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Saturday’s Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles might match last season’s win total

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In other news: minor league improvements, Wynns battles for playing time and Eshelman and Peterson remain in the organization.

Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

It has not been an overly enjoyable season for the Baltimore Orioles, but when compared to 2018 it has been a walk in the park. Despite being almost completely absent of star power, these Orioles are better than last year’s version. And they have reasons to be excited about the future of the club.

Anthony Santander looks like a legitimately good player who has a chance to play an important role in this rebuild, whether that includes locking down a corner outfield spot on the next competitive Orioles team, or inflating his value so much that the O’s are able to bring in a king’s ransom in exchange.

It’s more than one player, of course. Hanser Alberto has an outside shot at the AL batting title, an award whose meaning has diminished with time but would still be cool to see happen. John Means has struggled in the second half but remains a bright spot. Pedro Severino has shown offensive ability that never appeared while with the Nationals. Trey Mancini is a legitimate slugger. Jonathan Villar is a lot of fun to watch play. Hunter Harvey might be the real deal as a reliever.

The point is that this team, the one that did not include any direct help from the likes of Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman or Zach Britton, is better and more interesting than the most recent team that did. A win today, would allow the Orioles to pass the win total for the 2018 team. Sure, they are still likely headed for 100+ losses and a top two draft pick. But progress has been made at the major league level this season in Baltimore, and anyone who says any different isn’t paying attention.

Links

Jim Palmer Out Of The Booth Due To Rare Infection Caused By Shingles Virus - CBS Baltimore
Get better soon, Cakes!

Yusniel Diaz, Ryan McKenna sense improvement after full year with Double-A Bowie - Baltimore Sun
One area of the field that the Orioles don’t seem in desperate need of help in the upper minors is the outfield. Many of the O’s top hitting prospects are outfielders or appear destined for the outfield. Neither Yusniel Diaz or Ryan McKenna had great season with Double-A Bowie, and they could very well find themselves right back at that level in 2020.

Minor MLB Transactions: 9/5/19 - MLB Trade Rumors
Both Tom Eshelman and Jace Peterson have remained with the Orioles after being DFA’d last week. That’s good news for everyone. Eshelman has options remaining and could be useful as a swingman or spot starter over the next year or two. Peterson has position flexibility, which is always valuable in a pinch.

Which O’s prospects took steps forward in 19? - MLB.com
For me, it has all been about the minor league pitching this season. Micheal Baumann appears to have taken a big step forward. Dean Kremer bounced back from injury and looks to be back on track. Gray Fenter emerged in Delmarva. And the two big arms, Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall, did not disappoint.

Wynns caught in logjam behind plate - School of Roch
I do wonder if Austin Wynns ends up sticking in the O’s organization longer than Chance Sisco simply because he is the superior defender. We all know that Adley Rutschman is the heir apparent at the position. What happens behind him is up in the air.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Utilityman David Newhan, who spent 230 games with the O’s between 2004 and 2006, turns 46 today. It is the 47th birthday of Willie Morales, an O’s catcher for three games during the 2000 season. Happy 59th to Wade Rowdon, a third baseman/left fielder that appeared in 20 games for the 1988 Birds. Orlando Sanchez, an O’s backstop for just four games in 1984, turns 63. And finally, infielder Tommy Matchick, who played three games for the 1972 Orioles, celebrates his 76th birthday.

1980 - The Orioles are a part of history as they lose 5-2 to the Oakland Athletics. A’s pitcher Steve McCatty not only got the win, but he threw a complete game in the process, marking the 78th time that an Oakland pitcher had achieved the feat that season, an MLB record.

1996 - It took them 141 games to do it, but the O’s seal their first shutout of the season, beating the Detroit Tigers 6-0 thanks to an outstanding start by Mike Mussina.

1998 - Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. becomes the third player to hit 50 home runs in back-to-back seasons. He achieves the feat with a four-hit, two-home-run, six-RBI performance as the M’s beat the O’s 11-1.

2018 - The Orioles lose their 100th game of the season for only the third time in team history. They are the fastest MLB team to reach the 100-loss mark since the 2003 Tigers.