Over 17 career games between the Gulf Coast League last season and Delmarva this season, the righty has a 1.44 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 62.1 innings of work.

These impressive performances are doing more than just filling a stat line. Rodriguez has jumped into MLB Pipeline’s list of top 100 prospects in all of baseball and leap-frogged Austin Hays in the Orioles pecking order. Also, there have been positive scouting reports like this one from an anonymous scout mentioned by MASN’s Roch Kubatko in his blog:

A scout from outside the organization watched Grayson Rodriguez work a career-high seven innings Monday afternoon at Single-A Delmarva, with only one run and two hits allowed and eight strikeouts, and called the 2018 first-round draft pick “really special” and “the best Orioles prospect I’ve seen in many, many, moons.”

“He absolutely will be a top of the rotation starter and he’s only a pup,” the scout said.

I’m personally very excited to see Rodriguez win several Cy Young awards and pass Jim Palmer as the best pitcher in Orioles history. No pressure, man!

Links & Notes

Mancini on the “tremendous honor” he’s trying to ignore - School of Roch
In that same Kubatko blog, he has a buttload of quotes regarding the chance that Trey Mancini earns a spot on the All-Star team. Honestly, it’s not a reach at all. Each team gets a representative, and Mancini is by far the most qualified on the Orioles. But even if the team did not automatically get a selection, Mancini probably deserves it anyway. He’s not a franchise centerpiece, but Mancini can hit the ball.

Minor MLB Transactions: Reds, Orioles - MLB Trade Rumors
Mike Elias said that the O’s would be signing quite a few international free agents in the weeks to come. Yorkislandy Alvarez is one of those names. I’m not going to pretend like I know anything about this young man. He is a 20-year-old infielder from Cuba, and his name is Yorkislandy. I love him already!

Adam Jones happy to be contributing to winner in Arizona - Baltimore Sun
Good for Adam. If he’s happy, I’m happy. Given the Orioles current outfield situation, they probably could have stood to re-sign the long-time centerfielder for one more year to play one of the corners. But it may work out better for everyone that he left. He gets to play some meaningful baseball, and the Orioles got to discover a guy like Dwight Smith Jr.

Cody Sedlock, Blaine Knight savor trip to Camden Yards - Baltimore Sun
I bet it does. When a young player sees how bad the big league team is, it must make it pretty easy to imagine yourself on that field in just a few short years.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Former Orioles utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. turns 43 today. The 1997 draft pick played parts of seven seasons in Birdland between 1998 and 2004 before being traded to the Chicago Cubs in the Sammy Sosa deal.

Outfielder Eric Davis spent two seasons with the O’s in the late 90’s, slashing .321/.380/.567 during that time. He is 57 years old today.

Right-handed pitcher Fred Holdsworth celebrates his 67th birthday. He pitched in 28 games for the Orioles between 1976 and ‘77, accumulating a 3.17 ERA, 110 ERA+ and 3.29 FIP before being traded to the Expos midway through the 1977 season.

Finally, happy 73rd birthday to Dyar Miller, an Orioles relief pitcher for 91 games from 1975 through 1977.

1965 - Orioles club president Joe Inglehart sells his 32 percent holding in the team to Jerry Hoffberger, the president of National Brewing Company, and Zanvyl Krieger, the Orioles team treasurer.

1967 - The Orioles trade first baseman Mike Epstein and pitcher Frank Bertaina to the Washington Senators for pitcher Peter Richert

1970 - Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar strikes out four consecutive batters in one inning.