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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles minor league system keeps trending up

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It has remained a quiet offseason thus far, but the O’s young guns provide promise.

MILB: JUL 03 Gulf Coast League - GCL Rays at GCL Orioles Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

During an offseason in which we don’t expect much to happen at the big league level for the O’s, we can take solace in the promising developments taking place down on the farm.

MLB Pipeline already believes the Orioles have a top 10 minor league system, bolstered by a slew of former first-round picks (Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, Heston Kjerstad, DL Hall and Ryan Mountcastle). A handful of mid-season trades that netted them a group of useful youngsters made it even better.

But the name that seems to be most on the rise is that of shortstop Gunnar Henderson. The Orioles have been featuring him heavily over on their @OsPlayerDev Twitter account. It’s for good reason. The guy is still only 19 years old, but he appears to have put on a ton of muscle since being drafted in the second round last year.

Pipeline regards Henderson as the best athlete in the entire organization and they even said that “every report on Henderson this past summer and fall was glowing, and there’s a chance he’s have leapfrogged some on this list had there been a 2020 season.

That is a incredibly high praise considering he is currently listed as the team’s sixth best prosect. The player right in front of him is Ryan Mountcastle, a top 100 type of prospect that just put on an offensive show in his first year of major league action. The O’s may have unearthed a gem in Henderson.

Links

2020 Orioles Instructional League Recap | Orioles.com
The O’s social media and video teams have been going all out on promoting the organization’s young players. I’m here for it! Since we missed an entire minor league season and got few glimpses at the happenings at Bowie this summer I am all for more content.

A word on the awards | School of Roch
The Orioles should be more competitive for awards in 2021, when they will have a slew of eligible rookies plus a few Gold Glove contenders in Jose Iglesias, Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays.

For one young pitcher, it was not easy to leave Orioles | Steve Melewski
Brian Gonzalez was one of those pitchers that seemed like a promotion candidate for a couple of seasons. He was never a high-profile prospect, but he had enough of a track record to suggest he could get outs at the major league level. For whatever reason it never happened with the Orioles, but hopefully he gets an opportunity in his new home with the Rockies.

Orioles to Host Turkey Distribution at Ed Smith Stadium | Sarasota Magazine
The O’s will be sending Brandon Hyde, Chance Sisco and Stevie Wilkerson down to Ed Smith Stadium to hand out turkeys from the team’s spring training home next week. It’s nice to see them stay invested in another community that supports the organization.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

The only former Oriole born on this day is Curt Schilling. The right-handed pitcher turned conspiracy theorist spent parts of three seasons with the O’s from 1988 through 1990, accumulating a 4.54 ERA over 69.1 innings. He was traded to Houston Astros in the deal that landed Glenn Davis in Baltimore.

This day in history

1973 - Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer is named the winner of the AL Cy Young Award. He led the junior circuit with a 2.40 ERA.

2005 - O’s vice president of baseball operations Mike Flanagan announces that the team will not be retaining the services of outfielder Sammy Sosa or first baseman Rafael Palmeiro.