Good morning Birdland,
The first taste of Orioles baseball in 2021 is nearly done. Over the last three days, five players and three coaches spent time in Sarasota working on baseball things, one would presume.
If all else goes according to plan, spring training will begin in just a few weeks, when pitchers and catchers report to Ed Smith Stadium on February 16th with the rest of the squad set to join on the 21st. All signs are pointing to those dates remaining in place, just with fewer players than in normal years.
What appears less certain is the exhibition schedule. Spring training tends to involve a lot of travel days on buses all over Florida, which could lead to more interpersonal interactions than MLB is comfortable with. That, paired with what will be smaller camp rosters, should cause the league to reevaluate how teams are able to prep for the season. What seems more logical would be leaning on inter-team scrimmages or developing mini-bubbles of a handful of clubs that play one another, rather than the normal wide-open Grapefruit League schedule.
Links & Notes
Answers to your Orioles questions | Baltimore Baseball
When the O’s are making news you gotta give some A’s to those most popular Q’s. One topic covered is how COVID-19 is going to impact attendance at both spring training and regular season games. Based on Dubroff’s communications with the O’s, the situation is fluid. The team wants fans in some capacity, but will have to adjust to local restrictions.
A Jonathan Villar reunion, anyone? | Steve Melewski
We know that Jonathan Villar has loads of offensive upside. He just hit 24 home runs and stole 40 bases for the O’s in 2019, and it’s reasonable to write off 2020 as an abomination even though he was really, really bad. But what you can’t explain away is a track record of subpar defense at shortstop. It’s difficult to imagine that gets any better in his age-30 season.
Statistics are ‘the fuel’ of the Orioles’ projection systems. How is the team adjusting after a lost 2020? | The Baltimore Sun
This is a neat look at how the Orioles have had to tweak their evaluation methods while having just a portion of the performance data they are used to having. Basically, it means the team is attempting to react in real time to any changes that arise while maintaining the integrity of the data.
Sarasota County rejects offer to settle O’s spring training stadium lawsuit | Sarasota Herald-Tribune
The Orioles aren’t a party in this lawsuit. It just involves a dispute between the county and the company that was hired to fix up the stadium. Intriguing stuff!
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
Oliver Drake turns 34 today. The former Naval Academy hurler was selected by the O’s in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft. He went on to appear in 30 games for the club between 2015 and 2017. In 2018, Drake went on to become the first player in MLB history to appear in a game for five different teams during one season. He is currently a free agent after spending 2020 with the Rays.
Odell Jones celebrates his 68th birthday. The right-handed pitcher spent just one season with the Orioles, appearing in 21 games for the 1986 squad.
1982 - Orioles legend Frank Robinson is elected into the Hall of Fame alongside Hank Aaron.